I Bought A Size Bigger

How many times have we heard this from bridesmaids worried that they could not get their generous hips into a little frou-frou dress to make their best friend’s wedding a success? OK, I can understand that, dresses bought on line rarely fit but that is no excuse for a grown woman in her 80’s who walks into a Talbot’s and buys the wrong size on purpose.

Enter the wool stretch flannel pants that need everything altered. Let’s start with the waistband and of course it has a facing and the pants are lined.

The waistband is 2 inches too big, the center back seam is 2 inches too big, the side seams are 2 inches too big and the legs are 1.5 inches too long and the belt will be 2 inches too long once the alterations are done on the body.

Center back seams are pressed flat.

I added this shot of the lining which is also taken in the same amount as it is a rare sight to see previously altered pants with altered linings…it seems they are forgotten or left to just bunch up inside…just bad sewing really.

Of course the belt will be 2 inches too big so that has to be changed as well.

The center back belt loop is replaced and attached. All that is left is to attach the lining to the facing and hem the pants and lining and attach French tacks.

It is a case of the client once again dumping her problem, “I wear a size 2 but I bought a size 4“, and expecting me to make everything right. I start pinning and pinning out all the excess fabric and tell her that I normally serge off the excess and press the seams flat to reduce bulk…she says, “NO”, I might need it later”. Leaving 2 inches of wool in seams just seems dumb to me but hey it’s her choice.

Next she brings out a wool blend jacket from the 50’s from a designer who used to produce clothes in Los Angeles but has since passed. She tells me that she loves the jacket and cannot tell me how many years she has been wearing it…I can…2012 minus 1950 equals 62 years. Now she wants me to narrow the shoulders and reduce the shoulder pads. It can be done and I notice like lots of us, one shoulder is about 1/2 lower than the other and I can fix this with one shoulder pad being 1/4 thicker and then they will look even and balanced in the mirror and to her friends. She says, “NO”. The jacket itself has not seen a dry cleaner in a very long time and is covered with hair and lint and lunch scraps so I remark “I can tell it has been loved” which is my code word for “ready to be donated to a charity”.

Amazingly she next produces a pair of loosely woven linen pants bought at the same time which are all raggedy and shredding and shedding and lined but barely hanging in there. She tells me that my job is to make them comfortable. The side zipper will not allow me to close it all the way and there is a 1 inch gap so I tell her that I will open a seam to give her one inch as there are huge seam allowances. I have never seen such trashed linen pants in my life and I am thinking that they should have been turned into paint rags long ago.

Just before she leaves and I tell her the cost to make all these treasures perfect she tells me that she is traveling down to Los Angeles in 10 days and wants to take some of these with her. Normally I ask clients to work with me if my back is up against the wall and they select the most important garments for the trip and I work hard to make sure they are done and ready for pick up or stay up during the night and finish the last item for pick up the day of the trip. Most of my regular clients appreciate truthfulness and don’t mind dropping by to pick up the remaining piece. I mention this to the woman and she looks me straight in the eye/gets up on her high horse and says, “I don’t think you understand, you WILL have all three garments ready for me at once, I DON’T MAKE SECOND TRIPS”.

On her way out she comments on the two gorgeous bridal gowns I have hanging up waiting to be steamed and she says, “I don’t approve of those gowns” and I say, “Well someone sure did as they cost around $4000 and the girls look fabulous in them”.

Needless to say when this babe comes to get her clothes, they will be done on time, on budget and she will be told that I am not taking new clients and to go elsewhere in the future. I have warned all my sewing sisters about her so they know that “trouble” will be looking for them.

Maybe I need a new sign at the front door to accompany the “Please remove your shoes” one already there that says “And leave your crappy attitude outside too”.

Again, these uppity pretentious people just make me glad I have such nice regular clients that I can hug and share a laugh!!!

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17 Responses to I Bought A Size Bigger

  1. Cindy says:

    The “You are annoying me upcharge”…. just saying!

  2. Shams says:

    Wow, I’m surprised you didn’t tell her you couldn’t help her by the deadlie. You showed a lot of restraint.

  3. mrsmole says:

    Another lesson learned Cindy and Shams…up the rate for nasty little women or eliminate them. Every garment tells a story and when I got to the inside and see what a jumbled mess was inside from 50 years of wear it made me smile. And in the end…what would this blog be without weird characters??? Not much fun to read…ha ha! Thanks for dropping by!

  4. Cindie says:

    Yikes! I don’t know how you keep your cool…..I sure enjoy reading about your adventures working with these people though.

  5. mrsmole says:

    The fact that the whole time I am pinning she is bad-mouthing our little area of the Northwest having moved here from Southern California where everything is bigger and better. Yes, I say but we are growing and we have fresh air and green mountains and clean water, who cares if our little Macy’s isn’t like “back home”. Then she drops a little bomb; “I see YOU PEOPLE just got a Trader Joe’s”…you people?

  6. Deb says:

    Hmm….did you add the jacket dry cleaning charge to the bill?

  7. mrsmole says:

    Oh No, Deb, I just used my handy dandy lint brush and wiped it down, removed hair and lint and left the food scraps…they are hers to wear with pride. It is one of those 50 year old jackets that may not make it through the cleaning process. Forgot to mention that the 3 huge buttons on the front are hanging by a thread and normally I reinforce buttons and snaps as a free service but this time…no Ma’am.

  8. Love your stories, my SIL and I regularily read your posts and roll around laughing in rememberance of our time in business!!! She still does dressmaking and alterations but it did my head in so I politely refuse when people ask me to … adjust, takein, copy, make…

    • mrsmole says:

      Well Jacqui, that is exactly why I share my stories…for the other poor seamstresses out there who deal with these wing-nuts everyday. Lord knows there is no end to them. Another seamstress “sister” in a nearby town wrote to me to warn me about a client who dresses up as a pirate and brings along a pet rat to his appointments…

  9. theresa says:

    LOL, I swear, I don’t know how you even begin to work with half the people you do. What a witch.
    So tell me did she fly away on her big ass LA broom or what?

    • mrsmole says:

      Not yet, Theresa, that comes on the pick-up day of the 14th. I have her clothes finished but I am not going to call her early because she said I would have ALL of them ready by then…her call. She brought all her clothes draped over her arm…no hangers, not even a bag and that is how they are leaving.

  10. meggie says:

    Oh dear, I am afraid I would have just handed the tatty garments back and told her I was too busy!

    • mrsmole says:

      Guess I was stunned by her demands on the way out the door so it was easier to just let her go. In the end she gets her stuff done, I get paid and I never will see her again…another lesson learned. Thanks for dropping by, Meggie.

  11. Monique says:

    Oh my goodness. Just when I think you’ve shocked and amused me to the hilt, you manage to go further. Things couldn’t get more weird if you made this all up! I hope for your sake that this woman plays the good client role dutifully on the 14th, though I have my doubts she’ll manage that, after so many years of acidity and apparently always getting want she wants. Wishing you continued calm and fortitude and, of course, just deserts.

    • mrsmole says:

      In true “I think I am special” behavior, this client called 4 days early and demanded her clothes. It seem she moved her departure date up 4 days and expected I had read her mind. Her clothes were done, she came to get them 2 hours later than she scheduled for pick up, of course, as special people never stop telling you how busy they are and how you could never understand how hectic THEIR schedule is. Good Riddance to her, Monique!

      • Monique says:

        Wow, how great that you won on this one, by having them ALL ready! You must have a crystal ball or some guardian angel, because I wonder how she’d have reacted if you had been on time as agreed. Indeed good riddance!

  12. Pingback: Like A Bad Penny | fit for a queen

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