Great Expectations part 3

Copying well-loved garments for clients gives me a break/pain in the butt from bridal so sometimes it is welcomed/performed under duress. Clients tell me stories/life histories about their “precious” and how long they have worn it and why it is so important to clone a newer version of it to last a lifetime.

My first example shows up with some ratty grey cotton/poly knit sweatpants she proudly announces, “I never pay more than $10 for my pants at Costco”. Can you feel how she sets the scene and price range we are going to be discussing? Then she peels 2 grey cotton/poly men’s t-shirts from her arm and says they need hemming shorter by 3 inches and do I have a machine that will duplicate the cover stitching? “Yes”, I say , “I can hem the shirts and copy the pants”. Her response is that she thinks I should do the shirts for free as she is letting me make the pants which may run more than the normal $10. Shocked, I answer, “I don’t have to do anything for free, they will be $4 for each”. She is not happy and then gives me the newly bought fabric for the pants and leaves. After she is gone I make a paper pattern and discover that even though the fabric store told her to buy 2.5 yards of fabric, she bought 1.75 instead. So she gets pants with thinner legs just to fit the pattern pieces on that amount.

The next cutie calls to tell me she got my card from a street vendor and has been thinking about this project all summer. Her “precious” is a Good N’ Plenty pink chenille robe she bought in 1990 and has worn it every day since. She wants an exact copy complete with pockets and ribbing at the neck and wrists and 7 huge buttons. She brings it over within the hour. Feast your eyes on this puppy:

At one time this robe was bright pink and nice but over the years of hanging it on a hook, it faded to beige, the neck acquired a huge hole under the label and the nap wore off the front and a small tear worked itself down the center back. Besides a peppering of permanent food stains and the scent of BO and whiff of dog slobber this garment was pretty much the saddest thing I had ever seen/smelled.

The client wanted to know how much new fabric to buy and my labor costs. I told her 4 yards and 3 hours. She graciously told me I could use the robe as a pattern and could feel free to cut it up to save time. Just the thought of opening the seams and handling it made my skin crawl and washing it would just have added to the disintegration further. I tossed it on the sofa, took a photo and rolled it up into a ball and waited to hear back when the woman found her ideal fabric choice for it’s recreation/reincarnation.

Yesterday, she called to say she was shocked to find that fabric costs more than $6 a yard. She had not bought fabric since 1960 and paying $12 a yard would be outrageous to her and adding labor costs might bring the price of the custom made robe to $100. My husband, who shares his equally worryingly client stories with me, calculated that the difference between 4 yards @ $6 compared to $12 was $24 so that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. She said she would come over and collect her robe and could not conceive of having the robe copied now. I suggested she type into Google “chenille robe” and find herself a new one under $100 and her response was “I don’t do computers”.

So, this is what happens when you try to be nice and helpful…sometimes you just get “shat upon”. But in the end I was spared from working with a disgusting relic from 1990 embedded with sweat and dog hair…Hurray!

Enjoy your weekend watching leaves fall and clouds gather….it’s Fall in my part of the world and the peppers are turning red on the vine and the green beans are still hanging on for dear life before our first frost arrives. Thanks for dropping by for stories from the sewing studio!


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12 Responses to Great Expectations part 3

  1. prttynpnk says:

    That robe is haunting. I must be just an awful, spendthrift person.Usually when the hole in the tuckus area forms large enough to use as an alternate escape route, I toss the garment. Whats wrong with me?

  2. mrsmole says:

    Oh Anne, you are practical and buttocks conscious…nothing wrong with that. What’s weird is the trash people want me to handle and re-create with no regrets as to condition or smell. That women even wanted me to re-use the same faded plastic buttons to save money. She probably could have found a chenille bedspread to cut up at a thrift shop that would have been cleaner and fresher…go figure.

  3. Teri Moran says:

    Thank you dear Ms Mole for brightening my Saturday!! Had dreadful oral surgery 2 days ago … and your story made me smile …. only hurts a little bit! Fall is in the air here in Palm Desert too – 57 low last night… sleeping with windows/doors open at long last!
    All the best! Teri

    • mrsmole says:

      Ouch! So glad I could help! I’m sure some of these people I see know you from the Country Club before you went South…ha ha. Leave those windows open and breathe deep!

  4. theresa says:

    OMG, I would be too embarrassed to bring either of those items to anybody to recreate. That robe is just disgusting. She’s lucky you didn’t burn it after pictures were taken.

  5. mrsmole says:

    I want to say nothing surprises me after 40 years of clients but they still do make me laugh! You are lucky that you only sew for good clients…yourself and your mom!

  6. Cheapskates like these make my blood boil

  7. mrsmole says:

    We constantly learn more about people and what they expect and at what price. Even my hairdresser says women come into her and want to bargain…really? She always says to them, “just a minute, let me call my landlord and see if he will accept less rent this month”…that usually solves the problem.

  8. Jennifer Padden says:

    I laughed out loud when I saw the pic of the robe. I haven’t seen anything that bad since my long ago days in the dorm. You are lucky she went away and took the nasty with ‘er.

  9. mrsmole says:

    Anyone else would gave given it to the dog to have as a bed or someplace to wipe his muddy feet. I very VERY LUCKY!!!! Thanks for commenting!

  10. Mitch says:

    Oh, I love my dog – I wouldn’t use anything that decrepit to even wipe her feet or even use as a paint rag. A good friend of mine (who paid me) had me remake a new version of her mother’s favorite 20 year old flannel nightgown – but it was spotlessly clean if threadbare and I was only shown it in order to find a similar style. I’ve found through the years that the less someone knows you the more they expect for free – usually preceded by “you like to sew”.

    • mrsmole says:

      Oh Mitch, the other phrase we hate to hear is “As you have a sewing machine”…which means tents, backpacks, parka zippers and fur hats…you name it! May all your clients pay you, we have value in our skills!

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