Paying the Bills

Some times you just have to buckle down and do the work that pays the bills.  Not too much “fun” sewing lately.  There is just no getting around the fact that summer time is the very best time to make an income from bridal alterations.  That is just the way it is.  People like to get married when the sun is shining.

Even though I have been doing more of my usual work lately, it is still no where near what my normal work load has been like in recent years.  Instead of cranking out 25-30 dresses a week I am down to 3 or 4 dresses a week.  You would think with that kind of drastic cut back I would have tons of free time!  Some how things never quite work out that way:-/

I did want to share the one commission project I just finished up.  This is one of those projects I took on simply because I love the customer.  The job isn’t one I would ever want to do on a large scale, regular basis.  This man’s wife has been a favorite customer of mine almost from the day I opened my shop.  She has come to me for several unique and fun custom projects over the years.

A couple of years after I started doing work for her, he came to me with a request to make some custom shirts.  He has the misfortune of being allergic/sensitive to polyester and other synthetic fibers.  Finding natural fiber shirts in the particular styles he likes was proving extremely difficult for him.  He had, in fact, previously purchased specialty, hand made shirts but the company who made them was no longer in business.  So he came to me to see if I could replicate the shirt.

Now, I really don’t like making menswear.  But I really, really like these customers.  So I’m made the shirts.  Then I made another style a year or so later.  The most recent shirt is a replica of his favorite safari shirt.  Of course I completely forgot about taking pictures of it before I ripped it apart to make the pattern.

So this is the finished product.


I made a total of three shirts.  This one and two in a lighter beige.  I purchased 2 yards of fabric exactly for each shirt, yet somehow I ended up about 3″ short of this khaki color.  You can kind of see the shoulder tabs in this picture.  The one I actually have on the right is from the original, I just put it on there to make sure it fit o.k.  But I am so mad, I am short the amount of fabric to make those silly tabs!

Oh well.  I have to go back to the fabric store anyway.  I am also short 4 buttons – grrrrrr!  I knew I was short on the buttons, at least.  I guess no one is supposed to need more than 6 to 8 buttons at a time because that is all the stores keep on hand.  I lucked out and managed to get 22 of the 26 buttons I needed in my first trip.  I discovered that it is also incredibly difficult to find buttons in the store that are appropriate for menswear.  Apparently no one makes things for men?

Now I have one bridesmaid dress and two wedding gowns to get done this up coming week.  Maybe a little bit of fun sewing in there?!  I am hoping.  But it sure is nice to get the bill paid too.


2 thoughts on “Paying the Bills

  1. Really beautiful looking shirt. I sympathize with the “paying the bills” problem. So much nicer to just use your talents for creative endeavors that are fun!

  2. Thanks Kim! I actually didn’t mind the shirts as much as the alterations. After 10 years of non stop bridal alterations I am burned out and ready to move on to more creative work. It is really hard to break the work pattern habits that are formed over that long of time though!

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