February 3, 2011

Please Be Kind to Your Seamstress

Posted in Random at 8:06 pm by sewknotwrite

While watching an episode of “Say Yes to the Dress” recently, I was appalled at the way a bride was treating the seamstress in the fittings department.  As a seamstress, this really riled me up and boiled my blood…BIG TIME!  I understand that every bride wants their dress to be “perfect”, especially when they’re spending thousands of dollars, but at the end of the day, a seamstress is a seamstress and not a miracle worker.  We can only do so much.

So, I thought I would give you a few tips from the perspective of a seamstress when it comes to fittings.

  1. Wear the appropriate undergarments! From your Spanx to your bra, all of these under pieces will affect the way the fabric falls on your body.
  2. Wear your shoes!…or something of a similar height.  I once had a bride show up to fittings twice with shoes that were nowhere near the same height as the shoes she was planning on wearing at her wedding.  This meant I had to completely guesstimate the appropriate amount to hem the dress.  Luckily, I ended up getting it right.
  3. Wait until you lose the weight. Planning on shedding some pounds?  Wait until as late as possible for your fittings…but not too late :).  I know it’s sooooooo tempting to “get it done now”, but if you’re planning on losing, plan on waiting.
  4. Sometimes alterations are pricey. They just are.  So many factors can make the price of hemming, taking in, bustling and such skyrocket.  If you have a lacy, beaded gown you will pay more than someone who has just plain satin.
  5. We want to make you look good, SERIOUSLY! As an independent seamstress, most of our work comes from word of mouth so we will do the best job that is humanly possible to make you look beautiful on your big day.  We are on your side.
  6. We can’t make miracles happen, but we’ll do the best we can. This goes hand in hand with #3.  Sometimes brides ask a seamstress to alter their dresses in ways that are just not possible due to the structural nature of the dress.  Listen to your seamstress.  She knows what she’s talking about.  If you want a sweetheart neckline and your dress can’t be modified that way, try to find a good compromise.  Any seamstress worth her salt will do the best she can to get you what you want.
  7. 1/8″ is realllllllly tiny. I have run into this at my day job and working with brides where I am asked if I can take something in 1/8″.  Then, I get out a ruler and show them what that looks like and I always get the same reaction.  “Oh, that’s really tiny.”  Yep.  Believe me ladies, come the middle of the wedding extravaganza you will be glad you have that tiny extra room so you can eat all that fantastic food or breathe while you cut a rug on the dance floor.  We’ll take in as much as we can to make you look skinny and awesome, but we can only go so far.
  8. Play nice. Seamstresses are hard working folk who rarely get paid what they’re worth and we put up with a lot!  A colleague of mine quite her alterations job at a bridal salon because she couldn’t deal with the way she was treated by brides.  Most people take for granted the amount of skill and time it takes to sew and alter a garment.  Sometimes altering is more complicated than making the actual gown.  We know you are stressed out, strung out and emotional, but please don’t take it out on us.  Positive energy gets positive results.  I know I am usually more willing to go above and beyond for a client who listens, communicates and appreciates what I do then I am for a cranky, pushy, bitchy client.

I know this post may ruffle some feathers, but I really wanted people to know what it’s like from the point of view of someone in the business.

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