Reached My Limit

After blogging about brides for almost 9 years, I thought it was time for a small bitch-fest.

Besides brides and mothers-of-the bride and grandmothers and bridesmaids who visit the sewing room, this year almost half of my brides have managed to sneak in little ones like this without me knowing ahead of time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sure, he’s strapped into a car seat and the bride assures me that he will be no trouble….except when he sees his mother dressed in ivory standing on a platform…that is when the screaming starts.

Brides who bring babies usually also forget to bring a child minder with them. I don’t know what they are thinking a fitting involves but neither of us will be able to calm that child down with her standing and me on the floor pinning. NEWS FLASH…no awake kid wants to spend an hour or more in a car seat and will not remain quiet!

Some brides bring a mother/grandmother to carry the kid and talk incessantly to him while jiggling the baby up and down. Last week as soon as the bride got on the platform her mother/ the grandmother announced, “well, we have a loaded dirty diaper so I will just change him here on your carpet”…at that point I gave the bride a dirty look and she asked her mother to reconsider and go out to the car to do the dirty work.

Others who have just had their babies want to nurse them before and after the fitting while the child cries. Others bring their best friend who has just had their own baby and want to spread out on the floor and nurse while I try to walk around pinning and fluffing and take photos. Some best friends bring their own baby while carrying the bride’s child too.

This week one of the many pregnant brides insisted on wearing Spanx from under her bust down to her knees and was overcome with a fainting spell twice during the fitting. This resulted in her mother shouting to me, “Get her some water” and me doing as I was told and then sitting for an extra half hour while the bride stood up and then sat back down while her mother fanned her with throw pillows. When the bride finally resumed standing for the final trimming of her tulle hem, the mother insisted that she stand next to her daughter and hold her hand because she said, “she needs me”. Removing the Spanx also helped with the the lightheadedness (my suggestion).

Next year, the salon will be giving out my business cards but I have added a message on the back:

Another issue with brides, as some of you may encounter, in making appointments around town, you will be the one that they feel OK about missing or being extremely late.

I got a call from a bride for her final fitting 2 weeks before her wedding to say it was 2 pm and she and her mother were just getting their preview nails done and would like to come at 4:30 instead of 2:30. Sure, like there is nothing else going on in the sewing room. It must be pretty exciting to be treated like a princess while doing the rounds at getting hair, nails, make-up and fake eyelashes all tested and selected in addition to tasting cakes, signature cocktails and  special music tracks with your DJ. Then there is the photographer and the florist to deal with and pay. In the end, whatever alterations cost on the dress are really peanuts compared to everything else.

Seamstresses that have to deal with the alterations on these wedding gowns day after day know these feelings of helplessness and frustration. Instead of making the seamstress/tailor feel that they are an integral park of the event, we can be relegated to just another stop on her busy schedule but in the end I say, “No dress, No wedding” to put our job in perspective.

The one bright spot is that my sewing room is closed for 2 weeks for me to recharge and dust…yes, dust, how thick can dust get on the top of bookshelves? How thick can dust get on air vent filters? Don’t ask!

 

Time to clean my ironing board cover too!

 

 

Wishing you all a successful sewing week!

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68 Responses to Reached My Limit

  1. Marilyn says:

    Please have a great vacation!!!! Thanks for being there for us wanna be’s. Sorry people suck.

  2. Din says:

    I stopped sewing for others a long time ago, but I admire you and others who hang in there. A lot of brides have completely bought into the whole “I’m a princess so everyone has to do my bidding” thing so their entitlement is completely out of control. I cannot understand why you’d bring a baby or toddler to a fitting unless your babysitter cancelled last minute. It’s so disrespectful.

    I don’t know your policies on lateness, but perhaps you could add an hourly charge to people who arrive more than 30 minutes late and a hefty cancellation fee. That might help with late arrivals. Also I’d put “No Children, Please” on the front of the card because I promise you, someone is going to say they didn’t see it.

    Have a great vacation and I look forward to reading your future posts!

    • mrsmole says:

      Oh Din, You made me laugh with putting the notice on the front of the card…then I remembered that when I ask the bride if she has my card, the response is usually…”the salon gave me one but I lost it”…so really there is little hope that they will even look on the back.

  3. Sue says:

    I would not put “Please.” When you write “Please” you are asking. Be firm. Write “No children allowed.” If they should up with a child/baby, tell them that the appointment will need to be rescheduled – children are not allowed at the fitting. The bride will probably not like it but in the end the bride and the bridal community (her friends who will need a dress fitted) will have greater respect for you and your policies.

    • mrsmole says:

      I guess I never want anyone, especially a new client to say, “what a bitch that seamstress is”…ha ha “for not allowing me to bring my baby and toddler to the fitting”. Some gals even complain that I make them remove their shoes and it is not to keep the carpet clean, it is so their dress does not get twigs and grass on the hem during fittings from wet or dirty shoes/pasture boots/filthy flip flops.

      • erniek3 says:

        No. You are running a business. You are not a bitch, you’re a businessperson. You run a professional business. You charge a fee for work well done with expensive and precious materials. Babysitting is not working. Respect my work and I will respect your business and do it well. You do great work; it’s on them to be great customers. Being clear ahead of time (no children, late fees and cancellations are $xx) makes it clear that you aren’t wasting their time either. How many years have you been doing this? If you want to add a “I’ve been doing this long enough to know that children are a distraction from an excited bride” line, that’s cool. I’m willing to wager no one is going to pass you by because you have ground rules LIKE ANY BUSINESS. And maybe someone learns a lesson in business from this.

    • Val says:

      And charge the bride for your wasted time!

    • Kim says:

      I agree. Don’t ask TELL. It took me years to learn this – but the child mimicking me and putting pins in his mouth was the last straw.
      And I never waited more than one hour for latecomers. If they were so late that it wouldn’t fit in an hour I made them rearrange (an never let on that I was off for a cup of tea and a seeth ☺)

  4. Auntie V says:

    I say it ever time – YOU. ARE. A. SAINT.

  5. sewruth says:

    Set your boundaries – you really are too nice and accommodating- although should I ever marry again and need some alterations done, I might not come to you- LOL!
    You need new rules – cancellation fee; lateness penalty; child minding costs; stupid requests; family interference charges. As you say, the brides pay well over the odds for everything else associated with grand weddings and I bet the florist etc don’t allow lateness or cancellations. I can’t even cancel my hair or dentist appointment without a charge. I have stated before – it’s the marriage, not the wedding that’s important. Maybe this is something that some brides need to be reminded of – subtly, of course….
    Go and enjoy your holiday. You have certainly deserved it. I always thought teaching teenagers was hard work until I read your blog.

  6. Donnalee says:

    Good for you for hitting your limit! You do such great work–imagine if some famous fashion designer was treated with this kind of disrespect. There would probably be a lot of drama and then people would behave. Enjoy your time off.

    So why would someone pregnant, who is going to get bigger before they get smaller, think that spanx would help them get a good fit in their dress…? Just asking–

    • mrsmole says:

      The dress needed some, not a lot, of tighter underpants to keep the satin under layer flat for the tulle layers to be smooth. It was a last minute wedding with the baby being a surprise feature. Wearing Spanx from armpit to knees is not a good idea for any bride!

      • Donnalee says:

        I would agree. Someone once wrote a blog about wearing two pairs at once and being unable to get them off in time to use the restroom–

  7. Tia Dia says:

    Don’t even get me started on the lack of basic common courtesy and behavioural expectations currently en vogue in this culture. I would be very clear about policies. You wouldn’t be the first to have them in place, and you wouldn’t be the first (or last) to have some spoiled brat complain about them.

    Enjoy your well-earned vacation, Mrs. Mole!

  8. Nancy Figur says:

    Oh Boy, did this hit a nerve. As I mentioned before I take those wedding dresses years and sometimes decades later and turn them into Christening gowns. I have an Etsy shop for the exact reason that it is all done online and I don’t have to have them here or on the phone. But, the ones who are in NJ all want to drop off the dress and then pick it up. They save the shipping cost and I wind up waiting an eternity for them. I do get it – the baby got up late – needed to nurse – whatever – but showing up two hours later means my afternoon is shot and I am already in a bad mood when you get here. They want to discuss their ideas for the CG – well we do that once I have spent time with the gown so doing it when you are there and the new baby and sometimes two toddlers are running around my house – not on the spot. Same thing with picking it up. I had one that wanted to try it on the baby when she got here. They give me measurements and lbs and I make that size. If they want alterations they can have that done at their own seamstress.
    And, sometimes they are people I know which makes it a social afternoon which is sometimes fun and usually just kills the afternoon.
    I am lucky that most are out of state and we do it all via Etsy conversations so everything is recorded. I actually get to have a nice relationship with many of the girls I sew for by the time we are done. One girl and I had 204 messages in our conversations. I am also lucky that babies are squishy and fit is a suggestion not an exact science for growing babies. Many of them keep in touch and send me pictures when their next child wears the gown I made.
    You are a saint and I can just picture the commotion in your fitting room while you are trying to concentrate. I hope you enjoy your time off. I do that a few times a year otherwise I get burnt out.
    My reason for not having kids in my actual sewing room is danger – scissors, pins on the floor, stuff like that – sometimes it works sometimes not. Maybe bill it as a safety issue.

  9. Susan Hart says:

    OMG….don’t get me started on the rudeness of some of the brides I used to encounter when I did alterations.
    I’ll admit, I even lied once to a woman who called an hour late to say she was late, (DUH!!) and could she still come..?
    I said, No because I had another appointment coming in 1/2 hour and it wouldn’t be fair to the next bride to make her wait when she would more than likely be on time!
    The 1st woman wasn’t very nice but I stood firm and simply offered to reschedule and that if it happened again there would be a $15.00 surcharge added to final bill.
    One other time, I acted more harried than I would’ve because a client was late and I practically talked her ear off about the cable man or the plumber or something being late to the house so I wouldn’t have to listen to her stupid dumb reason.
    You DO have to be civil and stand your ground. I would write up a small leaflet that explains your shop policies. Late fees, no children, proper undergarment, correct heel height shoes….etc
    Even just the supposed threat of a consequence is enough to make many folks not think of abusing your services and good nature.
    And if you can get the salon to talk up your superb skills and expectations of respect then all the better!
    Good luck!
    Susan

    • Mary says:

      I can hardly wrap my mind around it. Why don’t people think about the obvious issues you bring up? Unreal! Pins, scissors, correct heels, no dirty shoes, right underwear, being on time, so, so obvious!

    • mrsmole says:

      You would not expect to have to hand out a paper stating basic good manners after sewing for clients for over 50 years would you? But this year will be a first because life and clients dictate such a move.

  10. celestial says:

    You cannot do the work you do with children in the room. Period. It isn’t safe, you are distracted, and concentration on the project at hand is compromised. I was a psychologist prior to retirement, and would occasionally have a patient bring in a child to their session. It was inconceivable to anyone as to how you could have an effective therapy session (crying, discussing, role-playing, etc) with a child in the room. There are places to bring children and then there are places that aren’t appropriate. It is sad when mothers haven’t gotten that message.

    • mrsmole says:

      The worst offenders are the maids of honor (usually a sister) who think bringing ANY age child would be perfectly fine and letting them run the halls to the bathroom or letting them eat snacks in my room…this ain’t McDonald’s!!!!

  11. tscolema9942 says:

    I can’t even imagine! Well I think you do amazing work and deserve these 2 weeks off

  12. maryfunt says:

    I hope you are able to relax and enjoy your well deserved vacation. As for the children, I’ve had only one bride who brought her baby and after informing her that her child and babysitter would need to wait in the car (too many dangerous things in the studio), no more children present for fittings. Cancellations should get a fee assessed and I’ve also told the occasional bride who asked if she could show up two hours late: No, I have someone else and it wouldn’t be fair to her. Your stories are always amazing. Hard to believe there are people who actually behave so rudely but I’m sure are true. Come back relaxed.

    • mrsmole says:

      Two weeks without a sewing machine can be difficult to ease into…but I am trying…ha ha You have been such a great help to me this year, thank you again!

  13. Odette says:

    You are way too nice – don’t accept rude and entitled behaviour. And your time slot is your time slot, you don’t pitch, out you go or make a new appointment else pay for wasted time!

  14. I can’t believe people do these things! They are there for a reason and should act accordingly to help you get the job efficiently and professionally done! Enjoy your time off!

  15. upsew says:

    Your patience and good humour are endless, and I hope you have a fine rest. Amazing someone will bring a child to a room of pins and scissors and white fabric – but truly I should not be shocked especially as common sense is never as common as you think. I am shocked that someone would believe it okay to be late for an appointment – the sense of entitlement is beyond me. There is truly no excuse for bad manners.

    • mrsmole says:

      Once a nurse turned up 1.5 hours late with no excuse. I told her that this would not be tolerated at a Dr.’s or dentist’s office and she hit back with, “I work for a doctor and this happens all the time”…so there you go!

  16. jay says:

    You need T &C . No children. Cancellation fees. Correct underwear and shoes. Showered and deodorised. Lateness Policy. Little children are lovely, but exude the sort of mess that’s anathema to white satin, and they need constant attention.

    • mrsmole says:

      Well Jay, can you imagine how many brides arrive in a rush hot from the gym in gym clothes? How many others arrive hot from the pasture with their dirty boots because they are going to wear the exact same (comfortable) boots under their dress? When I ask if they plan on buying new fresh boots for their wedding (and expensive photos), they look at me with confusion…go figure!

  17. Tish says:

    Oh dear, I hope the child isn’t riding in the car strapped in that loosely! My second thought was, I sure wish you had done my wedding alterations; you pay so much more attention to the details than the seamstress at the store I purchased from (my dress wasn’t hemmed right and I spent the day tripping over it)

    • mrsmole says:

      Being a perfectionist can certainly get one into trouble! If you treat the dress as your own, you surely cannot do half-ass work on it can you? I am amazed that people ask me if when I say I will take in a seam, I just don’t do it and charge them anyway…how outrageous is that?

  18. Sharon P says:

    Been there, done that …. time to retire. 🥴

  19. JustGailj says:

    I wish I could say I can’t believe brides don’t have more sense. But after being a reader of Not Always Right, what I’ve seen while on both sides of the cash register, and your posts, sadly I totally believe it. I’d be putting “Absolutely No Children Allowed” right on the front next time you have cards printed up. Nothing about please – too easily interpreted as not really serious, and nothing about “in the work room” – they’ll think their spawn, I mean little angels, can romp in the rest of your house or yard. Absolutely add cancellation and late-show fees, especially for frivolous reasons for not showing up. Just because your shop is in your home, doesn’t mean you get less respect than if you had a shop in the mall. Yup – I’m getting crabby(er) in my old age 🙂

    Have a wonderful vacation time!

  20. I BELIEVE you are a saint! Seriously! Cause I would have cursed someone out by now and held the gown hostage! *LOL* Enjoy your two weeks and maybe besides cleaning you can create a piece or two for yourself!

  21. mhdwileski says:

    I believe you can only be taken advantage of if you allow it. When I did bridal work, I made it clear from day one, gently but firmly, what the protocol was for me. It was all written down at the first appointment so there would be no surprises when a bride saw her own signature on the bottom line. Of course, there were exceptions – there were some very legitimate reasons for accommodating them, and my customers appreciated that. If they had a problem with it, I welcomed them to find someone else. Harsh? Maybe, but I had more work than I could handle because my customers respected me and they knew that I would put 100% into making their day special. And, I wasn’t the one tearing my hair out three days before the wedding.

    • mrsmole says:

      Obviously, I have been too nice all these years…toughen up, Mrs. Mole will be my mantra come Feb 1st!!!

      • lsaspacey says:

        YES! Good for you! Your stories in the future might not be AS hilarious, but your well-being and probably your health will be much better! I wish you the best in implementing some new ground rules and penalties. Hopefully your stricter rules will also teach these brides some discipline that they will use in relating to society in general.

  22. Katrina B says:

    Oh, I laughed when I saw your message on the card. You would have loved my wedding invitation – I had “No children under 12 at the ceremony or reception, please” printed right there with the time and place. This was 35 years ago, but if I were one of your customers today, I believe we would see eye to eye.

    • mrsmole says:

      You got that right, Katrina! Kids are fine but not at formal occasions or when their mom is standing on a platform and unable to control them and their sticky fingers and wet or poopy diapers!

  23. I once sold a house where I didn’t allow viewers to bring children. It would disrupt the experience for everyone else! If someone was really interested, they could return at another time with their family. But for the open inspections, not a single child. Worked beautifully., My agent said she had never had such nice showings.
    I agree, drop the ”please”. Makes it read like an option. No children.

    • mrsmole says:

      You will love this queensberry, if I get a phone call from a bride with children screaming in the background or grabbing the phone from the mom, then I say I am fully booked for that month. If a mom cannot control her kids at home, she sure as shooting will not control them here.You were certainly wise in your open house dealings! Bravo!

  24. It’s really sad that there are so people with no considerations, and who don’t believe that rules apply to them. I would reinforce limit setting. They need you more than you need them. You have a time slot blocked out for them . . . both the fitting time and then the time after that in the week to do the alterations. If they don’t cooperate, make them pay an upcharge. If they don’t like it, they can take their dress, minus deposit and go elsewhere. It just doesn’t pay to be nice. When I costumed high school musicals most of the kids thought I was a witch. There’s always extenuating circumstances in some situations . . . but you can usually tell the legit emergencies from the “Oh . . I forgot, he he”

    • Nancy Figur says:

      I was reading this and thought – wow another costumer! Then I realized it was you! I think we need to be the witch – otherwise it is chaos. I have already started telling them that this show is going to bring out the ironing policewoman in me. No wrinkles in Sound of Music.

  25. Cheryl Designs says:

    ENJOY your break 🙂 I rarely have trouble with children 🙂 Maybe Southeastern Ohio is a more considerate place? Occasionally someone will bring an infant in a seat for a bridesmaid fitting. They leave the critter in there 🙂 I like children-never reproduced but I like them for a limited time. NO-I do NOT want to pick up and ADORE your infant 😦 I live alone so my home studio set-up is TOTALLY different from yours 🙂 I have MY BEDROOM and bathroom for PERSONAL SPACE. The rest of the house is CHERYL DESIGNS 🙂 Main open area is for fittings. I have a sewing room. I have a dressing room. I have a customer bathroom. My customers are in the main area, and dressing room. BUT-IF-they bring along a toddler, those little suckers go DIRECTLY toward the sewing room 😦 It must have a TODDLER MAGNET 🙂 They HEAD toward the ONE PLACE with pointy , sharp objects and SCISSORS 😦 Brides, Moms, Grandmas and maids are ..OH HOW CUTE! Cheryl SAYS CLOSE THE DOOR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Crikey! I have the occasional-NO SHOW for their appt. I am usually NOT surprised because of the phone conversation 🙂 I ALLOW 30 minutes for LATENESS. After that-if you show UP…we re-schedule. AND let me tell you. IF you are an ASS….you WILL be BILLED. IT might not be separately BILLED upon your invoice but I WILL MAKE YOU PAY with your charges 🙂 I am a GREAT seamstress. I am a professional. I love my customers, I treat them VERY well. I DESERVE respect. TIME IS MONEY… It just..IS 🙂 I WORK for a living. That is the same as MOST of my customers, they also work to make a living 🙂 RESPECT a PROFESSIONAL seamstress. WE ARE RARE. As you said….. NO GOWN=NO WEDDING 🙂 PS-I am on Facebook…Cheryl Designs… Pics of my studio on there 🙂

  26. Accordion3 says:

    I took my bike to a repair shop where there was a very polite sign. It stated the hourly charge rate, then the hourly rate including customer assistance ($10 more), then the hourly rate including customer advice (double). This could work for you and the annoying children situation.

    Another possibility is the sign saying “Children will given a chocolate and a kitten”.

  27. poppykettle says:

    You’re amazing – I honestly don’t know how you do it! I’m super grateful you’re willing to share the journeys with us x

    • mrsmole says:

      I only strive to make you laugh and give a dose of reality to those who think they want to set themselves up as “bridal specialists” because you can charge more…honey, you earn every penny! One acquaintance of mine tried being the bridal expert here in town and gave up after one month. When I saw her at an ASG meeting she told me she never realized how heavy the dresses were and she didn’t want to handle them all day…muscle building for sure!!!

  28. Valerie says:

    Dear Mrs Mole, Your patience as well as your skill is what makes you a success in this field. I think you need flyer stapled to your card that sets out the rules re children, late fees, no shoes etc etc.

  29. Michele says:

    When I worked out of my home doing custom sewing and alterations, I never did find a graceful way to get a teenager to come on time for a fitting, or in fact, remember they had one! I made cheerleaders costumes in the 1990s and it became so stressful that I finally quit and went to work as an educator for one of the sewing machine manufacturers! I would put your “No Children” policy loud and clear on the front of your business card, remind the client when she makes an appointment of the “No Children” policy (in case her friends have children) and that you require 1 day’s notice if she can’t make the appointment on time. First missed appointment and you add a penalty, second missed appointment and you return her dress. Bringing a child automatically cancels the appointment. And all that said, my favorite sewing was the flower girls dresses! To see a little girl twirling in a beautiful swirly dress she loves is a wonderful sight!

    • mrsmole says:

      Twirling flower girl dresses are just toooo cute! I have altered enough to make it a real delight along with communion dresses…tiny brides in white…before they get an attitude…ha ha! It must have been way more rewarding working with adults and sewing machines!!!!

  30. celestial says:

    Dear Mrs. Mole, I know that it is difficult for you to state and enforce boundaries, but maybe you could think of it as training the bride for her role in life as a wife and/or mother? By clearly stating your guidelines from the beginning of your interaction with the bride, you are demonstrating what is and isn’t allowed, not because you are a “bitch” but because it is best for you, the customer, and the finished product. I had a professor in a small class tell us that if we were absent or late we were expected to call him prior to class time or the entire class would have to wait in silence. (Since then, I call all my appointments if I am even a minute late.) It was great training for me and it could be very educational for your brides.

    I think most women want to be liked and they proceed from that, while a business woman should strive to be respected, which is entirely different. Maybe you can have an e-mail or text sent to each bride that states your parameters:
    1. No children allowed in home or fitting area. This is a business area with dangerous equipment and my time with you is focused upon your dress and your wedding.
    2. Come to all fittings recently showered and wearing/bringing the undergarments and shoes you will wear under your bridal dress. Your dress is a costly investment that requires attention to detail.
    3. Timeliness is essential for you and all brides; if you are more than 10 minutes late you will be charged accordingly. Every bride deserves focused time during her time slot and it is unfair to impinge upon another bride’s time.

    Finally, brides have “nail preview appointments”? I laughed hysterically as I read that and then realized you were serious. Unbelievable.

  31. mrsmole says:

    Brides have the idea that EVERYONE will be marveling at their dress, food, nails, shoes, hair-do choices so everything must be perfect and co-ordinated and semi close to being a Kardashian wedding or on the cover of HELLO magazine in the UK. They spend a year testing cakes, DJ’s, nail salons, makeup artists and linen suppliers because God forbid you did not choose the exact color of salmon or forest green to match your bouquet or bridesmaids! My recent bride last week has her wedding in the middle of April and wanted me to delay the final sewing on the alterations until THE NIGHT BEFORE so she could be the smallest she could manage. I said no…I need 7 days notice as she is not the ONLY bride I am dealing with.

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