07 June 2010

Now I Undserstand Why the Selfish Seamstress is So Selfish

I learned some valuable lessons this weekend.

1. I hate doing alterations.
2. I hate doing alterations for other people.
3. Don't feel bad telling someone you don't do alterations.
4. Sometimes, you just have to swallow your pride and admit you can't do it.

So how did I come to learn all of this? WELL...

One day I was approached by a co-worker who said, I know you sew, and I was wondering if you may be able to help me out. (I bet most of you can guess where this is going..but in my defense, this was the first time anyone ever said this to me so the abandon ship alarms weren't going off in my head). I eagerly listened and she asked if I could hem her daughter's baptism dress and add some cap sleeves, because it was going to cost her more than the dress was worth if she had it professionally done. Sounds simple enough right? My thought exactly so I told her to bring it over and I'd have a look. Fast forward to the next day, and WHAM! I was hit by a white polyester child-size version of Belle's ballgown from Beauty and the Beast. I looked at it and although I had serious reservations I thought I could have a go..and hey, I wanted to help her out..so I accepted. I won't bore you with the details, but honestly it turned into a disaster..mainly because I was afraid I'd ruin it and I didn't want to cut and pick apart anything, so I wasn't doing it properly. After shedding much blood, sweat, and tears I finally gave up because I wasn't enjoying it, I wasn't happy with it, and I didn't want to give her dress back looking like shit rubbish..and let me say, lesson #4 was the hardest (because I am a VERY pedantic and persistent sewer). From now on, I only have one client..ME!

*sigh*...well, at least now I can go back to focusing on my own projects! I did get some stash-bustin' done today so I'm feeling better.

This dress will never look the same.


  1. I like to giggle like I have something wrong with my brain, and if that doesn't put them off, I give them directions to the lady at the laundromat who has really reasonable prices. LOL. I've never had anyone ask two times! :)

  2. My favorite thing about this is they never want to pay you, because they completely take sewing for granted. Never mind that it is one of the most useful life skills a person can have and tailors-work can be very profitable because sewing is a million times more complex than people such as those who run pattern companies want the public to think.
    When people ask me I first ask, well why can't you do it? (which reminds them that not just anyone can do it) and then I give them a very detailed breakdown of how long it will take me and why and by then they're usually either bored or completely embarrassed when I tell them the work I'd be doing is about the equivalent of $200.

  3. I'm with you. I am so afraid that I will mess it up. It's one thing to take a risk with material that I have purchased. Just because I sew, doesn't mean I am an expert with alterations. I am actually asked all the time to do this. If I accepted, I would never have any time to sew my own projects. I sew for enjoyment. This would not be a joy;it would be a job to sew for others.


  4. I'm with Molly. I dont mind shortening a hem too much but when I get the 'the fly's busted' or 'I bought a jacket and the sleeves are too long' that's when I send them to the dry cleaners to repair.
    And I'm with Lisette. You know if I charged out my time at $20 an hour you couldnt afford a dress made by me. Hey I'm lucky I can afford a dress made by me!
    Its damned cheeky and there's never anything they can offer in return that's worth taking up.
    Selfish Seamstress is definitely the way to go!
    Great post. Good pickup on something that's irked me for ages!

  5. I charge $50/hour, 2 hours minimum. That usually shuts 'em up pretty quickly. :)