As a textile artist and seamstress, meeting the needs for clients, I was able to work with some amazing people this week who needed some emergency alteration needs. To be honest, I prefer the creative aspect of my sewing work, but I also love seeing clients leave with a smile on their face and sigh of relief with the burden of stress removed from their shoulders.
This week, I encountered a business man who normally does not wear dress pants to work, due to the casual nature of his business, where he needed to have a new pair of dress slacks hemmed for a friends cruise ship wedding; a service man needing his dress blues taken out for this weekends ceremony to honor a man who died in WWII and recently found; and a bride who returned home from college to prep for her upcoming wedding for this weekend, discovering that the alterations done in December did not provide the necessary crisp, fit look, a bride needs in order to walk down the aisle with a glow in her smile without concern for her dress.
It was an interesting week. As some know, I had to shut things down a few years ago due to Lyme disease, and more recently found my passion for sewing more alive than previously experienced. With that passion, and renewing of my health (although Lyme disease will always be a battle of balance with nutrition and continued medical support), I was able to provide three people with a solution to their emergency needs.
Each of these individuals did not wait until the last minute in calling me, but rather were responding to something they were not expecting.
- New slacks that were not hemmed: You see, when men order/purchased their jeans and work slacks to size, typically hem work is not even a consideration, because they purchase according to their waist and inseam. Yet, with dress pants, they arrive with an extra amount of sometimes 6-8” depending on the height of the man. So, it was a surprise, one week before the wedding that he needed help, quickly.
- Military alteration: I am not fond of altering uniforms, as they are an item that is quite expensive for the service person, but are also ordered to size. But, after the men/women return and not in active duty, things can happen, like waistline expansion. This young man arrived fit, yet even a few pounds, due to less physical activity, left him with pants that were a tad bit “tight” and uncomfortable for him. Even for me as a seamstress, I immediately saw that new slacks were in order, but there was not sufficient time to accomplish the order then application of stripes. Unfortunately, I was left with only one area in which I could let these slacks out, and it wasn’t enough, but could provide him with more comfort, as well as dignity in wearing his uniform with pride.
- A bride, four days before her wedding, fortunately tried on her dress when she returned home from college. The tears on the phone broke my heart, yet in speaking with her, it was not a full-fledge bridal alteration. I asked her to send me some photos so that I could see what I would be working with, but also provide her with a ballpark estimate of what the labor would entail. I was grateful, that when she arrived, I did not need to do all that I thought would need to be done, reducing the financial strain, but also allowing me the necessary time to get the work done for her.
Sure, these “rush” needs were inconvenient of my time and what I already had on my schedule to accomplish for my repurposing textile art, but more importantly, these requests came from honest and kind individuals who were transparent and accepting that I might not be able to meet their needs on short notice.
Serving these three individuals did something for me, beyond the payment for my time and service, but fulfilling a need we all have within us, of giving our best regardless of the inconvenience. The appreciation they gave in return for the 24-hour turn-around, via the handshakes and warm hugs, were the bonus to my week. Would each of these individuals have survived? Sure. Even the brides mother said if I could not have helped, she would have resorted to duct tape and staples (YIKES!!), the military gentleman would have still walked with pride as his jacket hid his discomfort, and the business man would have hopefully found another seamstress (or not). But the point is, that even though they were not life/death situations, they were things I had a solution for while meeting their needs while reducing their stress.
As I made changes to my sewing services, I created a schedule that allows my passion of creativity and working with people, while also meeting my needs for a healthy balance while fighting this disease, making time for family, my husband, gardening and writing. In doing so, it gives me great joy and a sense of wellness, while others receive a part of me through my skills that are a gift from God, and my prayers for them as individuals whether as recipients of my alteration/mending services or from the products I create for purchase.
Putting thread to fabric,
Laura of Davina Dawn Sewing Specialties