Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Don't Cheap OUt On Your Seamstress

Save your local seamstress population before they all leave or give up. I recent got back into making and designing clothes after 12 months break because of people clients cheaping out on me. I lost my love of clothes and I think I actually lost my mind for a while. The last few months I've renewed my inspiration and my studio and stores are stocked. Yesterday I get request for a freebee custom complicated dancer's costume, and it really brought my inspiration levels down. I'd just spent 2 days volunteer teaching an artist's group to help them understand recycled fabrics and reconstructed clothing as sculpture. Good sewers are very, very, very rare, because sewing is a dying art. Fashion designers have trouble finding sewers, even if they pay a decent rate.  Cheap clothes from places such as China have make people forget what a quality garment is and how much work there is in creating it. America used to be respected for it's quality fashion and folks around the world pay a premium for it. A custom jacket or Edwardian gown or prom gown from scratch, pattern and everything takes at least 2 weeks with a machine and 40 days or more if 100% hand stitched.  To remake a pair of vintage stretch skinny pants from a medium size pattern up to a 24 inch waist with custom hip fit takes a week. My own students get overwhelmed sometimes, plus each garment needs at least 3 fittings to get the fit right.  The gown or jacket will cost at least $600 for time and the pants 350 at $8.85 or less per hour at 40 hours per week, not including materials.  Do you work for $8.75 or less per hour? I don't think so.  So if you cheap out on your local seamstress you can now understand why she won't sew for you or anybody anymore. I’ve talked to many talented seamstresses who will no longer sew for other people because clients have cheaped out or are rude.  Preserve your relationship with your seamstress and you will have a supply of seamstresses and the art not die out in your area. Pay your seamstresses extra and send them as much business as you can, in return you will have clothes and furnishings worth many times longer and lasting many times more and way more comfortable and good looking than store or web bought. Also don't ask a seamstresses or indie designer for freebees or discounts, they genuinely can't afford it, most of us barely cover costs. And yes we really do bleed and it really does hurt when a needle or pin goes in our finger every day. 
And we do have hissy fits at times;-)

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