Like A Bad Penny

For those of you who follow the sagas of my sewing studio you will remember the woman from Southern California who bought a pair of pants too big and wanted them sized down to be form fitting. Well, she returned this week like a bad penny with a list of complaints.

Back in October, she tried on her pants with regular underpants but today she said she was wearing long johns because she was from Los Angeles and the pants don’t fit. “Of course”, she says “when I go out at night I will be wearing hose so they should fit not matter what I wear underneath.” Oh, I see she wants the “all singing, all dancing” pants  just like women who think they can have one hem lengths that works for any shoe from flats to stilettos…it is impossible!

But I agree to see her and when she drops her pants I see the thickest waffle weave long johns that I thought went out of fashion back in the 70’s when we wore them under ski pants. They actually look more like flannel lounge pants. Obviously I forgot to ask the vital question “will you be wearing pajamas under these pants?” She is insistent that I let out every seam 1/4 inch ( 1/2 inch total). So I do what she asks, document every step with photos in case things get ugly and she accuses me of not doing my job. Here is the photo of me working during the night in my cheetah pajamas ripping and pinning all the waistband seams:

P1150574  P1150576

You can see in the second photo that she wanted me to save the inch wide seams and not trim anything off and fold them down for later…who does that? Imagine how bulky the seams and lining are with 2 extra inches of fabric along every seam…but the customer is always right…right? P1150580 I suggest to her that in the future she might think about buying her pants from Pendleton as they have nice lined wool pants and she snaps back “we have one of those in Pasadena and the sizing is inconsistent along with Talbot’s and Chico’s and Coldwater Creek.” Getting the picture of this woman after making a sweeping statement about not one store being able to fit her, I drop the subject and show her the front door.

Another little honey who graced my studio is also from out of town but has been living here for 8 years. She arrives on time (a rarity) and announces, “My husband just dropped me off and you will have me here for at least 45 minutes as he has gone off to a doctor’s appointment.” What? Babysit a grown woman for 45 minutes? All she has is a ratty old velvet jacket that probably fit back in the 70’s when she was 40 but at 82 years of age, it is sad. She says she has “two special events” to wear it to and tells me that it is my job to make it work. All I can say is I may be able to let out 2 small pleats in the front to give her some extra circumference but it will never button/or look right no matter what I do. I tell her I will steam the velvet and because it is silk and rayon it should come up nice with no marks after 40 years of being sewn shut…asking for a miracle here, Lord!

After 5 minutes of agreeing to do the job she positions/glues herself on my sofa and spends the rest of the time telling/boring/ bragging to me about all the luxury (around 1 million dollar’s worth each) homes she owns around the US and her 4 children (my age) and her grandchildren and great grandchildren. Then she drops the bomb…“I have 2 huge plastic tubs of clothes that I want altered and will bring them back for you to work on.” Thinking I would just jump at this chance, she pauses. It is a long pause…

My mind starts spinning and beads of sweat break out on my face and calmly I remember my vow of “no alterations in 2013” and give her the name of another seamstress who can help her. There is no way I need this women back in my life!

Wishing you all the best with holiday seasonal planning and shopping and maybe a little rest at the end of the week. Anne of Tulle and Tweed in Scotland has not received the Pyramid Patterns yet, but keep your fingers crossed it happens soon!

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30 Responses to Like A Bad Penny

  1. Alethia says:

    As for the first lady, you should have given her the right foot of fellowship as soon as she walked in the door, ugh, smug people!! Whoever cam up with that crap, “Customers are always right”, is wrong. I believe it was something that was said in the spur of the moment to please a customer at that time and some ignorant person just ran with it and made it an easy solution for keeping business ~ NO DEAL!!
    Now, for the second woman, I was standing up cheering that you directed her to another seamstress!!! People just think they an drop their garbage off at your door step and don’t want to pay you, UGH! The same one bragging about all her luxuries and wealth, would be the same one complaining about the cost for alterations being too expensive….after all, they are old as dirt and way back in the day she only paid nothing for them. Yay for you!!

    Happy Holidays!!

  2. Cindy says:

    I agree with Alethia! The customer is not always right, if the knew anything about alterations and what a garment can be made to look like or to do, they could do it themselves. But they can’t because they don’t know anything about sewing, fabric or design. I always love when the brides LOVE the dress but they want it to do this and this and that. If you want a dress that looks like what you’ve just described, pick a dress that looks like what you’ve just described. Because what you are wearing will never look like that! Just because you can grab a wad of fabric and pull it so the front looks the way you want it to, doesn’t mean that I can actually make the dress look that way. And if I can, it’s gonna cost ya’! Oh! Aren’t alterations included!?!
    Sorry about the rant, but the customer is always right will always get my blood pressure to sky rocket. Sometimes the customer is just a twit! And a cheap one at that.

    • mrsmole says:

      Hey Cindy, what a cool phrase…the customer is just a twit! Thank you for that nugget!

    • Alethia says:

      OMG, Cindy, I had to laugh, because if I haven’t said enough,”…the brides LOVE the dress but they want it to do this and this and that. If you want a dress that looks like what you’ve just described, pick a dress that looks like what you’ve just described.”
      I see it all the time. Just because it looks like it can be done doesn’t mean it can. Or, if it can (like you said) will cost you…THEY NEVER WANT TO PAY….

      • mrsmole says:

        I want to ask my brides WHAT exactly drew you to this dress when you want to change everything about it? Sure hope they don’t pick a husband just because he likes her tattoos or knows the words to a Shania Twain song….time will change those things!

  3. ellecsews says:

    OMG. I am soooo glad for you that you aren’t doing alterations in 2013. However, it could make for less entertaining reading. I am okay with that 8-).

    • mrsmole says:

      Elle, I never thought that the stories might not be as amusing…but that could happen…I’s just have to supplement with more photos! ha ha

  4. theresa says:

    What I really want to know is what pants do you usually wear over those cheetah pajamas? ;->
    A bad penny is putting it mildly. Good for you for sticking to your guns on the alterations and woe to the other local seamstresses. I’m sure you sent out a red alert.
    And THANK YOU for leaving such a nice compliment on my blog about the blouse. It means a lot coming from you. You will always have my gratitude for steering me towards the C.Crawford line of patterns.

  5. mrsmole says:

    Ha ha, Theresa, I know I look like I am wearing my cheetah pajama bottoms under my pants but since my foot surgery in Feb I have lost 22 pounds of mole fat being back on a low carb lifestyle. Not one day of exercising other than crawling around on the floor with brides doing my “sewing yoga”. While Coni Crawford patterns may not be exciting (stick insect thin models in weird poses ala Vogue) from the outside of the envelope, she knows women’s bodies and how to make fabric drape well and fit!

  6. Monique says:

    Beware she doesn’t bring her tubs in 2012. You must have done something good to win her approval. ;-))
    “Sewing yoga”, how funny!
    All the best for the busy and cold days ahead,

    • mrsmole says:

      And best wishes to you in the Netherlands for the holiday season, Monique!

      • Monique says:

        Just saw your message. Thanks 🙂 it’s been cold and snowy here, with more of the same to come – without the benefits of your lovely mountains and forests. It makes one think hibernating till Spring is not such a bad idea.
        Best Holiday wishes to all readers!

  7. Hmmm good choice on the second customer – I am always amazed that the ratio of bill paying is always inversely proportional to the wealth of the bill payer!! I am about to try Coni Crawford patterns, which would you recommend??

  8. OMG I think this woman is just looking for some company, and she’s found you! I applaud your patience in dealing with her; because, if she is soo well off why doesn’t she get two pairs of pants, ones for with and ones for without her long-johns?!

  9. mrsmole says:

    It does amaze me when very wealthy people would rather find a seamstress than do what the rest of us do. She also has a house in Los Angeles worth 1.8 million but lives in our rural valley in the North and is very unhappy with what we can offer her…go figure?

  10. Tia Dia says:

    Good for you about not doing alterations in 2013! I don’t do a lot of sewing for other people, but when I do, I make it clear that I don’t do alterations! Well, hems, maybe, but that’s it! Custom-from-scratch, OK. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed your entertaining posts, and have passed on to you the One Lovely Blog award, if you would like the button it is here

  11. Bri says:

    I found you via another blog I read regularly and you really are fabulous with sharing these stories! I work at an alterations shop and can relate to you in a lot of ways to what you’ve shared here!

    Love your blog!

  12. BeaJay says:

    OMG – I have visited your blog after reading about it on other blogs and what can I say. It is totally rude and inconsiderate to laugh at someone else’s expense – but please forgive me – this is hilarious. How do you keep sane?

    • mrsmole says:

      My husband says “You cannot pay for this type of entertainment” but I am hoping next year I will have less crazies and more real sewing and patterns to share. Thank you for dropping by, BeaJay.

  13. Pella says:

    I was going to ask you WHY you are even thinking of doing these things, but I see you have offloaded.. Please do not cast your pearls before any more swine.

  14. Pauline Droy says:

    I too have found you via Bunny’s blog and so glad I did – look forward to smiling through some of your other posts (sorry that I am laughing as the expense of your pain) but it did make me smile and cringe at the same time.

  15. I found your blog and have spent the past 3 days reading ALL of your posts. I love your writing style and humour. Keep it coming!

  16. symondezyn says:

    That’s a good resolution, and kudos to you for sticking to it. My mum is a very talented seamstress and did alterations when we were kids, to earn some extra cash. I know enough to know that it took a lot of her love of sewing away for awhile, dealing with the hassle and frustration of unreasonable requests. While I’ve only recently found your blog, it’s already clear to me that you have great talents, and despite the fact there are always difficult people, at least there will be fewer for you this way 😉

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