It seems when people know you have a sewing machine they think that you want to do their mending, alterations and hemming. I can’t tell you how many times I have been asked to repair or rework someone’s clothing. I almost always tell folks no I can’t do their little job.
I have been sewing in some form for as long as I can remember. I am not exactly sure when I started, but I know by the time I had my first home ec class in junior high school that the first project, an apron made out of a quarter-inch checked fabric, was too simple for my skill set. There were girls who must have tore their seams out ten times. The whole concept was new to them. I was done several classes before the other girls in my class. So I was expected to not only sew an apron but embellish it with embroidery. Over the years I have made clothing, quilts, curtains, slipcovers and about everything in between. I like to sew. I have always had a place to sew and a nice machine. That being said I hate rework…mending…alterations…hemming.
I have been short with a non-standard body all my life. When it comes to store-bought clothing nothing fits off the rack. When I worked a corporate job, all my clothing went directly from the department store to the lady who had a shop that did alterations. She hemmed the sleeves of my jackets, linings and all. She not only hemmed my pants and skirts, but reworked the waist band because my hour glass shape was not what standard clothing manufactures expected, my bottom was way too big for my waist. This woman was priceless to me and though I had a sewing machine, she did what I could not. My tailor’s skill was an art; she made my clothes fit properly and they did not look re-made. I valued her more than I did my hair stylist. There were many more stylist to pick from than tailors. I don’t have many tailor clothes any more, but when I put them on I do miss that perfect fit that she gave me.
Now I am getting ready for my new job that puts me out in the field. I will be wearing cotton jeans every day. I have been scouring thrift stores for new jeans (I don’t want low rise or big legs for work). I have already hemmed four pair and this morning I just cut off excess fabric on four more pair that I will hem today. I still don’t like hemming but I am managing to get through the process. I am not however adjusting my waist bands, I just plan to cinch that belt a little tighter.
It all has made me reflect a little about that tailor with her little shop back in Minnesota. I had not thought about her in a long time. She was part of a dieing occupation, like so many others like shoe repair, small engine repair and others. It makes me sad when I think about it. I bet there are lots of folks who wish they could make a living at those things, but in our changing society it just doesn’t seem possible any more.