Great Expectations without Dickens

It was Wednesday yesterday and 2 days before an important weekend event – Graduation and probably a wedding, after all it IS June.

The phone never seemed to stop ringing with special requests and I thought you might like to hear a few:

The first is a young woman who tells me that she has just purchased a muumuu (do they still make those) that is at least 3 times larger than she is and the whole dress needs to be cut down, restyled, and altered to fit her by Friday morning and did I want the job. She wants to wear it to someone’s graduation on Friday morning. I refer her to a friend who may have the time to take on this challenge but it seems like a project that would take a whole lot of work for something she probably paid $20 for at TJ Maxx and thinks that seamstresses charge $5 an hour.

The next little honey was for a very thin 7 year old’s flower girl dress in black lace connected to a bride that I had already altered her dress earlier this month. It seems they bought the dress in size 18 (do they make this size in children’s wear) and needed this dress also cut down, restyled and altered to make it fit for the wedding this Saturday. I took on this project because I felt committed to the bride so her friend came around with the little girl and the dress. I pinned out every available seam and told her I would have to do some complicated arranging of parts to make it work and she agreed that it was almost impossible to do on such short notice. Then she dropped the bomb…I would only be paid for one hour’s work as they had “run out of money”. Great!

A woman sent an email to me stating that her fiance needed someone to hem a long linen shirt he had bought for their Hawaiian wedding and I sent her a reply he could come by with the shirt because the hem was curved we needed to mark it more accurately rather than just saying take a couple inches off the bottom. A very nice young man just out of college shows up telling me that the shirt is long enough to get him a job working in an Indian restaurant. I mark the curved hem and we discuss his bride’s destination wedding dress and how it fills up an entire suitcase and how they will be wearing the traditional flower leis around their necks and standing on a beach at sunset. Then he adds “but I didn’t want it to be too cheesy”. What? You plan an expensive wedding on the beach in Maui with leis and all the local trimmings and your entire family pays their way to celebrate with you and you are worried it might be a little out of the norm? OK.

I ask him when he needs the shirt for since my sewing room(s) are chock full of bridal gowns and bridesmaid gowns and custom work for other weddings and he says “Well I just bought this shirt yesterday for the wedding and we fly off on Monday” Obviously this poor guy was left on his own to get his special “wedding outfit” and he came up with a long white shirt and some old khaki pants so I agree to do the hem and he is happy with the cheap price. He will be back on Monday.

As the day comes to an end I have one more client who has made an appointment at 7:30 pm. She has a bridesmaid dress for a wedding back East in 3 weeks. Great as this gives me a little time before she flies there. She arrives with her mother as she is 16 and after trying on the dress I take on the challenge. Like most 16 year olds she wants the dress to be tight enough NOT to breathe or sit in and to wear stilettos and lots of makeup. No problem for me to take in every single seam in the dress and lining to make this dress at least 2 sizes too small and her small boobs pop out up over the top edge of the strapless bodice. We discuss the price, again on the cheap side since I have worked for her mother in the past on other projects.

Then the crunch…I ask “what day do you want to pick up the dress?” thinking a week or so later. The girl in between snapping her wad of gum states she wants it the next morning for a school dance. This starts a fight between mother and daughter and I just sit back and watch. Apparently the girl had secret plans to wear the dress before the wedding to a dance without thinking to mention this to her mother. We all know that 16 year olds are very responsible and that bad things never happen when they get together with their peers so go ahead and risk wearing this dress ahead of time. Well when the fighting died down we settled on a date 2 weeks later and the mother told the girl she would be borrowing a friend’s dress if she wanted to go to the party. Whew!

After cleaning up my sewing room for the following day the last client/bride of the day called at 8:30 pm telling me that today she just bought a bridesmaid dress to wear for her wedding on Friday and she said she cannot get the zipper up and needs at least 1.5 inches extra room.

She tells me that I can just add some fabric someplace and make this a reality. She even offers to go to JoAnn’s to buy some. I asked her what color was the dress like white or ivory and she says some strange brownish rusty color and I say she may have a hard time matching anything to it. At this point in the day I am thinking this is just the icing on the cake.

One more emergency job with little thought in advance for sewing services or fit or time or ANYTHING never mind the cost. Where do these people think they can find an affordable seamstress to whip out these extensive alterations in a day? She mentions her friend who can sew may be able to help her out and I say that it may be as simple as opening the lining seams and looking inside to see if there are wide enough seams to let out and other than that I could not help her.

Maybe the answer to all these clients is to TRY ON the dress BEFORE buying next time. Why is this so hard and so increasingly the norm….do women just walk in to stores and go through the racks of clothes, find a color they like without looking at the tag and buy it?

Maybe the moon is going into a strange phase? I read on the internet that the sun did some crazy flare things today and may be close to burning itself up sooner than predicted…Lord help me and it doesn’t happen until the end of the bridal season!

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1 Response to Great Expectations without Dickens

  1. Alethia says:

    OMG, ROTFL….! Obviously our customers come from the same side of the planet! And, yes , these women( and men too) go into the stores, purchase a GREAT bargain and expect your to alter ( or the word I like~ “alterate”) them for a GREAT BARGAIN…the devil is a lie, LOL!! My mom was just telling me today she talked with a neighbor who told her just the same, she loves to go shopping at Ross and purchase these name brand dresses for dirt cheap and then have them altered. The lady complained that she had taken a dress somewhere and it cost her $25 to get it altered. That’s when my mom told her, I did alterations …it cost to have your dresses re-sized. Good for my mom, she told her that I tell my clients,”If you thin k my prices are too high, then take your stuff down to ____’s Alterations, she’s an Asian woman ( disclaimer: not prejudice at all) that is known to be very expensive, and compare prices. I told my mom that people think since they purchased a great deal, the alterations shouldn’t cost more than the cost of the purchase… not in MY world…! Where does that mentality of thinking come from?
    I see you also do “mercy” sewing…I hate it when I do that. Sew for a cheaper price because of some relationship factor, and EVERY time the work far exceeds the amount of pay….EVERYBODY has a sob story, ugh! When will we ever learn….
    I love reading your blogs!

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