Never Ever Tell Your Seamstress…

Over the years, you think you have heard all the stupid, disrespectful phrases from clients but they keep coming. I asked some of my professional sewing buddies if they had some favorites to share.

From Kim:
I am on a diet. I’ve lost 6lb this week! (When collecting what you thought was a finished garment).

But it only cost ….. (in response to the quote. My usual response is that it is the same work whether Primark or Prada)

I want to wear it on ……. . That gives you enough time, right? (Only if I give this job priority over everything and make everyone else wait. And do without food and sleep).

I used to sew my own stuff.

I made a start myself but ran into problems.

Is this your ‘actual’ job?

From Tee:

I don’t get paid until next Wednesday can I still pick up my gown in Monday and write you a postdated check.

I found this cute dress for $10, it’s too small, but I know you can do something to make it fit!

My wedding gown budget is only $300 from a client who is 7-months pregnant and shows you a picture of Heidi Klum in a designer maternity gown.

Oh yes, people showing up with children and McDonald’s bags to sit and eat in your living room. No no lady, they will have to sit in your car!!!!

From East Coast Sharon:

Can I have this done by tomorrow? It’ll only take a minute !

If you charge me $15 to hem my pants, will you give me a deal if I bring you ten?

I forgot your Christmas gift, I left it on the back porch. (I’ve been told that by the same woman for 5 years in a row ……she needs to clean-up her back porch!)

I know you have 3 dozen prom gowns to do by next week, but I’ll pay you extra if you do MY daughter’s first.

You are going to charge me how much? Oh no, I can’t afford that, I’m on a fixed income, can’t you give me a cut in the price? Then the customer gets into her BMW and drives away .

After listening to a customer beg & plead to have an alteration done by the next day, and I finally give into their whining, they don’t show up for 2 weeks to pick-up and pay for their clothing.

When a customer brings in multiple garments to be altered ( arms full/shit load ), then when they come back to pick-up and pay, they select only 1 or 2 items, promising they will return soon to get the rest.

Customers that flip out because I choose to be closed due to : hurricanes, blizzards, or national holidays

And my personal favorite : Do you like to sew?

From Melanie:

I’m so glad I found you. I can have you make me some Chanel jackets that won’t cost so much. ;(
I didn’t take her on as a client.

From Alethia:

” It’s should be real simple to do (alterations).” In other words, ” It shouldn’t cost me too much.”

(After bringing 7-10 pair of pants to even up and hem after you butchered them)–“Ooo, I didn’t know it was gonna cost that much!” ” Can you do it for (x amount of dollars)?

Me: I need the full balance up front.
Client: “My policy is to pay you half of the balance.”

“Why do you charge so much, you don’t have overhead”?

From Mary :

Bride: I found this dress at David’s Bridal and it’s $500. Can you make it for less?
Me: You should run there and buy it immediately. No way am I going to going to compete with that quality fabric and labor!

Bride: Here is a photo of my dress. It needs to be let out, hemmed and bustled. Please give me an estimate based on the photo so I don’t have a make a trip to your studio.
Me: No way can I possibly guess at the work involved. Please visit your local seamstress.

Client: I bought fabric at JoAnn’s ( polyester) and a pattern but am overwhelmed. Can you make my dress? I figure it will cost about $100.
Me: Sorry but I’m totally booked. ( I would make about $2.00 per hour).

From Me:

I could have done this alteration myself but I decided to LET you do it.

I was going to bring you a bottle of wine, but I forgot.

I left the house without my checkbook and I have no money with me. (There is an ATM machine just down the road)

When the dress is done I am bringing Champagne to share with you, (this never happened)

I have had this wedding dress for 3 months. (after squeezing her in 10 days before the wedding date)

I have 5 bridesmaids dresses to be altered, we bought all the same size, all larger than the girls needed and figured you could make them fit each different body.

I’m waiting until ALL the bridesmaid dresses are here before I bring them…it may be the day before the wedding.

I don’t know anything about sewing but I do scrap booking.

I can’t pay $16 to hem the pants, I only paid $10 for them. (Please go back and buy more)

I have a laundry basket of Walmart tube socks to be mended. (Please go back and buy more)

If the prom dress ordered from China is delivered the night before the prom can I drop it off?

Do you have a play area for my children? (Try McDonald’s)

Will you come the day of my wedding and get me dressed?

If I lose another pound can you take my dress in the morning of the wedding?

Can you make the bustle work for both 5 inch stilettos and flats?

So dear readers…these are just a sampling of comments from clients that we hear daily and it helps to know that other seamstresses have the same clients no matter where they live. 

Before I go, I will include a photo of the day from the veggie patch but please make sure the children have left the room…it is rude, it is real and I found this under a leaf…I really did!

Crookneck squash! What a handful!

 

 

 

rude-squash-2015--2

 

 

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54 Responses to Never Ever Tell Your Seamstress…

  1. Oh my gosh, I can’t imagine your life! I am so grateful for your wonderful sense of humor that you share with us. Love the squash!!!!!!

  2. Fabrickated says:

    The squash is super. As are all these anecdotes. Thanks so much for collecting them. Unbelievable tales of abject manners. I don’t know why any of you bother quite frankly.

    • mrsmole says:

      In between all these crazy people there a many that are so nice and help to make us forget about them like a woman forgets labor pains and goes on to have more children. We do the same with clients and vow to raise our rates and shorten our hours.

  3. Mem says:

    That vegetable reminds me of Kim Kardashian.

  4. Shams says:

    O.M.G. You are all saints. And that squash. LOLOL.

  5. prttynpnk says:

    Some people have no class or respect for other people’s skills and time. I bet a certain Elizabeth doesn’t treat Angela Kelly this way!

  6. Karen says:

    This is a great post – it had me laughing and nodding my head in agreemen. As a former seamstress for the public (I now sew for only me and teach teens to sew) I heard many of the comments you listed. Like you I learned to laugh rather than get mad as it’s their ignorance!

  7. jay says:

    Side splitting reading these comments. Aren’t you tempted to answer with the squash sometimes?

  8. Lovie says:

    I laughed out loud! So many familiar phrases! Thanks for helping keep my sanity!

    • mrsmole says:

      We are all in this together…by sharing the madness it makes it bearable for those of us who earn our living pinning and fussing clients.

  9. Tereza says:

    I’m laughing so hard right now. Thank you. *tear*

  10. That’s why I don’t do alterations. They just expect it all for free almost. We all have a skill and should be paid like an architect would. I think Mrs Mole is a miracle worker for some of the challenges she gets.
    I had to really laugh at the squash. Kim Kardashian is a perfect name.

  11. nitsel says:

    This was a wonderful way to start my day! And I’ve heard a lot of these myself. Sometimes people’s ignorance is amazing. Love the squash too!

  12. Suzanne says:

    Love the compilation. I’m sensing a theme with the clients.

  13. I recognize some of the other howlers. I have actually instigated a no children (unless they are the subject) rule in my work room after catching a child putting pins in her mouth. I know I do – but I trained a long time for the privilege 😱😂

  14. Kathleen says:

    You need to write that book!

  15. June says:

    Naughty squash! LOL. Sorry about the crazies! They *do* keep coming, don’t they?

  16. This was a great laugh for me over breakfast!! You have to laugh to keep from choking the life outta folks…gheesh! It’s refreshing to see some the others recall some of the same B.S. that I was asked or was told to me….each line I read refreshed my memory, LOL!! Great post Mrs. Mole!
    BTW, the squash= “man’s lunchbox”….. naming it Kim Kardashian…PRICELESS!!!

  17. Geri says:

    I’m curious, why is it disrespectful or stupid to tell your seamstress you sew or used to sew? It seems harmless enough to me.

    • mrsmole says:

      Because afterward they start directing you to do the alteration their way. I would never tell a hairdresser how to slap dye on my roots or a chef how to prepare my dinner even though I can cook at home. They can also bring a friend “Who sews” and when asked what do they sew, it is usually table runners…such a different way of sewing from a wedding gown. Or the next sentence is the normal, “I could have done this myself BUT I’m going to let you do it.” I find this insulting and irritating, maybe others don’t. It says, “we are both in the same league” when it is not true and demeaning to a professional. If you said to your hairdresser, “You know, we both can cut hair”, she would roll her eyes.

      • Well said. It’s like that with everything. I don’t need a lawyer, I just got a form on-line. I know how to sew too, but I am not a professional! Usually when you do it yourself because you know how, that’s when you end up at a pro to get it fixed!

      • JustGail says:

        Interesting. I guess I was thinking if I were a client. If I did mention I sew, it would probably be followed up with “but I’m not comfortable trying this”. And seriously, no way would I try to alter a gown, no matter how many times I get the task of repairing DH & DS’s jeans & work clothes – it’s a totally different world. No – different galaxy! OTOH, you’d probably get tired of my questions of how and why, because I’d be curious & wanting to learn, not critical.

    • Karen says:

      Geri – it’s been my impression that when a client says she sews, it implies that that they feel the alteration they request is beneath them making the seamstress (moi) feel that the work is simply a menial job. I always feel put down unless they express that they fully understand and appreciate the work involved in complicated alterations. I am very confident in my sewing abilities but there seems to be a distinct difference in how alterations are perceived as opposed to new-sewn custom dressmaking.

      • Sharon says:

        Amen Karen !! Most customers have no clue to the amount of time involved to get their garment to fit perfectly. What we do is not the same thing as slapping a Halloween costume together.

  18. Colleen says:

    “I just want it tighter” “I dont’ care if I can not sit down”….returned after the wedding saying she was disappointed that she could not sit down and seams gave way (or cheap fabric) when she was helping to carry tables to clean up the reception!! ….also said some of the lace pulled loose….found a photo on Facebook holding her little teacup size dog in the bust area….before the wedding……Bridezilla to remember!!!

    “You must have taken in the hips because it is too tight”….checked my notes….NOPE!!!
    I may start following your lead and take photos of the pinning to verify!!

    Thanks for the laugh…back to sewing for the July rush!!

    • mrsmole says:

      HA ha, Colleen, I forgot about those…they swear they won’t have to sit down or breathe….take photos and write everything down…it saves your bacon later! Best wishes for smooth alterations!!!!

  19. JudyJ says:

    So enjoy your tales of brides and their expectations!! Your explanation of alterations and photos is quite an education! Thanks so much for sharing your skills. The squash had a reason to be hiding!! Too funny!!!

    • mrsmole says:

      Pornographic produce….who knew? At least the garden harvest is a break from the chaos of the sewing room, so happy your enjoy all this, Judy!

  20. Thanks for the laughs today! Unfortunately, you are the one that has to correct these people.

  21. Lily Lau says:

    Haven’t stopped laughing yet, oh my!! 😀

  22. Paola says:

    All you ladies deserve awards for equanimity in the face of such provocation! Reminds me of my teaching days when parents would point out the deficiencies in my teaching based on the fact that you know, they sat in a classroom once! I

  23. KimP says:

    I sew, and I made my own wedding dress. I ended up taking it to a professional seamstress to hem it though. For several reasons – I couldn’t stand in the dress and mark the hem at the same time, it was going to take me a VERY long time because there was an outer lace dress and a silk under dress involving a very full skirt, and I was afraid my work wouldn’t quite be professional quality. She not only hemmed it, but sewed the 38 individual buttons down the back, and then insisted I come in a few days before the wedding so she could take it in at the waist a little (like a lot of brides I was losing weight whether I wanted to or not). When it was all done, I was shocked at how little she charged me, probably because I know how much work she put into it. I tipped her an extra $ 100.00 which I insisted she take. She made my wedding day!

  24. symondezyn says:

    I would fly into a semi-rage at most of these things, and compensate by being sweetly sarcastic LOL … you ladies have far more patience than I ^_^

  25. Robin says:

    great answers!! lol
    I altered a bridesmaid dress last weekend and there were no seam allowances to let out – so I stole fabric from the underlayer of the skirt and replaced it with the crepe side of a poly satin that was the closest match I could find. The chiffon overlayer completely hid the color variation. When she tried it on, the first thing she did was to inspect that aspect of the alteration, saying, “sorry I am sure it is fine – I just want to make sure first if it looks OK”
    I said “sure”.
    And if it wasn’t OK, did she think I could restore that panel of fabric? Fabric that had already been chopped up and made into side seam gusset thingies to compensate for the fact that she deliberately ordered a size too small because … why?
    By the time she was said everything that ran through her mind, I just wanted to see the dress leave the house and no I don’t need a picture of you spilling out of your too-small dress that is now passable. I pray for that zipper to last long until the end of the reception. She had to contort herself to get the zipper to close.

    • mrsmole says:

      Sometimes they even make the comment, “I guess that will have to do”, like maybe if they had gone to any other seamstress she would have done a better job. Imagine doing the same to any other service provider? The solutions we have to come up with to make up for smaller sizing buying is unreal. I am working on 4 bridesmaid dresses by taking up the shoulders 2 inches because the mother would not order petite sizing as she would have had to order one size larger with the measurements she had. All this for the sake of a number inside of a dress so she pays me lots of labor to shorten straps with linings and bra strap guards…more than half what the dress cost from J. Crew in my labor fees…crazy.
      Thanks for sharing that all too familiar story, Robin…we all just moaned for you when she inspected the new panel…yes we did…

  26. Tia Dia says:

    The squash is amusing…. I’m giggling right now. As for the tales of rudeness and a total sense of entitlement…. ugh. Just ugh.

  27. EasilyAmewsed says:

    The squash, best punchline ever.. ; )

  28. Jane Urbach says:

    If you just have a pick-up, you don’t need to visit the car decorative accessories, you just hang the squash. It is very fashionable in cowboy country.

  29. sewruth says:

    Yes, I think you should leave that squash in your sewing room and when the next client is rude, inconsiderate etc just turn the vegetable around so that’s it’s facing her! Saves you saying ‘b*ll*cks” out loud.

  30. Eclair says:

    I love this blog post – I fix computers for a living and my customers say exactly the same things! Usually they tell me that their son/nephew/neighbour/grandson could fix the problem but they are ‘number two at Microsoft’ and are too busy/important/far away to bother.

    I particularly enjoy the ones who tell me that they found an old desktop in the garage and they ‘just want me to upgrade’ it despite the fact it is 12 years old, missing vital parts and hopelessly incapable of doing what they want. I tell them to buy a new one but they complain that they already own this one so it is free! Somehow they overlook the fact that I’m not – twenty years of experience doesn’t come cheap!

    Sometimes, it seems like the less people know about something the more they trivialize the skills, expertise and experience of professionals who come to their rescue.

    • mrsmole says:

      So interesting that really no matter what line of business you are in you can encounter stupidity and irrational behavior. The same goes for people who have owned a garment for 30-40 years and want it repaired or copied and when the price is quoted the answer is always, “but I didn’t pay that much for it back in 1980”. Being number two at Microsoft must be a very crowded since so many people claim to have a relative in that positon…ha ha Thanks for sharing your story…too bad it is so re-occurring!

  31. Quote from a past client – “well I used to sew a lot – but you know … really….I’m an IDEAS person and not interested in technical things”.
    thanks for your post. – Deb

    • mrsmole says:

      “Yes, my dear…you are the artistic type and not the technical type”…I get it…you have no patience or hand-eye co-ordination…just leave it to the real professionals who have loads of both and charge by the hour. Thanks for this comment Costume People…it never ends does it?

  32. celeste says:

    I do sew, a lot and very well, and I knew that wedding dresses were far beyond my skills when a niece asked me to help with hers. How you can handle 6 layers of polyester that are 4 feet long is beyond me, never mind the ruffles and other decorations. I managed to shorten the shoulder seam and then called in the local pro because there was no way I knew how to shorten a spiral ruffle overlay of 3 layers. You ladies deserve every accolade you receive; I could not do your job for love or money and I think you should get a lot more of BOTH.
    I think my favorite comment is “I don’t sew but I do scrapbook!” I’m sure that will be very helpful in the process. I would have been rolling on the floor in hysterical laughter at that one.

  33. April says:

    I have just found your blog via Fabrikated and a search engine as the link didn’t work. As she holds you in high esteem, I decided to have a look. It was well worth the effort. I love sewing, but there is a limit to how many clothes I can have and wear …. isn’t there. So I started making clothes for others on an ad hoc basis and soon realised that I wouldn’t want to do it as my main job. You and your buddies testimonies is the reason. I love your coool (sic) responses though, so regal, my lesson for today. I grow produce too, so I will be adding you to my favourites. Thank you for an entertaining read.
    I wouldn’t have known where to start with the wedding dress, but then alterations are a whole new ball game.
    Looking forward to your next post.

    • mrsmole says:

      Welcome, April, all comments are shared and enjoyed so feel free to use this as a place to moan or celebrate a victory. Alterations make you think backwards and all about sequence of sewing so we can re-create the original garment. It’s not everyone’s cup or tea…some days your brain hurts at closing time just from figuring out solutions. Some of us sew during the night when the solutions come to us. You have to be a little weird to do this type of sewing!

  34. Chris says:

    I just found your site and am appreciating your sense of humor. I recently retired from a printing/mailing business. One – ONE time we addressed wedding invitations for a bride. She approved the font, we lasered the envelopes then when we returned them she through a tantrum because she decided she didn’t like the font after all. We never took another bride as a client, so my hat is off to you.

    As for fruits/veggies, I once harvested a citron (Buddha’s Hand) that grew in the shape of a one-fingered salute. 😆

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