Saturday, September 22, 2018

Saturday, motherof the bride/groom fiasco

     Disclaimer:  This is my fault, it has always been my fault and will continue to be my fault. This mother is a nice person, I like her. She is just well.... you be the judge.  Somehow I just miss communicated. Or people think I am magic.

     I have girlfriends in my church.  Their daughters/sons get married. Many of them sew.  They come to me with problems.  Everyone knows each other as it is a small community.  So this problem probably started back about 15 years ago.

     Girlfriend #1.  She comes to me with her daughters wedding dress and she can't gt the neck line right.  As soon as I saw it I knew she had not cut the trim on the neck binding on the bias of the fabric so the fabric would not lay right.  Yes she would have to remove all the beading and remove trim and start over.  Now I feel her stress level rise.  She shows me her mother of the bride dress pattern and material.  She is a short chubby and very pretty dark haired woman.  The black lace sheath dress and material she has chosen is going to do nothing for her except make her look like an old Jewish krumke.  I can say this as my relatives are Jewish.  Her daughters wedding colors are black and a dark burgundy maroon.  So I say, "you are not wearing black to your daughters wedding.  Leave me this mess and go and take care of the wedding dress, but first let me take your measurements.". 

     I return material and pattern to Joanns and choose a dark, maroon, shantung and a fitted straight skirt and peplum suit pattern. Yes she is short and chubby but she has a very narrow waist for her size.  So I proceed to make her a fitted straight skirt that also fits and flares from the waist.  I put pearl buttons on it and had her wear pearls and put her hair in a french twist.  She looked stunning.  She had a suit fitted to her in a monochromatic color.  It emphasized her good not her bad.  Of course it became public knowledge that I did this.

Girlfriend #2.  Same scenario as above only she had purchased two mother of the bride assembles. both which made her look well (Hideous).  She also had fabric for 7 vests she was making for the men.  Tension was high.  Her husband had just had back surgery and had developed an infection so was life flighted out of this small town.  I just took the things away from her and took her measurements and said basically," I can do this in about 4 hours.  You will not have it done in four days, let me do this for you."   I made her a fitted suit in a deep purple. She was beautiful.

Myself:   When you are short and not thin, putting a sloppy large dress on just makes you look bigger.  Tailored clothes look better.  Less material, less you.  My daughter got married and I waited until the week before to find myself something to wear.  Ended up with a olive green vogue suit made out of sofa material.  Later sold suit and shoes to a lawyers wife for her 50th wedding anniversary.

     Enter Mother of the bride#3:  Same scenario but she does not sew .  She and her husband both have very good jobs and she works full time.  More power to her.  She wants a suit just like the one I made for Girlfriend #1 but in red.  Now she is going to pay for my services but would rather trade something which I thought was odd as they have money.  But her husband is an electrician and I desperately needed some electrical work-in the shop. So I tell her I don't think that the pattern I used for Girlfriend #1 is what she wants.  Her body is different and she is bigger through the waist she would look better in a sheath type.  But no I was going to make her look like Girlfriend #1 and #2.  So I proceed to make suit, which was well done but did not really scream great on her.  I don't know if she wore it or not.  Her husband (whom I like very much ) is quite the dandy and he might have told her she looked like a blood clot.  Anyway she comes back to me and says her husband will not do  any electrical work outside his job as he is tired and she needs him at home on the weekends, so she will take tickets at a dance studio show to make up for my taking 12 hours to make her a suit.  I was hurt (pissed) but I did not stand up for myself and was taken advantage of as usual.

Myself:  I will wait until Talbots has an 85% off sale and buy suits or dresses that are not in my size and recut them to fit. Or I will buy a dress that is too short and another and then add a piece to lengthen the dress.  Now I can do this for very little money.  I can also go crazy at Talbots and way overspend but those days are behind me.:)  I don't go around bragging about this but it is common knowledge that I will take a $1.00 dress and add some frippery to make something really cute.  You noticed I said cute.  I do not have the bone structure to be beautiful, I am relegated to cute.

Now Mother of the bride/groom comes to me again with two dresses.  Both are way to tight for her.  She wants me to take fabric out of the smaller dress and add panels under the arms on each side to make dress bigger, and also fashion a sleeve out of the other dress.  This dress has a weird bodice set up and I don't know how a sleeve will set in also it has a scalloped lace hem which has to be pieced together correctly.  I just don't see it coming together like she wished.  I wear a lot of sheath type dresses, I know how they should fit through the shoulders, this one is not really going to cut it.  Coco Channel said a good dress falls from the shoulders.  It does not fall and stop and then fall and stop. Well yes I can add panels.  Yes I have done it before on my dresses but... it is like I can't tell her, or she won't listen to me.  She does not get it. She just expects me to make it look good and I really have my doubts.

   Okay your thoughts, let me have it.  I am not out to make enemies.  I like these people, I just don't get why they expect me to do what really can't be done.



  1. Kim,

    that's how you start the conversation. I like you I want to stay friends with you. What you are asking for will (take your choices as what is applicable) 1)will not look good on your body shape and I want you to be stunning. To preserve our friendship, I won't do what you are asking but will do X, Y, or Z 2) be beyond the mount of time I have to complete what you are asking for. I can however do this...and you will be beautiful 3) not work as I can't keep my books straight with bartered services. I estimate what you are asking will take X number of hours at a rate of $XX per hour. 4) will not work right now at all because my life is too full and I have too much on my plate to complete what you need by that date. Starting with I like you and want to keep our friendship in tact is a great way to start. Just because someone wants does not mean you must do. That is not friendship but servitude.

  2. KIM,
    As you know, I sew, and I sew well, often performing miracles with alterations, patterns and fit. I just refuse to start on something and know it looks awful in the end. I value my reputation with sewing.

    I actually bought a two piece dress back in the 60s for $1 and made it work by altering only one of the two pieces.

    Toward the end of my altering for anyone, I just quit taking things in except for a few people who were wealthy and easy to get along with. They became friends through altering. I found other less stressful sewing to do.

    One woman had twin girls. The woman presented me with a pattern, telling me to make one "this size and another one smaller" since one twin was a size smaller. I was not allowed to measure the girls because the mother was sure this pattern would fit. Then, she threw in--oh, can you give me a break on the price since I have twins?

    If I sew without measuring myself, I give the person the dress and will not alter, even for pay. She was not worried at all, assuring me the dresses would fit. I refused to give a break on the price and walked away from the job.

    A friend asked me if I would make her a dress since she admired mine. I said I would, just call me. Six months later, she yelled across a room, calling my name--I thought you were going to make a dress for me? You never did. I answered equally loud--Well, I never heard from you, got no material or pattern. So, how was I going to sew anything?

    Maybe you are sewing for church friends that you cannot turn down? People in the church where husband was minister thought I, the minister's wife, should sew for free.

    Eventually, I started making clothing and putting them in a friend's boutique.

    that worked.

    People bought thread when I told them not to do so. They bought the cheapest thread around that made knots and sometimes broke. I went out and rebought the right thread and notions, giving theirs back unopened and charging them for the right notions. Most of the time, I just sent their notions back when they left, before I had shopped for the correct things.

  3. I sewed my own clothing for years until I got too busy to do so. I had many people who wanted me to do things for them, and I am not at all skilled like you.I am somewhat self taught, some home ec. in h.s., and 4-H. People decided that if I sewed, I should be able to do what they wanted, even though I had no shingle hanging and no advertisement, and no interest in doing any sewing for anyone. It is as though people want what they want and they won't hear anything else. They view you as someone who can do it, when they know they can't, but they do not understand why you are saying what you are, even if you have made it clear. SAM is correct in how to approach it. Best to you.

  4. I'm thankful I don't deal with people like this--I don't think I would win any friends. You KNOW I would say something snarky! You have more patience than I do.

  5. How about I am busy and tired and my family likes me to be available on the weekends. Use her words. You're not lying, you are not being mean and hand her a talbots catalog. Don't do anymore work for her because it will never be right and you will always lose in the end. Bun

  6. You are the expert! And remind them of that. "No, I won't do that. It won't work. I am the expert here, and I am telling you it won't work, and I won't do it."

    Sam had perfect responses!
    Also, remember that "No." is a complete sentence.

    Sew only for cash, not barter, and demand 50% of the labor up front. That way you can't be completely hornswoggled.

  7. 1. We agreed on X electrical work. The value is $X. Please write me a check so I can have the work done.

    2. I cannot make you look like bride #1's Mom. Your shape is different. X would be most flattering. I will still do this if it's what you really want. My time is $25/hour. I am estimating 4h work.

    And that's what I would do!

  8. Whoa, what a mess. I don't know this friend, but I don't like her. LOL She is using you and seems to value herself over you and your time. Tell her, nope, can't be done, it just won't work. Also, i like the comment above that your family wants you available on weekends!!! Tell her to wear the blood clot...ha ha!!

  9. People want what they want and don't seem to value the opinion of an expert who does this for a living and does it well. Don't sell out on your reputation or under value your self. Some call it putting your self on the sale shelf. You work hard! My mom was a seamstress and made some amazing things incudling diamond tuck leather interior for a vintage car and beautiful wedding dresses. She could sew anything. Speak out in love but don't devalue yourself! My husband was a DJ for years and we would get asked to do free or greatly reduced weddings and parties because they were "friends" or friends of the person asking. They would be very well off by all appearances and spend massive $ on food and venue. My husband just sold the last of his equipment and is out of the business for good. Not even friends. He is a speaker who travels the world and does most of his coaching by internet. Works for us. No more heavy equipment to carry. - what people don't realize is a 4 hour wedding and reception takes set up and take down and it turns into a 10-12 hour day plus meetings before hand to get the details right. He fractured his back a few years ago when moving a piece of heavy equipment for a FREE Christmas event for our Church (at the time). They paid every one else but wanted his services for free. Free does not pay the bills! Someone moved the dolly and he stepped back moving the equipment and went down. Finished the party but went through years of pain and Dr. visits. It's not worth it. Be firm and clear. This can be done in a nice way. You owe it to yourself.
    Take care.

  10. What Sam said. Obviously, these people don't value your time or effort, and are taking advantage of your kindness. It will continue if you don't put a stop to it, unfortunately.

  11. I thought Sam's comments were great options. I know it's hard not to take it personal, but people are just so self absorbed it seems anymore. It speaks volumes about them, not you. Don't let them devalue you. I get requests for free legal advice all the time and people just don't take no for an answer. I tell them I am not qualified to answer your question. It is really not accepted, as talk is cheap, right? Just give me your thoughts...People do not understand I can get sued for malpractice just for cocktail advice. Go use Google, you think you are so smart. So many people ask, I might give some suggestions...then they argue with me! Are you kidding? You asked me and then argue/don't take my advice. I am finished with it.