Some brides really appreciate my work, I hug them goodbye, wish them a perfect wedding day and I don’t expect to see them again. Then just before the wedding day this shows up on my doorstep: What could be nicer than a basket filled with chocolate truffles, dry soup mixes and an African violet plant?
Now for the bad…I had to bite my tongue/
feel my blood pressure rise when after pinning a bridesmaid’s wrap front and wrap back dress to make it more modest and adding a satin panel the mother had brought along. You know I pinned the gathers just right allowing for ease in front and the zipper up the back etc. when the mother said, “Step Back” and pulled all my pins out and started doing it herself. The daughter complained saying it was perfect, and she snapped back, “I have put in hundreds of pins in my lifetime, and I know what I am doing“. This took a long while and I was watching the clock thinking…maybe she should have done this on her own at home. Finally, she stands back to admire her work and asks me about the back pinned-in panel, “Does it look straight to YOU?” Oh Lordie, I stand my ground and say it does and that one side will be stitched on and the other will have snaps so it will still open to get in and out with the zipper. She does not believe this is possible but she leaves the dress with me anyway. All of my being/ guts were screaming on the inside, “take that dress home, don’t leave it here” when she turned to ask what all this hand sewing would cost. I replied, “Ten dollars” and she said, “I will be happy to pay you $8” and walked out the door. Since I had worked on her other daughter’s dress I chalked it up to another lesson dealing with controlling moms.
OK, let’s get to the ridiculous remake. Brides tell me they got a great deal and bought a pristine/virginal “sample” dress. “Oh yes” they say…the salesgirl went into the back and “found this dress especially for me and I had to have it”. You imagine the heavens opened and angels played harps and birds sang and a gown so radiant was unveiled from a hermetically sealed bag…not quite! This dress arrived in my sewing room back in March and I have been saving/
putting off working on it for her September wedding not because the date was so far away but it is going to be a huge pain in the butt. When you hear the words, “I love it BUT….” you know you are in trouble.
You may notice that there is no center back seam in the lace so one will have to be magically created so a zipper can be inserted. The dress is only 4 inches too big in the waist and hip area and this seams to be the only place to remove it. The corset loops and boning on the edges has to be moved 1 inch over as it has to have a perfect opening determined by the bride. The lace train will be paraded/
dragged through wet grass and dirt paths in a park ceremony. The satin underskirt has to be shortened and hemmed to just ankle length to show off all the lace.
Now did you notice the fake boobs already attached to the inside bodice…the first clue that this dress was owned by someone else and is being re-sold. NO, you say…this would never happen in a high end salon…oh yes….that backroom holds many secrets and treasures and deception…let’s dig a little further inside shall we? What are these raggedy seams attached to boning… Can you see that the spacing between the boning is not equal? Someone took a tuck in this bodice using the boning and left her trademark sewing style…funny how sample dresses and salons can get away passing this off as new. It’s a mighty expensive jungle out there!
This week I’m going to cut out the new jacket for my client just to make myself get out on the fitting/pinning room and into the cutting room as 2 more new brides showed up with more impossible alterations to share with you later.
A parting shot from my garden where 93 degree temps and regular watering and worm castings are proving to make for a great harvest.
Thank goodness you have your garden to escape to. How did you not kill that mother? I think that had that been me it would have been the first death reported of multiple pin stabs!
Oh Rhonda, I got my revenge when she came back to collect it and said she had a closet full of clothes she wanted to bring over for her own altering and I said no because I only do bridal now. Don’t push me, Babe…I’m still in control of my sewing room….ha ha.
Good for you! I can’t believe she would quibble over $2.
How breathtakingly rude of that woman to repin the garment in front of you. Thank goodness you have some nice clients and that lovely garden in which to regain some sanity.
Gardening is such a respite. It’s looking great. That momzilla’s move would have me contemplating changing careers, for sure. Unbelievable.
I cannot believe the attitude of some people today. Have you ever kicked anyone out after a consult? I would think even at $10 that’s a bargain for hand sewing. But then again, I know how much work it is and would gladly pay someone else just to have it done well!
I have never kicked anyone out of a consult but I have “released” clients who I fell have showed very little respect and constantly ask for a lower price. Lower prices can be found along with lower quality but I have to sew on garments like they were my own and not uncut my principles or fees. Being always late is another reason I drop people as it is hard to run a business with set appointments if no one adheres to their time slot.
Amen to all that. I should think your ‘black list’ is now one person longer.
Great garden by the way. I hope you have some where nice to sit with a drink at the end of the day. 🙂
Good for you! Respect for your expertise is part of the deal, I’d say. At least the gift and your garden can offer some balance. And I still marvel at the brides who buy dresses that are so way off the mark and their body size. Pity their enormous belief in your capacity for working miracles isn’t matched by the willingness to pay what that’s worth.
I wonder how many pins stabs it takes for a momzilla to bleed to death? I would have been willing to find out. And yes I would have also been too busy forever to take any work from her and did I mention forever. They seem to forget who’s really in charge in YOUR sewing room.
By the way, your garden looks great!
Thank you, Cindy…soon I will have veggies to eat!
Stories like yours are the reason I always answer no when someone asks me “why don’t you start your own sewing business.”. You have amazing inner strength to not verbally or physically assault that woman.
I tell my clients that we are fighting an uphill battle finding seamstresses to replace us as we race towards retirement age. But no one gets up in the morning and says, Yes, I feel like being a seamstress as a career…get real. Half the time we are skilled technicians and the rest of the time personal counselors and life coaches….ha ha
That was rude! You should have sent her home with the dress and the bride crying! I would have told her, I don’t sew other people’s pinning. If you pinned 1,000’s of pins in, then you must know how to “hand sew”……Oooooo!!! People! That would have did it for me with the $8….. I was set up at a church bazaar ( giant yard sale it actually was…) last Saturday and I had a couple of half aprons that I made (very nice if I say so myself). I told this lady inquiring that I would sell it to her for $8. She says, “I thought since I am a member of your church you would sell it to me cheaper.” I said, “Ma’am, that is cheaper”. That is a custom made apron that would sell anywhere from $12 to $15, at least (She ought to know this since she is a lover of aprons). Anyway, she says, “Well, I only have $5 on me (mind you she has a booth selling stuff, too), I’ll have to see if I can come up with the rest, can you hold it for me?” I said, “Sure”. She comes back to the table about 5 mins. later with $5 in quarters and the rest in ones. I said, “No problem, quarters spend, too”. Ugh, people, people, people!
Oops, I forgot this was your blog and your rant…LOL!!!!
BTW, it is great when you do get those that really do appreciate what you do…how nice and thoughtful of your client!
OAN: That wedding gown is a beast!
What an adventure you’ve had with that church lady! people ask if we make this stuff up…no need…it’s all true and then some! I have been given payment in which the client was owed back 5 cents…5 cents…and they asked me to go into the other room and find that money to give to them…how many times would you demand 5 cents? Big wigs in my town pull this stuff…if only their friends and neighbors knew!
It gets worse…
So, I suppose one has to resort to marketing tricks – pricing UP generously in order to give church ladies and the like a discount? But then, it’s only reinforcing their belief that it’s their due.
No, this stuff is NOT made up…I could write a novel, lol! And, yes, I’ve had those 5 cent’rs too…big wigs! What would their friends think, huh!! Gotta love what we do! 😉
Beautiful garden! And I’m glad you have nice clients to make up for the nasty ones.
I can’t believe that someone would want to quibble over $2……. You have far more patience than I would have – I would have sent them packing and said you are capable of doing it yourself…. but I guess that type of attitude wouldn’t win new nicer clients either lol. Ditto to the garden comments, your worms are doing their magic.
Getting new clients causes me to smile and nod and make everyone feel at home in my sewing room whether they are civil to me or not. If $2 is that important to a client, I give in…what they don’t know is that their whole background is available online so I know way more about them than they realize.
Perhaps you’d like to whip yourself up a voodoo doll of that woman to stick pins into – how is it that people hire you and then proceed to tell you how to do it? It made my eyelid twitch when I had parents hand me back satin dresses from recital dress rehearsal to hem and finish zippers – these dresses (that I had worked on instead on being with my mom at the hospital) were ruined with the exception of one – they were snagged from velcro on the gym mats, had juice spilled down the front, had greasy hand prints and black marks from the gym floor – I was so angry. Fortunately, when I showed the damage to the artistic director at photo day, she gave the parents a high-volume lecture about disrespect and costume care. I, at least, have someone to say the things I’d like to say.
Oh Mitch, I can’t imagine getting back garments that have been abused…how sad! A voodoo doll would be great!!!!!
Hmm, you must purchase your adult beverages in large quantities…lol.
Doesn’t everyone buy rum in half gallon bottles?
Yeah that’s why I don’t take any bridal sewing. My temper runeth short with rude people.
But rude people come for all occasions…take babes in January who have bought a shitload of new clothes for an extended winter vacation/cruise and want it all done before they leave…let’s talk impatient!
Ball Dresses for spoilt princesses and their wicked witch mothers are the same. Ask me why I no longer sew for others !! I read your blog and truly admire your resourcefulness and knowledge…and to remind myself that I will not sew for anyone else again.
You didn’t enjoy the drama and tension and pathology that each family member brings to the party? In a way it is like have your own reality TV production crew in your sewing room that changes day by day and you get paid to watch….and sew later. Some brides tell me that I don’t know how happy I have made them for fitting their dress like they never imagined it could fit…oh yes, my dear, I do know. Most days it is a reward in itself to see a proper fitting gown on a less than perfect body along with a check.
step….back…? Seriously? When I read that my visual of your salon changed to a long shot of the main street of Deadwood. Seriously? If she was ‘the best draw’ she’d have done this one herself. Why do people need the ‘let me just show them that I know what’s what and they can’t play me’ antics. No way to form a respectful relationship with someone. Her gift basket would have had to be verrrry large indeed!
The great thing is this Annie Oakley wanted me to alter a closet full of clothes after the wedding and I said no…it IS still my sewing studio and I call the shots.