I Feel Duped

With a month off from bridal sewing I thought I would share a story from the end of the year:

Recently, I got a phone call from another seamstress in town with a request.

A new woman had come into her shop looking for someone to re-hem a floor length organza gown that had been ripped vertically about 1.5 inches up from the rolled hem in 2 places. Feeling sorry for this woman who had been wandering to different shops, I agreed to see the dress and decide if it could be repaired. I spoke to the woman on the phone and wanted to give her my address so she could look up the directions to my studio and she said she could not take it because her phone was dead…not a good sign. She said she could remember the directions but after the first street name change, she said, “Whoa, that is too many streets”. So I said she should ask for a piece of paper to write it down and even doing that was a huge effort for her to write down every street name but she managed to find me.

Her general appearance was that of a discombobulated collection of clothing of colors, seasons, decades and sizes. Her story was that she needed someone to repair the hem because she was helping a notable celebrity in the area for a Winter tour. The celebrity had torn the gown and she wanted it repaired without making the organza hem any shorter as she could not be seen on stage with a repair or a shortened hem…yeah right…where is my magic wand? I said that I would have to shorten the whole hem by 1/2 inch to make it even and I would come up with something that would look the least unprofessional. I gave the woman a very cheap price as her attire did not give me any idea that she could pay full price. She seemed thrilled with the price and said I was going to “save her bacon”. (Have we heard this before?)

She then settled herself down onto my sofa for 15 minutes and began to tell me that she has just moved from an upscale part of the country and wanted to set up shop here in our little valley. She handed me her card that stated a grocery list of qualifications such as fashion expert, personal shopper, home dec professional, clothing and furniture design specialist, consignments and at the bottom of the list…”Outstanding Alterations”.

She then tells/advises me that she thinks I could just “throw the organza hem into a serger and be done with it”. Really? And what about the 1.5 inch tear? I ask her if she owns a serger and she says, “Never”. She says she owns 2 old used sewing machines she bought for $50 on Craigslist and an iron. There she sits raving about her qualities and how she has clients who need her assistance in dressing themselves. At this point I am just amused and I’m thinking, “Why am I doing this repair if she is promoting herself as Outstanding?” But then…I think…this would make a good blog post and show her out to the front door. I ask when her client needs the dress and she says, “Yesterday, as she has a tour coming up.”

I worked on the hem overnight and had it ready for noon the next day. What it involved was hand sewing the 2 raw edges of the tears together with invisible polyester thread so I had a firm edge to turn under, machine stitch close to that fold, trim, and turn under again for the narrow hem. Everything worked out great and you could hardly see where the damage had been done, especially from the audience.burgundy-hem But instead of the woman being on time for the agreed pick-up, she called an hour late to tell me she would be at least another hour later as she had clients to visit before she saw me. When she finally arrived,Β  she was wearing even stranger clothes than the first time, again mismatched, odd sizes and decades and styles. She then told me that she had found a dry cleaners at the opposite end of the state that would clean clothes in a week for $1.25 each and it was worth the 400+ mileΒ  5 hour drive one way (twice) and a stay in a hotel (twice) to drop them off and return a week later. It’s funny what constitutes value-for-money these days.

On the way out the door, I said I was glad I could get her dress finished in time for the celebrity and she said, “Oh, I have a month before she needs it”. So at this point I’m thinking…was there ever a celebrity or was that a figment of her wild imagination? Was the dress found at the thrift store and she needed the hem repaired before reselling it? Does she really have clients begging for her services? And how Outstanding are her alterations? Does she reveal to her client that someone else did the repair or expect the celebrity to leave a glowing review for her?

Life still has little lessons for us to learn and experience…darn it!

Soon it will be February and the 2015 bridal season will start. What goodies will wander in the front door?

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50 Responses to I Feel Duped

  1. Tia Dia says:

    Hilarious! And very generous of you, I might add. This are the stories that make your blog so much fun. Hope you have had time to sew for yourself during the break from bridezillas.

    • mrsmole says:

      Thanks, Tia…I may be able to sneak in a few things before February starts…fingers crossed! But nothing like your stenciled and painted silk drapes…OH MY!

  2. Linda T says:

    As my husband continually reminds me, “nuts running loose everywhere!”

    • mrsmole says:

      Nuts also know how to email me too for crazy last-minutes projects like Ballgowns for waltzes from scratch …does anyone want to make a Viennese ball gown in 3 weeks? The request was for something Lycra yet formal with yards and yards of chiffon in the skirt for maximum twirling for a competition?

  3. All I can do is shake my head, LOL! I have had plenty walk through my door and make me go, HMMMM??? REALLY???
    However, I felt you left us with a cliff hanger, I’m, waiting for the rest of the story, as Paul Harvey would say, LOL! ( Does anybody even know or remember Paul Harvey?)
    Bridal season has already started on this end. We have had our first “Big” bridal show in town this past Saturday…yeah it’s here!

    • mrsmole says:

      There is no more to the story except this gal closed her shop right after my work was done. Don’t know how many others she asked to do it before she found me but at least two that I know and have heard from. I know the name Paul Harvey, did he mainly talk on radio? So happy you are busy in your own studio and working for yourself and building up clients…good or bad…once the word of mouth starts, they will find you and keep you busy! Love your class photos as well and your creativity really shines through, Alethia!

  4. Kathleen says:

    I think you handled that beautifully. This lady appears to have issues (psychological), and you were very gracious and accommodating. Kudos to you!

  5. smittenness says:

    Fun anecdote aside (and it was a fun read) excellent job on that repair. You don’t need a magic wand at all!

    • mrsmole says:

      One of bridal clients told me that she would bring me one…it never did show up but it would be fun to bring it out and wave it over a dress or two for laughs when the client in worried about the outcome. Or maybe a Papal blessing might not go amiss.

  6. Marsha says:

    I wonder if she has a brilliant business plan. Get repairs/alterations done by talented seamstresses who take pity on her, then pass the work off as her own. Oh, and charge the client a 300 percent markup.
    Crazy or smart? (Maybe both.)

  7. Monique says:

    Oh, boy, I’d be questioning my own hearing and sanity with someone like this. I wonder if you’ll be hearing from or about her, and her business. And I wonder what would have happened, had you declined the work after reading her card. So much for a slack time πŸ˜‰

    • mrsmole says:

      She was wise to not show me her card in the beginning…or I might have asked why she could not do a narrow rolled hem herself? Of course, Mr Mole asked that in the beginning.

  8. lisa g says:

    Wow! There is so much crazy in the world. Props for doing a great job on the hem, even if the client was questionable!

  9. Cheryl says:

    You were PAID for this, right?

  10. Cheryl says:

    That might not sound like I wanted it to. It sounds like I was saying “Why complain, if you were paid.” When I really wondered if she paid with a bad check!

  11. Cindy says:

    Sounds like she’s off her meds and no one has noticed she’s missing from the ward! Keeps it interesting though.

    • mrsmole says:

      Sometimes big city folks think that they can move to our rural area and everyone will be “wowed” with their talents or background. Sometimes they learn the hard way and fail within the first year. Seen it happen with restaurants and bars and foo-foo shops that think they will make a killing with their big ideas.

  12. Mem says:

    Mmmm Sounding a little manic to me

  13. maryglenn says:

    I find when someone is involved in too many different jobs, they are not really that good at any of them.
    We had an expression in Ireland, “Jack of all trades, and master of none ”
    You are a patient woman.

    • mrsmole says:

      It does make you wonder when a person not only lists their talents on the front of the business card but it also continues on the back….like a menu continues page after page in a greasy spoon diner.

  14. prttynpnk says:

    I think sometimes we move to small towns and forget that shrewd folk might have done the same- Yeah, I would have done the work (not as well as yours!) just to see how that all unfolded. Got to love crazy!

  15. LeeAnn says:

    Good gracious! You can really attract the crazies but it makes for good internet readings. πŸ™‚

  16. jay says:

    Great repair job as always. And add psychoanalyst to your business card.

  17. Susie says:

    As Alethia, I am waiting for the rest of the story. I should probably apologize to you for saying this, but I hope she brings more work to you. It sounds like fun for your readers. I’m glad she didn’t rob you…I was expecting a tragic ending given the lady’s description. What did the rest of the “celebrity gown” look like?

  18. mrsmole says:

    The gown had some beading on top but very basic. It could have been an older bridesmaid gown and recycled through a vintage shop which the seamstress was running at the time. It had no labels inside.I am hoping she will not ask me to do more as the bridal season will be starting in a couple weeks, but it does make good blog posts…I just wish I could have added a photo of the woman for the full effect…but some things have to be kept secret…ha ha.

  19. BeaJay says:

    Jeez – that is a great story. Would love to know whether she was full of it. Sounds like it.

  20. mrsmole says:

    It was as if a celebrity stylish had come to visit and promote her business. Celebrities and their kind don’t do anything for me when my business is derived from hard work and solutions instead of flash and smoke and mirrors..I pin, I sew, I produce the results you want…so simple. I don’t see the point in wearing layers of necklaces, vintage brooches, flopping scarves and mis-matched leather goods to say, “I have good taste”. But, everyone’s self image is different…we all know folks who want to be classified as “eccentric and artistic” like that makes them a cut above the rest of us worker bees. They can get away with it. Hope all is going well with your 2015 sewing, BeaJay!

  21. Laurie says:

    Very funny story… I’d really like to know where that dry cleaning place is- I am sure I could save a bundle if I flew out there and delivered mine every week! πŸ˜‰

    • mrsmole says:

      Sure, Laurie…makes sense flying across state lines to save a few dollars…doesn’t it? Mr Mole always asks, “what is your time worth” when having to wait in a line to save a few pennies. Spending 5 hours in a car times 2 is not my idea of value for money.

  22. Shams says:

    Wow, if it were me I would seriously hope that she would lose my address completely. πŸ™‚

  23. sewruth says:

    This woman might just have her own reality TV show in a month or two!
    Perfect repair by the way.

  24. symondezyn says:

    LOL there are always those gems walking around in their own delusional fantasies!! Maybe we’ll see her end up on Dr. Phil someday haha. You did an incredible job of the repair though! πŸ™‚

  25. Bunny says:

    The characters in this world never cease to amaze me. You should see some of our library regulars. They could share Xanax.

    • mrsmole says:

      Ha ha…Oh Bunny, you have your hands full too! Some of my clients enter with the largest Coffee-to-go cups I have ever seen and I want to say…put the cup on the porch and take a few deep breaths before you enter into the calmness.

  26. Pingback: Pretty Grievances

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