Summer’s almost over, what I’ve been up to (obviously not posting!)

I’ve just realized that I’ve really only posted a couple of times this summer. How is that possible. I’ve had a running blog post going on in my head it seems like constantly. Summer is so chaotically insane around here. I’m 34, my kids are 4, 6, and 8. Between swimming lessons, trips to the mall (air conditioned, our house is not…welcome to Colorado Springs), neighborhood kids trucking in and out the door, peanut butter sandwiches, playgroup, and some strange virus that just won’t leave our house…there apparently hasn’t been much time to post.

School starts Monday. (wait, I have to get up and do a little dance…o.k., I’m back) I can’t wait to get back into the regular routine again, especially my sewing routine.

I’ve had a series of professional dissappointments lately. I’ve been searching for contract sewing work. I’ve done this in the past. It can be somewhat tedious, but I consider it like wholesaling. It’s a larger amount of cash for less effort in advertising.

First, a children’s wear designer in Houston contracted me to work for her. She sent me an extremely vague sketch that my 8 year old could have improved upon, asked me to just “interpret” the design. I asked her a million questions and she continually said “just do what you think is best”. So I sent her the finished top:

This is a really bad picture, I don’t have a child size dress form. Anyway, when I sent it back to her, she was EXTREMELY angry that I used 1 1/2″ ruffles instead of 2″, that the skirt portion was 14″ instead of 12″, etc., etc. She also said my sewing skills were sub-par and refused to pay me for either the design work or the sample sewing, or any of the notions I used. Lesson learned. Contract sewing= contract in writing first.

Next, I had a local company contact me about making re-usable menstal pads for them. Yes, very strange indeed. We had an initial meeting and everything sounded like it would run smoothly. They were a start-up company and I even gave them quite a bit of advise and access to local networking avenues that they didn’t know about. Then I told them I would charge $20 per hour. They completely freaked out and backed out of the deal. I’m not a sweat-shop. I really don’t know what they were expecting.

Next (yes, it just keeps going) I was in contact with a western wear company that made shirts for equestrian shows. She was also a bit of a start-up company (she had been producing small scale locally, but was looking to launch into the national market). She sent me to web sites that were selling $800 shirts and asked if I could duplicate them. She sent me some sample fabric and her pay scale.

Well, you can’t see the details very well, but it’s a very basic top. The problem is that it’s an extremely stretch knit. She didn’t want the front zipper opening or the underlining for the collar or cuffs interfaced. AND she insisted that the seams NOT be serged. Really? Amazingly, I ended up spending 2 1/2 hours making this top. I’m really not for sure how that happened, but there it is. I think I spent more time working on it b/c it wasn’t properly interfaced. It had little sparkles all over it and I spent at least 30 minutes cleaning that up out of my studio. Then I looked at her pay scale. 10 bucks. (stunned silence)

She sent me another shirt as a sample and the craftsmanship on that was about the worst sewing job I’ve ever seen. …and I’ve taught beginners. Here’s a portion of the hem on her sample:

I really just can’t be involved with a company that is not going to attempt to be professional. She seems like such a nice person and I wish her well, but I just can’t do the work for the amount of money she’s willing to pay. I’ve had a bit of a family emergency going on and really won’t be able to do anything other than the work I’ve already got scheduled through sept, so I’ve pleaded off working for her.

Lastly, I’ve had a bit of some success. A woman from Gunnison, Colorado contacted me about doing some design work for her. She’s wanting to make hunting apparel for women. She’s an avid hunter herself (as well as her young daughter) and has limited sucess finding clothing to fit while she’s hunting. She really sounds on top of her game as far as what it takes to start a company and I’m really looking forward to working with her. I’ll let you know how that’s going as we go along.

I’ve also be doing massive alterations. Ugh. I hate alterations. I remade a bridesmaid dress for my babysitter. It’s strapless. She’s a size 6 and a 34F bust.

Here it is…like a monster with it’s fangs laid open, ready to eat me. Such cheap fabric. I hate alterations.

I’ve also had several contacts about bridal sewing lately. This is actually my chosen profession. I love making bridal gowns. Pardon my saying so, but I’m very good at it as well. I offer my clients quite a bit as far as services. I source fabric for them, often purchase it for them. I purchase everything else for them (thread, zippers, buttons, interfacing, lining, coutil, spriral steel boning). I do all the patternmaking for them, often working just from a picture. I do a full toille to work out all the details. I make a full corset interlining of coutil and spiral steel boning.

I usually spend about 1/2 hour on the phone with these people educating them on what I can offer them. 75%-80% of them never call back. That is so frustrating. It all seems to hinge on price. I really feel that I’m extremely reasonable. Apparently they do not. I’m working on a website that will hopefully do most of the educating for me. We’ll see how that goes.

Hopefully, I’m back to posting regularly again. I really enjoy reading everyone else’s posts about current projects and use-ful gadgets. I’d like to contribute something to the greater creative sewing community out there, even if it’s just a little something.

Happy Sewing!


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