Friday, November 7, 2008

Friday Confession

Hanging out a shingle...


I bet every one of us has thought of this at one time or another. Wouldn't it be great if I could quit my day job and just sew all day long? Hmmm... If only I could get paid for it...

So, would it be great? Or would it end up being an unending stream of hemming pants and sewing on buttons (the dreaded "mending" masquerading as sewing), and sewing up hideous outfits in garish, uncooperative fabrics for demanding and unappreciative clients on ridiculously tight deadlines? In other words, would it just be another day job? ;)

So, what do you think? Have you ever, or do you now, take on sewing jobs? Or worked full-time as a professional seamstress? If so, what is it like? If not, is it something that you dream of doing someday? Any and all stories and dreams welcome! :)

13 comments:

toni said...

I did it quite a bit in college, but only for certain people. Then my clients were male friends who wanted to be stylish and different from their peers. But after a few bad experiences over the years, I no longer sew for money. It somehow takes the fun out of it and I always make more mistakes.

Sarah said...

I am in college now and do it quite a bit...I work at a mostly-bridal alterations store that has, with some other influences, made me decide to make my wedding dress because we see the same ones, and I work in the theatre costume shop, which has helped me to learn.
I have to confess, it helps creatively but makes it harder than ever to find time. All of the ideas float around, but hardly have time to come to fruition.... so it's a win-win for me, I think because the people I sew with have taught me so much... even though I have sewn for 12 years, I am still learning.

Sarah

Becky said...

I've done one paid sewing job, for a friend who requested I make some capes as Christmas gifts for her son, niece and nephews last year. So I don't mind the occasional paid job. I don't think I'd want to do it on a regular basis, though--I know from my experience with working in the music world that doing it as job often really does take the enjoyment out of something. I have to remind myself on a fairly regular basis that I do enjoy playing the flute, especially when I'm practicing with nothing to perform for even on the radar. So I don't want my crafting to become the same sort of thing. I've toyed on and off with an Etsy shop for years, and keep going back to not doing it, because the thought of sewing with the pressure of wanting people to buy the end result just takes a lot of the fun out of it for me. Maybe some day I'll end up doing it, who knows, but for now, I'm content to just let my hobby be a hobby and get the enjoyment of making for other people out of making gifts.

Lisa Laree said...

I've thought about it, certainly. But the thought of all the government paperwork...business permits, taxes, etc...overwhelms me. But to charge what my time is honestly worth, I think it would need to be a legitimate business.

So far, my 'sewing for others' has been either outright gifts on my part or a trade of some sort (sewing for home-grown veggies, for instance)

I'm not counting all the volunteer sewing I've done for church and school; that's a whole 'nuther thing...

mamafitz said...

i used to work as a dressmaker. i worked at couture fabrics in scottsdale, AZ (now closed. o_o). i sewed for 8 hours a day, and loved it. we made just about everything. sometimes we got a difficult client, but the good ones far far outweighed the bad, and the bad ones usually didn't stay long.

once i started having kids, i stopped taking in work. as my kids get older, i take in more, and have a few regular clients, but i keep it pretty low key, and on my terms. right now i do hemming for a suzuki violin studio, and i occasionally build costumes for a local theatre.

Summerset said...

I have sewn for others for pay and I've think I've seen just about everything, the good, the bad and most definitely the ugly. Certain aspects definitely are not fun - hemming the millionth pair of men's pants or shortening lined jacket sleeves, again. Certain former customers were the sort to bring me some of the worst stuff and expect me to fix it. You can't always make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. On the other hand, I've had some wonderful clients - they've brought me designer clothes and had reasonable expectations and paid me more than I asked for. I only sew for others as a little side business for extra cash, right now my clients are few, but dance competition season is right around the corner!

Joanne said...

Wow, interesting topic going on here. Like any passion, once you "have" to do it, does some of the shine wear off? How about if you control the endeavor, starting slow and on your terms, what you'll do and what not. Kind of like a test-market. Or if you come at the idea from a really unique angle (one you love) people are intrigued and come to your business?

Alison said...

I once sewed a couple of dresses for my Avon lady and I will never ever do it again! I think it's the combination of a dead-line plus no motivation plus the item was just not my style. There's no way I could sew for a living. I'd be a pauper LOL.

Miss Linda said...

I sew just for the pleasure of it. It is so wonderful to come home after work, step into my little sewing room, and spend some peaceful time with needle, thread and lovely material. All the cares of the day just seem to melt away with the quiet hum of the sewing machine. Gwen, I do hope you're doing well! I really enjoy your blog!

TIFFANY said...

Hey aunt Gwen just came to post a comment and i can't wate till Christmas so see you soon.

Claire S. said...

Yup, not going there again ! I've taken, finished and been disappointed in the whole experience of my one and only paying job ! Someone at work told a colleague I sew. He came to me with 3 panels of fabric to be hemmed on 3 sides for curtains. Simple ? Nope ! Very particular about what and how he wanted it done (straight seams, for Pete's sake) Anyway, all 3 were done, THEN he brings one more to do...okay. So, 2 weeks later he tells me his wife took them apart and made roman shades out of them - she can make roman shades, but can't sew side seams ? If I was him, I wouldn't have told me.

AmeliaSews said...

I have my shingle hung and I really have mixed feelings about it. I really enjoy that I get to meet a lot of people in a new town. I have had some fun projects and great clients. I wish they put better zippers in camoflauge jackets because I am REALLY tired of replacing them. I can hem jeans in my sleep. I want, however to find more discriminating clients who care about how their clothes fit and not just that they don't drag on the ground. How do I do that? I have a couple of repeat customers who fit the bill. They keep me going through the hems and zippers. I am not sure how or where to promote myself to get a more discriminating clientele.

Claire said...

I don't take on paid sewing. I don't mend either unless driven to it by necessity. ;o) (ask my poor DH) I've had family members or friends try to get me to mend and I side-step very quickly. I like doing favors for people, but I refuse to become, "the tailor charges too much and we know you sew..."