4 Photographing Friends

Some brides bring their mothers, some brides bring their bridesmaids, but I never have had them bring their neighborhood.

At the end of a long day of pinning and assuring new brides that their dress choice was good and the fitting would turn out perfect, all I had left was a bride to pick up her simple wedding dress that had been hemmed. As I watched from the front door, two cars parked out front and in walked the mother and the bride and then like a circus clown car…more bodies starting emerging. I turned to the mother to ask if she was expecting more to come in and she said, “yes, they are our neighbors and they were bored”.

After removing their shoes, they all gathered in my one intimate/cramped sewing room to witness the try-on. Pillows were tossed off the sofa unto the floor, two wheeled office chairs were pulled out for the best viewing, the stool under the serger area was dragged out and everyone got settled and made themselves at home. One dislodged the attached sewing table next to a sewing machine so she had a place to park all of her stuff.

I left the room (to take a deep breath) while the bride got into her dress and then returned to witness the show. Immediately, the phone cameras started flashing and the bride was directed into all the different poses she could manage. I stood way out of the way while the photo shoot continued and the mother wrote the check.

The bride changed back into her street clothes and left her dress with the mother and went back to her job while the 4 neighbors continued to ask questions of the mother like, “What made you choose HER?” (meaning me). Really? Who asks that in front of the seamstress? Thankfully, the mother replied that I came highly recommended.

Then another neighbor decided to remove all the plastic dust covers from my 3 sergers and ask about their age and function. Another told me she had a serger she could not thread and started asking questions about all the different models on the market that would air-thread. Another chimed in that she was a quilter and used to work in a dress factory and do pattern work.

It was like having 4 toddlers in the room and not being able to keep them from touching all my stuff. They critiqued my artwork on the walls and asked why I had chosen each one and where did I get them and then told me that they all had some artwork too that was similar…I just nodded and agreed with them hoping that they could get off the sofa and chairs and find the front door.

Just when I thought all was done and they would be leaving, they started showing me photos of weddings they had attended on their phones…I was expected to nod and smile and ooh and ahhh with each photo of anonymous brides. Then one brought up the notion of tattoos and how she hated them. I explained that I sure do see my share of huge wings on backs and snakes on legs and animals on biceps but this was the current style. One woman said her doctor told her that the ink would surely kill people 30 years from now…nice touch.

After 30 minutes had passed by, they all departed…leaving the room and this seamstress in shambles/totally frazzled. Being an extreme introvert, the words- “the more the merrier” just does not work for me. The purposeful playing of calm spa music and restful colors of the sewing room just had no effect on these neighbors. They were animated and agitated and not at all bothered that they had invaded my oasis of serenity uninvited.

This year I have issued a “no children” warning to my clients but maybe I will have to add, “No neighbors” too…ha ha

Wanting to end on aΒ  high note….see if you can figure out what was delivered this week?


Lordie, it could be anything from Wawak!


Inside the packing box….


Lovely white cardboard box…


A mess of wires and tubes…


A seamstress’s delight!


It has a new home!

Happy sewing everyone!


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63 Responses to 4 Photographing Friends

  1. splendidcakes says:

    I’m an extreme introvert too- reading this made me anxious! So sorry you had to suffer their piggish behavior. Just the time for a Xanax for me 😁

    • splendidcakes says:


      • mrsmole says:

        The best part of the day was the delivery from Wawak and typing up this adventure for the blog to share with all of you!

      • splendidcakes says:

        Oh gee- that is supposed to be a reply to TeeTee’s comment, not my own… and that grimace is supposed to be a smile… I had better stop before I say something bad!

  2. TeeTee says:

    I HATE when that happens. I simply tell them my insurance prohibits more than 3 people at a time. You will have to wait in the car. If it’s a nice day, I offer them a seat on the front porch lounge.

  3. Kathy M. says:

    Dear Mrs. Mole,
    My heart rate is increasing just READING about your travails. What unmitigated rudeness! I hope you headed straight for a Dr. Pepper or maybe something a wee bit stronger.

  4. Fabrickated says:

    I am an extrovert and would similarly have a real problem with this exceedingly rude behaviour. Rather than breathing deeply I would have said something back. You are a saint Mrs Mole.

    • mrsmole says:

      Some days you just have to look on these events as blog material and smile. You would get bored reading and seeing ivory wedding gowns every time wouldn’t you? Thanks for dropping by, Kate!

  5. prttynpnk says:

    I’d need a full day to recover from all that company! Eek!

  6. Mandykatt says:

    Oh my! I think I would have panicked long before a half hour. “Shoo! I have work to do! Out!” And toss baggies of cookies out the door for them to follow. I am an extroverted introvert, meaning I love people, and being around them, but on my own terms where I can run away at a moment’s notice. Having such a crowd would probably send me to bed to recuperate for the rest of the day. Eek!

    • mrsmole says:

      Cookies, bags of cookies…did you mention cookies…some days I give away heads of lettuce to my clients or squash…never thought of cookies…ha ha!

  7. Bernadette says:

    Saint Mrs. Mole, seconded! You are amazing! I fear it is time to post rules, however- perhaps pre-clearing any spectators for an event that should be private. Maybe liability waivers are in order!

    • mrsmole says:

      I want to post a sign on the front door saying no children and no cell phones but phones seem to be attached to their owners and cannot be extracted easily. I have brides talking away on the phone while on the platform being pinned in…talk about feeling special…standing under 3 floodlights and getting a call…oh my!

      • STL Mom says:

        I recently saw a sign on by a cash register that said something like, “For Your Convenience We Will Not Interrupt You While You Are On Your Cell Phone” which I took as a hint that they will not serve you until you put your phone away. But maybe anyone subtle enough to understand the sign doesn’t need it. πŸ˜‰

      • mrsmole says:

        Well, that is fabulous! Sometimes the bride is on the phone for the whole 90 minute appointment…but I look on it as time I don’t have to make small talk…there are pros and cons while pinning hems…ha ha!

  8. Steph says:

    Being a strong introvert myself, I feel your pain, Mrs. Mole. In my opinion you would have been well within your rights to tell them to NOT touch your stuff!! πŸ™‚ Who does that anyhow?

    • mrsmole says:

      Only small children grab at things that are not theirs out of not knowing the right way to behave…these women had no excuses and not right to remove dust covers and sewing tables.

  9. Steph says:

    Sorry if this is a second comment but it seems mine didn’t go. As a fellow strong introvert, I feel your pain. That said, I would definitely have told them NOT to touch my stuff!! Who does that, anyway???! You are a saint.

  10. Oh boy. Have also got a no children rule, but I agree that maybe there should be a limit on spectators. Definitely a moment for a strong drink in a darkened room.

  11. erniek3 says:

    Occupancy limits? wisegeek.org/how-does-the-fire-marshal-determine-the-maximum-occupancy-of-rooms.htm
    I work for a small fantasy football business in my boss’ home, and inevitably someone wants to visit us to “see the place where it all happens”. It’s the business office, bookkeeping is really exciting! And uploading to the website: oh baby, it doesn’t get better than that!
    They do not get past the door.

    As cranky as this is going to sound, you may want to post some rules about clients privacy and workshop safety. If something had gone wrong, dress damaged or machine toppled, you’d be on the hook for it all. If it’s never an issue again, no harm done. You don’t want the friends and relations to get all cranky on you on Yelp or other online review sites. And they do. As a small business owner, you are open to all sorts of undefendable …stuff.

    • mrsmole says:

      It IS all about referrals but I do expect good behavior on the part of my clients too. Mr. Mole has mentioned telling the clients about liability issues and charging for storage and insurance so this may become my new routine.

    • Sharon says:

      I agree erniek3. Post occupancy limit
      sign from the Fire Marshall. And how about the traditional “You Break It You Buy It” sign on each machine with a price tag attached. They have no idea how much we spend on our equipment and one look at the cost may deter them from whipping off the dust covers. You could also charge an hourly rate for “photo shoots”, or add the P.I.A. Tax to the bill !!!!

  12. Kansas sky says:

    And I’ll bet those women were giving no thought to the idea that they were intruding on someone’s “time card” and you would have to work “overtime” to compensate. No thought that they were in a place of business. It makes me embarrassed for them because I can see myself doing what they did. I’m a talker and I would have noticed your artwork on the walls, etc. Something for me to remember. Thanks so much for sharing this. I always get excited when your blog pops up. I love your posts!

    • mrsmole says:

      Yes, Kansas, every hour of my day has a dollar value that I do not charge for when the appointment turns into a social gathering. It also extends my sewing time far into the night the more behind I get during the day…but as you say people do not think of that.

  13. MIchaelC says:

    You have much more patience than I would in that situation. Although if I was writing a blog, I might let them go on just to see how far they would go so I could get some material. Get one of those timers chess players use and tell em time’s up.

    • mrsmole says:

      I do have an oven timer that would work…set it for a certain time and them kick their butts out the door….when the buzzer goes….perfect!

  14. CarmencitaB says:

    I didn’t know a lot of people show up at fittings when I agreed to look at my friend’s daughter in law-to-be’s dress. So on meeting day, 4 cars full of various family members, Moms, kids, there might have been a neighbor or two, and so on showed up in my loft like house (nowhere to hide). Only to watch me say : “take that dress back to the store, they sold you a dress that is too big. If I start playing with it, it’ll cost you the price you paid for it”.
    It was a huge let down for everyone who had seen me on tv as they expected to see some magic wand but she did take it back and now I don’t have anything to the dress. Pfew!
    I don’t know how you don’t loose it more often. For my part, I’ll stick to boat rigging! Love reading about it though! Thanks!

    • mrsmole says:

      Love your story, Carmencita…yes I can see why so many people would want to descend on your sewing room since you are a famous celebrity now!!! The good thing was you could send them away!!! Thank you for sharing your story as it makes me realize there are thoughtless people on both sides of the Atlantic! Merci, Merci!

  15. Carolyn says:

    You know all of those people will be at the wedding so why was it necessary for the neighborhood to come tromping through – what happened to the suspense of seeing the bride in her gown on the day of the wedding. *sigh* I must be old fashioned that way! *LOL*

    • mrsmole says:

      It must be the privilege of being bored that you get invited to fittings, who knows? It is that “having a posse” mentality…more people crammed into a small room means you are very special.

  16. Oh have I seen this scenario played out way to many times to mention. But, people are excited and do not use common sense, especially when going to a private alterations studio, or someone’s house. No one asks questions out of respect anymore. And, you (I) start feeling rude for wanting to say, “I do not have space for all of you…”. It’s very uncomfortable at times. I like the suggestion of warning the bride ( to bring a limit of two people)…hmmmm?
    BTW, that iron, is truly every seamstress’ dream…next on my list!

    • mrsmole says:

      I have thought of mentioning this in the future along with a storage fee for not picking up your dress for over a month or more. I get so tired of calling and emailing clients to beg them to pick up the dress only to hear, “I have been busy”.

  17. I don’t know if I would want a gang of people showing up at my wedding dress fitting. Perhaps they have been watching too much of that TV show? I would love to have a Wawak box EXACTLY like your’s, inside and out, show up at my door!

  18. sewruth says:

    You could always set a kitchen timer to bleep incessantly when 20 mins is up – that would annoy anyone! When you have to reset it, then that’s more dollars!

  19. lisa g says:

    Just reading your story is making me feel anxious! Then again, well-behaved clients don’t make for good blog fodder, now do they? Enjoy the new iron!

  20. Roseana Auten says:

    I read your story with my mouth hanging open. God bless you.

  21. Bunny says:

    Oh, my, the stress of it all! I was getting anxious just reading. My MIL and her seven critical sisters had a way of descending upon me at the positively worst times and felt it was their right to intrude. I still haven’t gotten over some of the incidents. How you survived this without a bolt to the fridge for that coke and rum is beyond me! Or maybe you did bolt? Anyhoo, your new toy is fabulous and well deserved. We need a report after you’ve used it a bit!

  22. jay says:

    Unbelievable! I’m an introverted people pleaser, but I don’t think I could have kept my cool. How do people get to be so rude/

  23. Brenda says:

    I need a new iron. Is it the only one Wawak sells or can you give some details on item # and brand? I went to my step daughter’s fitting at Dave’s Bridal (at her invitation since I sew) and I asked if I could see their sewing room. They let me in and showed me around. I didn’t touch a thing! I behaved myself. They had industrial Brother sewing machines and an industrial serger. There were three ladies sewing and they said they needed help. I was offered a job πŸ˜€ But, I have too much fun keeping people off their cell phones while I clean their teeth! I’m pretty bold about rules in my operatory but people keeping coming back!

    • mrsmole says:

      I bought mine through Amazon but it is shipped from Wawak. It is Hi-Steam SVP-24/Irn-18. It holds 2 quarts of water and steams for 4 hours. I asked questions about it on the Amazon site and was happy with the answers. I also learned a lot about this iron on the pattern review site. I love it!

      • Martina says:

        Does it have to have the water source hanging from the ceiling? I need a better iron, but since my ironing board is in my bedroom…

        I definitely would have said something to those awful people…how dare they touch your equipment. But I’m an oldest of five, so bossing people around has never been a problem. πŸ™‚

      • mrsmole says:

        No, Martine, there is a separate water tank and a separate heating unit which creates the power steam or dry iron you want. You can regulate the amount of steam and the level of heat in the iron itself. It takes 10 minutes to warm up and get the steam pressure to 40 on the gauge. The steam can be continuous or in bursts and it can really flatten wrinkled seams or hems…I was amazed!

  24. JustGail says:

    Wow. Do you have anything in writing when brides bring you gowns? I’m assuming you give them a written estimate, and description of changes at least. Maybe it’s time to update the paperwork to include your rules, including room capacity and storage fees, that so this doesn’t happen again. Make that reduce the chances of it happening again. It sounds like this entourage was the mother’s idea and the bride didn’t have the power or courage to halt it on her own.

    Nice iron! I bought a LauraStar at an estate sale, but not tried out yet. I can’t help but wonder why there was also a Rowenta steam generator at the sale. I’m hoping the lady just couldn’t handle the heavier LauraStar any more. It will either be $25 wasted, or a grand bargain.

    • mrsmole says:

      Great ideas, Gail. I do give a written list and estimate of fees for their dress and it would be a good time to hand them a page of do’s and don’ts.
      My Laura Star Steam Press had the heating unit inside the water tank and bits started showing up and falling out when I cleaned it so I knew it was only a matter of time before it would stop working but after 10 years of every day/all day use…it was sad. For $25 you got a bargain! I used to have Rowentas…they leak and leak.

  25. girl in the stix says:

    Oh, I just can’t imagine the rudeness of showing up with an entourage of people who felt entitled to entertainment because they were bored. I would have been shrieking like a harpy! And touching my stuff?!!!? That’s when you add a 50% charge for aggravation. You handled it MUCH better than I ever could have. Oh, and LOVE the iron.

  26. selina says:

    I thought you were an extrovert Mrs Mole because your posts are beyond hilarious. You write like my friend from County Cork in Ireland talks who is total extrovert. Some people are clueless. Flippin’ cheek parking themselves in your sewing room. And poking through your stuff. Hope you had a refreshing beverage to reboot!

  27. mrsmole says:

    It’s a secret that we introverts have…we can be quite funny one-to-one but clam up in groups. So internet blogs and email are a perfect platform for us.Irish folks are the best comediennes!

  28. Valerie says:

    I love your stories about your clients – and their entourages Mrs Mole. If only they knew πŸ˜‰

  29. maryfunt says:

    Love, love love your stories. You are an absolute riot and I can’t believe you consider yourself an introvert. I’ve encountered a few gems myself but nothing close to your experiences.
    Enjoy your new iron. I have one and absolutely love it. It gets wrinkles out of almost anything.

  30. misslolamae says:

    As a major introvert, I feel your pain and your patience. Wow!

  31. misslolamae says:

    Nice nice iron… Feeling jelli

  32. Mary says:

    You sound so patient.
    A dear friend and I sometimes share our troubles with each other, and then share what we would’ve said ( if we had the nerve) and then laugh, and laugh. Then we’ll rephrase and laugh some more. Then we’ll rephrase again (and maybe again) until it is something acceptable to say.

    About that crowd.
    Dear bride/mother/friend of bride
    This will be a fitting/consultation. Please come wearing the undergarments you intend to wear on the big day, and also bring the shoes. Please be aware that you will be partially dressed, since these are alterations.
    I do not have the space to accommodate more than two clients in my work-room.
    Please pick up your dress within a week of it being finished, or there will be a late pick-up fee. Regrettably, I do not have unlimited storage space, and since my current husband refuses to marry me again I have no use for your gown. If you leave it with me for more than 3 months after the job is completed, I will sell it. Sign below…….

    Too harsh?

    • mrsmole says:

      I love you, Mary…..I have imaginary conversations with clients after they have left the room and I can say what I would/should/wished I could have said…your final suggestions are perfect! Thank you!

  33. June says:

    As a fellow introvert, I feel your pain. I can fake it, to a certain extent, but it is exhausting and makes me want to curl up quietly and not talk to anyone for a day or 2 afterward. I, too, recently bought an iron (used, via ebay) that pleases me to no end – a gravity-feed Naomoto HYS-520. So happy to have a great iron, makes such a difference.

  34. symondezyn says:

    Oh my gosh, I can’t even imagine how you kept your cool – I would have lost my glue and said something entirely inappropriate… but then again, I am a very outspoken introvert (which is a gentle way of saying I’m a jerk LOL). Seriously, though, what does it say about a person if they are SO BORED that they have to accompany their neighbour to run errands? Personally, I would not have let them in my house and would have told them to go get a coffee, and a life LOL πŸ˜›

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