If you sew, you’ve been there.
The same reactions, responses, and requests you get when someone finds out that you sew.
We know that everyone means well…
There are some things we’d rather not hear for the umpteenth time.
Am I right?
So here are 6 things never to say to someone who sews, and our mental responses that we would never say out loud:
1. I have a pair of pants I need hemmed…how much would you charge me?
Mental thought: Not enough.
OK, this might be fine if you’re talking to a tailor, or a friend who does lots of alterations in general. But most of us who sew either as a hobby or as a business – if we’re not tailors – would rather not hem. Or even get paid to do it. Because while it could take a tailor a short amount of time to complete the job, it will take someone like me longer, since we don’t do it all the time. And we’ll feel like we need to charge less than the tailor. Besides, it will get in the way of all the fun stuff we’d rather be sewing, or our time for fabric petting, or our time to dream about our next project. You get the drift. I keep the name of my favorite tailor in my mind at all times, just for this question.
2. Sewing? I didn’t know anyone did that anymore.
Yeah, I’m old fashioned. When I’m not sewing I’m churning butter in the backyard and cleaning my clothes on a washboard in the basement.
Crafting is a $30 billion industry in this country, and dedicated quilters – those who head to their machines several times a week – spent $2.5 billion on their hobby in 2010. I suppose many people no longer sew for necessity, but many people sew. Still. Even after all.these.years. It’s pretty big.
3. Can you make me (such and such)? I’ll bring over the fabric, and all you’d have to do is sew it up.
Because the fabric is usually inexpensive compared with our time, and often you won’t know which fabric will work best for the project. And for those who offer to pay for our time (and friends usually do, thankfully) … don’t be shocked to find out that it might take 10 hours to sew and that the cost is more than you expected. You wouldn’t ask your accountant friend to do your taxes for $3 an hour, right?
4. Because you sew, I gave your name to The Committee so you can make 55 Bible covers. Someone will be calling you soon!
Holy Mother of God, really? How on earth will I find the time to do that?
So it doesn’t have to be Bible covers…but you get the picture. Maybe we want to give our time and talent for worthy projects. But please don’t volunteer us! We might be completely overbooked with other projects, or our family schedules, and can’t do it…and now we’re in the awkward position of having to say no. If we’ve heard of the project but didn’t volunteer ourselves….there might be a reason.
5. Did you make that? You’re so talented! You could make a ton of money selling those! You need to start a business, and then do craft shows, or start a website, and I’ll tell all my friends….
Sadly, you don’t have nearly enough friends to keep me in business. And people who go to craft shows like to think they can “make it themselves,” study my work, and walk away without buying.
I know this is totally well-meaning. And your comments are very kind and flattering to us! But most of us who sew have, at one time or another, either tried to make a business of selling our wares, or we’re already making money another way – in a sewing-related field or not. Selling finished products is tough work and requires a lot of time, energy, dedication, and stick-to-it-ivness. Online selling requires learning photography skills and social media strategies. Craft-show selling requires lots of weekends away and bulk creating. Selling to boutiques requires pricing, marketing, and sales skills. If we’re not already selling finished sewn products, there’s likely a reason why.
6. I’d be so honored if you’d sew my wedding dress.
Have you heard of Bridezilla?
I asked this of my own mom before I sewed. And she said no, and now I get it. Most of us aren’t couture seamstresses and it’s a lot of work, and pressure, to sew something as special as a wedding gown. We might not even really know what to do with all of those fancy fabrics! If you’re rich, call Georgina Chapman of Marchesa. Otherwise…head over to your local bridal shop. I’m sure you’ll find a style that’s stunning for you.
So – what reactions have you had when people find out you sew? And when you need to say “no…” are you able to do it? Or do you say “yes” and then resent it? I’d love to hear your stories!
Deanna McCool writes for sewmccool.com. If you enjoyed this post, you’ll enjoy reading this post about why the word “modern” should be banned from our sewing vocabulary. To make sure you don’t miss a post, please follow SewMcCool by e-mail (the link is at the top of the right-hand column) or join me on BlogLovin’ – the button is just below the e-mail feed box!