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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Last Day....goal not set upset customers and alterations woes

Wow. I'm tired more like exhausted maybe even a little burnt out. I love to sew but right now I would love NOT to sew. I am two dresses short. I didn't make my goal. I have 19 dresses for May including the two that didn't get done. I am also supposed to get two skirts and a couple of dresses done for some professional photos. I think that will have to wait.

On a good and bad note, I don't have to alter the purple dress. She is just going to return it. She had offered to keep it if I gave her a partical refund of $50.00 to cover the expenses of alterations, but I would still have to add more tulle to the petticoat. I only charged $120.00 for the dress and petticoat. The fabric was $16.00 a yard! Times that by 3 1/2 yards. Not to mention the lining for the petticoat and tulle. I stood my ground on this. I told her there was no way I could do that, and she could return the dress per my polices. I do offer refunds minus 25% to at least cover some of the fabric I purchased. Of course the flaws come out the skirt is uneven, even though when she puts it on it doesn't look uneven. They took out a measuring stick. I told if I measure it and the side seams are uneven I will refund her and not take the 25% or I could send her $30.00 (the 25%) and she could keep the dress and petticoat. She didn't reply so I'm assuming it is being returned. Honestly I'm just happy not to have to alter it. Read on....

Out of the six blue bridesmaid dresses I've only heard from one lady. First she said it didn't fit...said it stayed on but it was still too big. I told her to pin it and send it back and I would take it in. Then I get another message from her and it seems that it isn't really the fit but that she just doesn't like the style of the dress on her. The skirt is too full, it makes her hips look big. Needs to be taken in because it makes her belly look big. I used a universal skirt, meaning except for the length they are all identical. Not a huge amount of fabric or gathering. If you missed out on these dresses click here. They were close enough in size to do this. If it were a issue of too full of skirt the smallest of the girls would of have had the problem of the skirt being too full or too much fabric as she put it. At first I was worried that the larger girls would not have enough gather, but in the end they all looked the same. I guess not with one. I mixed and matched patterns and the pattern itself did not have different sizes. All pieces were the same for all sizes. None of the girls were over a size 14 in pattern sizes.

When I offer to alter a garment it is to size it does not mean to change my design. My brother says I need to watch a show called "Say Yes to That Dress" and I should be more like the designers on there. He says I'm too nice. I'm going to watch it and see what is up. As my fellow seamstresses know there is a lot of work to alter even if it is your own work. Lots to take apart especially if everything is serged. For the blue dresses all visible seams were Frenched seamed. The bodice though...boning, serged and straight stitch. All I can do is take it in for her. I can't change the design...there are 5 others out there. Plus this is the order that I purchased and cut six dresses with a lighter blue fabric and had to redo because the bride said it was a shade too light. How much do I give here?

I think I'm just overwelmed and tired. I love my customers and want to do right by everyone but where do you set your limits?


  1. Wow, that sounds exhausting! I think the rough part of selling clothes (custom), is that you will have people who are not happy with how something looks/fits on them. That's why I'm scared to buy clothes online - for fear that I won't like it or it will fit bad on me.

    I can understand wanting to do what you can to make a customer happy, but how many times are you having customers ask for alterations. Part of me feels if someone wants something altered, taken in, shortened, etc. I would charge. I can't tell if you are charging extra for that.

    I think you gotta draw the line at some point.

  2. From the perspective of a hopefully future customer of yours, I would say it sounds like some of these customers are taking advantage of your niceness. If the one bridesmaid doesn't like the style of the dress, she should take that up with the bride and not you. Even the best-fitting dress won't look good on everyone's body. Those blue bridesmaid dresses were super cute, btw!
    Also, I think you are totally right in saying that alterations should not include style changes. It's really nice of you to offer alterations, but I think it's more than reasonable for you to charge if it's more than a sizing issue.
    anyway, hope all of the fun puppy activity cheers you up! :) Sounds like you are doing awesome despite all of the customer drama.

  3. Firstly, I can't believe you managed to get that many dresses done in a month, I barely manage one! Also I agree with Karen, if a bridesmaid doesn't like the style of the dress that is not your problem, she should have taken it up with the bride. Even if you did alter it, it might make it look too different from the other dresses and then she will be odd one out and I doubt the bride will like that. I would say maybe contact the bride and ask if she is happy with them first. I think they are beautiful.

  4. I appreciate all of your perspectives on this and I was afraid to hit post thinking it may come off kind of harsh and I hope that I have not offended or scared off anyone. Sometimes when I post things I notice that I lose a one of my few followers and I wonder was it something I said?

    I do believe there is good and bad sewing clothing for others and it can’t always be good. I’m just sharing my experiences and am grateful that 98% are good.

    sorbet: get sewing. After this month my schedule is thinner and I'm going to keep it that way. The only sun light I see is through a window right now.

  5. I have done a fair amount of sewing for others, but only when they are local and they can try the dress on during construction. I honestly don't know if I would ever attempt to sew for someone with just their measurements as bodies are so different, plus sometimes people just don't measure correctly. Since you seem to have mostly happy customers, I'd say you are doing very well.

    PS - I enjoy reading your blog. I live in Portland so I feel like I must pass you in the local fabric stores sometimes.

  6. Hi Nancy. I am now your first follower of your blog...um better post something now.

    I bet we have crossed paths. Thanks so much for your comments.

  7. Wow, I think some people have a dream dress style they like but the reality is it won’t often fit them because of their shape. I love 50s dress but I have a big butt, so a full tulle skirt, if cut too low is a disaster.