The Third Degree

This week I got a phone call from a woman who had bought some Italian wool fabric from a small independent fabric store in a nearby town. They gave her my business card when she asked for a seamstress. She wanted to come over and talk about the fabric and possible styles and ask a few hundred questions about my qualifications.

Fine I tell her and make the appointment and give her directions to my home and we agreed on Thursday at noon. Well Thursday comes and goes and she calls to tell me that she could not find my house and could she try again on Friday. I agree.

Friday arrives and she comes to the door holding a small bag of fabric and a skirt she wants me to look at and possibly copy.

I invite her into my “meet and greet” sewing room and she enthrones herself sits down on the little sofa there. She looks all around my room and says “My first question is – Do you know what lingerie straps are?” I respond “Of course” and then she answers back “Well how do you know them and what are they used for”. I answer that I make them for bridesmaids with droopy straps and she responds that they had better be the ones that are made out of thread with little snaps on the end. Those are the only type I make so I agree with her.

She then tells me that she is not impressed with my sewing room because all she sees when she enters is an ironing board. At this point I am wondering why she has missed the 6 different sewing/serging/coverstitch/commercial machines and the 2 huge bookshelves crammed with every sewing and design book ever published and the racks of clothes hanging on the back of both doors and the steam generator iron but I let it pass. Some people just like to be butts contrary as it gives them a feeling of power.

She tells me that even though I have lots of books she is sure that I would benefit from her bringing over some coffee table sized books on designers that she is sure I have never heard of. Even though during my 5 years in college getting my Fashion Design degree we did cover one year’s worth of fashion history from Worth to Donna Karan.

I tell her that I have another room where I have cutting tables and more storage for when I have 4 or more wedding gowns and where I do my pattern work. She says she needs to snoop in see that room as well as she can tell what sort of seamstress I am from my cutting table. I help her up off the sofa and take her down the hall to the next room and let her have a look at the cutting table and mannequins and more racks of clothes and rulers and patterns etc that live in there.

Then for the next hour she grills quizzes me on clothing and sewing and designers and where I was born and my entire life up until the present day.

We hardly talk about the new fabric but she tells me about all the important people she knows in the area (like this will impress me) and how she does not want a “home sewer” to handle her fabric and she is here to make sure I will be a “good match and have the right chemistry” for her and her needs. She tells me that she had had other tailors make her clothes (poor devils) and she had to argue with them over their techniques and knowledge etc and I get a glimpse into her personality and the way she deals with professionals.

She then asks me if I know anything about tailoring and how good are my tailoring skills. I explain that I also took a year of this in college and have made wool suits for women and continue to use these skills in relining coats etc and restyling wool jackets.

The one thing I did not tell her but should have is that the teacher of that course asked me to teach the class the section on pattern alteration and precise fitting. She says she has a jacket that needs new lining.I am hoping she doesn’t ask me to do this as I have the gut feeling I could never please her.

She asks me if I know what “wigan” is. Yes, sure it is the special interfacing that goes into hems of clothes and sleeves to make the fold softer and help hold the hem fabric unto the garment. You have to put wigan in by hand with very tiny stitches. She is satisfied.

Next she asks “What do you know about color?” I say that I do know what colors work with others and will help her decide on things and that many of my clients think I have a good eye. She says that her fabric which is a black and gray and white thin pinstriped would go well with brown as she is looking for a Fendi type of look and did I know Fendi. Any woman who like purses know what the famous Fendi design  is and the 2 colors Dark Brown and Taupe with “F” motifs facing each other so I say yes. Then she announces that she would not be able to wear such an outfit around our area as it would be “wasted”. Well I have a closer look at her fabric and I tell her that even though she says she wants to wear brown with it, brown would be the one color that would NOT go with this black combo. She is not very happy but it is my opinion that’s all.

My phone rings a few times with requests from clients for appointments and pick-up times and she hears me telling them that today I have to take my father to the dentist and then do the grocery shopping for my parents so next week would be better.

After a very long hour of answering questions about my trade and skills I tell this woman that I have to scoot as my dad will be waiting for his ride and ask did she want to leave her fabric with me or have me copy her skirt or what.

She says I have made her feel “rushed” and she could not would not possibly make plans or a decision today and she only wanted to make sure I was qualified to work for her. She takes the fabric and skirt to the front door and I tell her if she wants anything further from me to call and let me know as I have more than enough to keep me busy even though the wedding season has ended.

If she decides to call me back I will tell her that our chemistry was lacking and she should interview another girl for her skirt project…this girl is not-for-hire.

Wishing you a weekend filled with positive people!

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3 Responses to The Third Degree

  1. Ngoc says:

    I cannot believe you waste your time with people like this. That’s an hour you will never get back. I truly admire your professionalism.

    • mrsmole says:

      But without the nasty clients I would have a boring blog…it all balances out…well at least at 5 pm I can stop for dinner and a drink and it seems all worthwhile…until the next day…ha ha. Thanks for checking in.

  2. John Yingling says:

    What? No Juki 5400 or 5500 series needle feed for most of the single needle work?

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