Saturday, 9 August 2014

Do You Do ... [fill in the blank]

I love sewing. I truly do. I don't like sewing for others though. It is not that I'm selfish (although I do enjoy selfish sewing), it is that

  1. I don't have the set up or the equipment that professional tailor or seamstresses do. Sure, I would love a Juki sitting in my sewing space, but I don't. My serger is an antique compared to the latest self-threading models that I dream about every time I struggle with re-threading the serger. 
  2. My body is older than my sewing equipment. 
  3. And I really don't need the stress of sewing for others on a hobby that I enjoy. I want to keep this as something that I enjoy, something that I find relaxing and can do at my own pace.  

But, I constantly get asked if I do hems, zippers, etc.  

I'm perplexed when people know that I sew my own clothes how quickly they are to assume that I want to do their mending and alterations. It is like saying "I like housecleaning while listening to The Clash's London Calling album." It doesn't mean that I want to come to your house and clean while listening to the album there. It just means that I like doing something, period.

I don't go looking for sewing work. I don't want someone else's sewing work on top of my other work. Good grief!, I can barely keep up with my own sewing. 

Now, I do sew for my Mom. Mama R is the exception to the rule. Goodness, this is the woman who made me clothes once-upon-a-time, it is the least I could do. And I know what a difficult time she has finding clothes that fit and if I make a mistake when sewing something for her, it is no big deal. She's not going to be upset. She'll actually offer words of wisdom and tries to help me find a solution. She'll even help out with pressing. How can I not sew for my Mom?  

I do find it annoyingly amusing when others try to invade the sewing kinship that my Mom and I share. My brother once brought over his partner's denim shorts announcing that it needs a new zipper and if I could fix it for twenty dollars, the going rate that the tailor shop would charge, he nonchalantly added. 

I was totally perplexed as to why someone would have a very reasonable quote from a business that has the equipment to do the job, leave and would think that I, with my domestic sewing machine, would want to take the job. Anyone want to take a stab at explaining that?  

People are funny and weird aren't they?    

I have no problem explaining or guiding them to DIY resources or better yet a professional. Heck, I even use a sewing professional! But it seems that folks are not interested in that. They just assume that it is so easy and that I would be willing to drop everything going on in my life to do their mending and alterations. Obviously, they have no idea what my own out-of-control mending and alteration pile looks like.  

Did you read Fit for a Queen's post Your Job is So Easy? Oh my goodness, she nailed it. People don't realize the aches and pains and devotion that come with sewing. I sew because I love it, not because it is easy. I'm constantly taking breaks to avoid popping a Tylenol 2 or seeking out an emergency chiropractor appointment. I moved my ironing board away from the sewing machines so that I force myself to get up and walk around at the pressing stage. I even decide on projects based on the pattern layout because my knees can't take cutting out a project on the floor anymore. Thank goodness for the adjustable table height on the cutting table. But then there are people who think I want to do hemming not thinking that I had not one, but two knee surgeries and they weren't even replacements. No, I don't want to get down on my knees which hurt most days and hem your pants, skirt, or dress. I might not be able to get up!  

But yet the requests come. I guess that I should feel flattered that someone thought about me. But really, I rather not be in the uncomfortable position of saying "no, thank you." I just want to sew at my own pace and maybe someday get through my own mending and alteration pile.

How about you, do you get asked to do others mending and alterations without seeking the work? Do you do it or do you turn it down?


  1. I've been asked, and sometimes for close family I'll do it, but luckily my mum sews as well and my MIL knows how so it's normally only my brother and possibly BIL who ask. I have enough to do keeping my kids and husband clothed though. Then there's the random requests for handknitting to which the answer is always no and one person once asked me to handspin a jersey lot of yarn; thank goodness nothing came of that one!

  2. I will make things for my mother and mend odd things for my husband - he is very good though, and only wants me to do simple things, complex jobs he takes out as he thinks my time could be better used sewing for myself. Anyone else, it is a firm no. Unless they want to come to my house and do jobs for me!

  3. I'll help my mom or The Geek, but I've only helped a couple of other friends; one was a quick 5 minutes I did while we talked. Now if people ask, I smile and tell them I don't mend my own clothes (because I'd rather start over) and it would be faster if they took it elsewhere. And we have lots of those places here in town.

  4. "if I just bring you fabric- you could just make me a ____ like that one _____has'
    Because these are usually friends, I hate to just flat out say-
    'you will buy too little yardage of a crap fabric not understanding what is needed, plus- you don't look like Olivia Wilde, so don't blame me- my Singer doesn't have the voodoo foot attachment?!'

  5. I shared your post to my Facebook because this is what happens to me a lot, and I find it irritating. Sewing is my creative outlet, and although I find it relaxing, it can also be intensely painful and backbreaking. I'm working on a shirt for my husband right now (he didn't ask, I offered. I want to build up my skills), and because I was working with a few new to me techniques, the muslin took a lot of work. And my back was sore for a few days as a result. I'm 28 weeks pregnant, sewing is more painful than it used to be! If I want to make you something, I will. But realistically, I am sewing for me and my family at most. This isn't my profession, it's my hobby, and I want it to stay that way. At least for now.


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