(inspired by this piece of awesomeness that I saw on the internets)
Do you guys have this problem? I sew quite a bit, for myself and for my daughters, and I have a sewing business making specialty items for which I am fairly well compensated (not a gazillionaire by any stretch – but I make enough to keep me in fabric and vintage patterns). Most people who know me socially know that I sew – which means that I am always fending off the Inevitable Question. Can you hem my pants for me? Can you make curtains for my great room windows? Can you copy this item that I saw online but for 1/3rd the price? Can you make me a dress for an event I’m attending next week?
Can I? Probably yes. Do I want to? NO.
Oftentimes, what is being asked of me is either something I don’t know how to do – I have no idea how to do most alterations – or something that just doesn’t interest me – I made curtains for my house and it bored me to tears, it was just one big rectangle after another. And I feel like oftentimes what people want is to have a professional job done by a non-professional for a third the price – but I know what my time is worth (having a sewing business has given me a lot more confidence in assigning a monetary value to my time) and it WOULDN’T be cheaper.
But these are (usually) my friends doing the asking, so I am too polite to tell them off – I usually mumble some excuse about being busy with current projects and then slink away. I have done custom sewing for friends, but only if it’s a project that interests ME. “Will you add sleeves to my sleeveless dress?” The answer is no, sorry, ask your dry-cleaner who they recommend. “Will you make me an authentic 1944 dress for my community theater group?” Will I?!
You bet your Victory Roll I will.
So I have sort of a compound question for you guys: Are you constantly fending off requests for sewing projects you really don’t want to do? Do you accept anyway – out of guilt or whatever – and then hate the project the whole time you’re doing it? Or do you say no and feel like a jerk? Is there a way to say no without feeling like a jerk? And when you sew for others, is a good way to let them know that you will be fairly compensated for your time even if they are a friend? Sometimes I feel like I ought to gather business cards for alteration and repair places and then just start handing them out…
And sorry for the rambly post! I do have two vintage dresses in the works – a 1956 and a ’61 – that I will share with you all as soon as I have photographs!