Occasionally I receive e-mail from readers about a variety of things as they relate to sewing. A few weeks ago Elaray asked me about sewing for other people and how do I manage the stress that comes with it?
Here's her note to me:
Your post, in which you described all of your responsibilities, made me think. You sew for other people, proms & weddings in particular, and you sew for yourself. The reason I give for not sewing for hire is sewing for someone else would be just another source of stress. Do you still find relaxation and joy in sewing for yourself? Is it less relaxing when you are sewing for hire? Are your clients too demanding because they are paying you? Obviously, if I think of clients as "too demanding". I don't have the personality to sew for profit! But, I am curious about how you can have the same activity for fun … and for profit. -- Elaray
Good afternoon Elaray,
You are absolutely right about the amount of stress related to sewing for others. The pressure is on each time I take a commission. If you are like me, you think about: are my skills good enough for pay? Will they be pleased with the results? Are the seams straight enough? Is the fit right? Can I finish on time? All of these questions enter my mine. To help combat some of the stress, I only take a few commissions. Most are regulars from church and work, a few family related clients. I'm very methodical in how I organize my client projects. At the beginning of the year, I gave notice to those interested telling them that I would only take a select number of jobs this year. After I reached my quota, I will not accept anymore. I discuss deadline dates, information about the garment to be made (occasion, style, etc.), pay and pattern(s). Because I need time to sew for me and DD.
When I sew for myself or DD, there is virtually no stress. It's the best. Some clients can be too demanding and very unpleasant. If a client is overly difficult, it's a one time deal. Sometimes, people want the "perfect look" that is not "perfect" for their body structure. Over the years, I have become very selective about what type of jobs I'm willing to take. Being careful not to stress myself too much. In that, I decline some projects. I will tell them, "I'm sorry that will require much more time and a higher skill set than I currently have. May I recommend: (I know a few people that sew and may be willing to do the job.)?"
I understand your statement about having the "personality" to sew for people. You have to a keen sense of "customer service". I love the interaction especially with young people. They are so creative and energetic in most cases. Often clients give me opportunities to try out a new technique and/or test my skills. That's good for me. Lately, I have been thinking about making some accessories to sell. People love the things that I crochet. I've also sewn a few scarves, purses, belts, etc., that people have begging me for. This approach to client sewing will totally eliminate stress. Because I can make up several items and sale them as is.
I hope this answers your questions. Thanks for asking. Please feel free to ask other questions. I think these are questions other people might have as well. ..,
How do you feel about sewing for other people?