June 4, 2014

The last leg

OK, I'm going to level with you. Normally I try to keep my everyday troubles off the blog but this one has been affecting me for quite a while and it's kind of troubling my sewing as well.

The work situation. As I've mentioned here once before, I've worked as an alteration seamstress for a bridal store for about three years now. In that time, I've worked for two different stores. Or, as I should say, via two stores because technically, I'm self-employed.
I didn't get into this because I felt drawn to it. I took the first and the second position because I didn't manage to find any other work. 
Now, I know sewing for a living may sound good, and a lot of people seem to think it has to be nice to work in bridal fashion. However, it isn't. Not to me. 

Picture this: You're basically doing alterations all the time. For demanding people who want to pay as little as possible and who will nit-pick about the smallest things (and never the ones you're expecting). And even the nicest women get nervous about their wedding dresses which makes them difficult to deal with. And I'm not really a people person.
And it's always crazily busy in spring and early summer and there's no work in November and January. And it's always the same, there's no way to develop what you're doing.

In fact, I'm a fairly intelligent and reasonably well-educated person and I'd love an opportunity to use my brain in my work. 
For quite a while, I've been frustrated and miserable with this job. Back in March/April I decided to quit. Unfortunately, because of the way fittings are planned there is no opportunity to leave with months' notice (you just gotta love the freedom of being your own boss. NOT). I'm finally on the last leg now. Just two more weeks. Only five dresses to finish now.
I'm feeling tired and strung out and I know getting out of this is not solving all my issues with finding work. However, I'm confident I'll get out just in time to make sure I won't get annoyed with sewing itself as a result of this.






23 comments:

  1. I hope the next thing will be better. Of course your an intelligent person, you don't need to tell us. We know that.

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  2. Hobbyists, no matter what the hobby is, often dream of making a living from their hobby. I've never had those feeling for exactly the reasons you presented. Keep your head up. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.

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    1. Yes, and don't lose your love of sewing. It is easy to become disillusioned and to lose your mojo but I am sure that you will find something creative and rewarding very soon. Working in bridal wear is always very stressful but there are better things. :)

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  3. Best of luck with whatever comes next. Please know we're rooting for you!

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  4. Good luck in finding the perfect job for you.

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  5. I completely feel your distress. I worked as a seamstress at a bridal salon for about four months. And it was such a short time because I felt what a thankless, frustrating, and difficult job it was right away. But even in that short amount of time, I felt how much it had enhanced my skills and confidence in sewing. I still work professionally in the sewing industry (opera costumes) and even though I sew all day for work, I love it and still have vigor for personal projects after the work day. With your talents and experience, I feel sure that you would be an asset to any employer and you have my best wishes! I hope you will find something that doesn't compromise the joy of your hobby.

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    1. Snap! I too worked for one "season" in bridal wear - and hated it. However, the skills learnt helped secure my first job in the film industry as wedding dresses have similar construction to period costumes.
      My very best wishes for the future, Lauriana, you'll do great!

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  6. Lauriana, you have phenomenal skills and such a wealth of knowledge, I have no doubt that there is a way for you to do what you love in a way that feeds your soul. I am a self-employed seamstress, and I love the control I get over my work and my schedule. If I am making a wedding gown, I am clear with the bride and myself that I will have it finished and in her closet (and paid) at one month before the wedding date- specifically because I want to avoid that crazy bride-brain that happens to even the even-keeled ones. I also only make a few wedding gowns per year. Mostly I make everything else that people need. I love the variety of my work and the satisfaction of helping people feel happy in their clothes and beautiful in front of my mirrors. And I charge them for it.
    Your knowledge is rare and valuable- Best of luck finding the best way to use it!! -Kimbersew

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  7. Congratulations on prioritizing your happiness. Your next adventure will come along and you'll be in a much better place. Any one who's had a job they hated is cheering for you. (I worked in a sweat shop in Los Angeles - and that was not my worst job!)

    I don't know what you've got planned but I for one would LOVE for you to create some patterns for sale. Wearable vintage influenced styles as pdfs...You've got so much talent!

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  8. Good for you making a difficult decision but one that sounds right for you. I love your blog and, like others, am always super impressed with your pattern drafting and wonderful clothes that you make. Best of luck finding work that better fulfils your creative potential.

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  9. You are so talented and I know you'll find something worthy of your talents! Good luck!

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  10. I wish you good luck! An i hope everything will be fine. I have similar situation - i work as receptionist and i hate it now, because other people sometimes treat me like i'm not as good as director, specialist, or "who are you to say what i have to do?!". I want to quit NOW, but my husband lost job and i can't do this :( So i understand you. Greetings and hugs from Poland <3

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  11. What a nice post. I appreciate your trust in us, your blogger friends, and your sharing your feelings with us. You are an incredibly talented woman, clearly in charge of your life...good things ahead.

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  12. Good for you! I took longer than I should have to leave a job that was sucking the joy out of me. I wish now that I had your bravery and your insight. All the bets of luck.
    -Sewingelle

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  13. Thank you for sharing this with us.

    I completely understand you (and feel for you). I've been in similar situations over the years.
    The sewing job market here in Europe is difficult, and we take what we can. We're often asked to make miracles for cheap. (ironicaly, the persons who can afford alterations are also the ones who don't want to pay too much for it, often because they have no idea of the work that goes into it)
    This drove me a few times to some kind of disgust for sewing, so I have to say it's very courageous and sensible of you to stop it when it's not too late.

    Oh, and you're probably one of the most talented sewing blogger out there.
    And I second Redsilvia for the creation of patterns, you have an amazing flair for fashion.

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  14. Lauriana, You have such a great talent, I'm sure you will succeed in whatever you wish to do! Take your time and think what that is, what area of the sewing "industry" you'd like to be a part of, what is it that you would love doing everyday, and start from there. Or maybe you already know :)

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  15. Best of luck in finding a new job! Don't get discouraged, you have amazing skills and talent!

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  16. I love sewing but I would hate to do alterations day in day out so I can absolutely sympathise. Also, dont think about work after. Think about finishing this with your head held high & let the rest work itself out. I was once in a stressful job, I resigned without thinking about what would happen after I finished but you know, I was blessed with amazing opportunities because I took the leap of faith. I left my job the fri & the following monday my phone was ringing for work so trust your gut, trust that once this door is closed a better one will open...You'll see. :-)

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  17. Good luck! You certainly deserve better things, and I hope many more satisfying opportunities find their way to you before too long.

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  18. I Can imagine how you must feel. Bridal alterations sound terrible. I work in a shop where a lady used to do alterations for ppl out of our shop and she charged far too little, because that's what people expect. They want to pay very little, and come to you with dresses they bought for nothing on eBay fromChina, and you are supposed to make them fit like a glove for under 10 pounds. I took a few jobs from her but always disliked it because altering or making things for others made me very nervous. You never know how nit-picky people can be, and how stingy. I think the main problem is our relationship to clothes. People think clothing is worth what it costs in H&M but forget that people living in Europe cannot work for the wages H&M pays its factory workers in Asia. The other problem I think is that fixing and repairing clothes is seen as women's work, and women's work is always expected for free or next to nothing. Think childcare, nursing, teaching, etc. I'm sure the very same person who only wants to pay you peanuts, will gladly pay a computer repair guydouble, triple, yes, quadruple the amount to get, say, a computer fixed.

    I'm sure you will find a good and more satisfying job without annoying brides! I wish you all the best!

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  19. This is exactly what I dread when people tell me "you should do alterations in a bridal shop." It's cringe worthy. I too am not a people person. I love bridal fashion, but there is no way in hell that I'd spend my days dealing with brides to be. Let's face it, some women are freaking monstrous in regards to their wedding gowns. I once overheard some crazy chick saying she'd handwash her gown because she couldn't trust the professionals to even touch it (as though she knows better than professionals?!). Your post only makes me feel better about my decision not to get into that industry. I love sewing but I'd rather keep sewing for myself. I hope you find the right line of work eventually! :)

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  20. Good luck! I guess the good news is anything else will be a big improvement? I hate doing alterations on my own clothes, never mind for others, never mind all day everyday---and yes, people expect to pay so little! Good luck with your next phase---whatever it is!

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  21. Lauriana, do not feel that you are bailing out on sewing in any way. I too have sewed for people with unrealistic expectations and gave it up pretty quickly.I hope you find a job that makes better use of your skills and talent.

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