Thursday, April 4, 2019

Why you should be a dressmaker... or at least, make/change some stuff... (To be followed by Why you should NOT be a dressmaker)

Repost: originally written 10/14/15

Previous (related) post: Why you should NOT create/design your own projects

Yes, you should be a dressmaker/custom sewing professional.  Or maybe not. Seriously. Are you considering it?

Here are some things I've made and redesigned over the years...

A grand entrance

The skirt zips off for the reception dance!

A mother's wedding gown combined with a Sri Lankan sari to make an American/Sri Lankan love story.

Bought at auction, 1890's dress made fun for the bride!

A winter reception dress for a classy bride

Tidy work pants for a minus-size client.

A Valentine's day duvet and pillow set...

Well, for one thing... there is a frightening shortage of creativity and fun in the affordable ready-to-wear and other markets, and far less variety when it comes to costumes, home dec, outerwear, and party-wear.

So why should you do this kind of work?

"You'll be able to earn money."

I may be lying a bit here.  You probably won't earn much, and your income will be BOTH unreliable and unpredictable (fun!), but you can create lots of great things for people who need/want them, and you can be paid for doing it.  How will they find you?  You can list yourself on a site like mine, or on a free site, like Mood, or post ads in your local area for your target market.
"You'll be able to stretch creatively."

You can expand beyond the ready-to-wear items offered in stores, within the limits of your skill level. Bias, cross, or straight grain?  Your choice.  Your design! Your colors! Any size! Will you fail?  Will things go wrong?  Yes!  (Unfortunately.)  But things will also go beautifully at other times.  If it doesn't, you'll know when to stop, for sure.
"You'll have complete control."
Ha!  No you won't.  The client tells you what she/he likes.  But you can get as creative as the client will allow, and it is a fabulous feeling to truly please someone with something fantastic!  It is always at least a bit of a gamble, but if you can keep an eye on quality, technique and execution, you really stand a chance of doing some great work.

"You can think outside of the box."

This is the greatest part of all.  Some of the most fun I've had has been doing things like making convertible wedding dresses (zipping off lower tiers of a skirt for dancing, combining cultures), making clothing suitable for physical challenges and disabilities, answering all kinds of unusual requests - it really can be a joyful experience, should you choose to give it a whirl!

Next post on related topics:  Why you should NOT be a dressmaker (will be posted in the near future)

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At October 14, 2015 at 4:01 PM , Blogger mrsmole said...

Make a free page on Google maps or Yelp or Manta and folks find you every day, after one year, word of mouth sends more folks your way if you are any good. By year 3, you may wish you had never started and want to control the volume by hiking your fees. By year 10 and almost 1000 wedding gowns later, you actually get tough with yourself and control the flow and hike your labor fees (again). Seasonal clients will pay anything for that last minute alteration while regular clients and brides fill in the rest of the time to keep all the squares on your calendar filled and you do make good money!

At October 15, 2015 at 8:10 AM , Blogger mimi jackson said...

I agree - with a very full schedule, you can make good money, as long as your energy, creativity, and health hold up! (Most people do hit a wall at some point, though)

At October 15, 2015 at 9:16 AM , Blogger mimi jackson said...

Oh - And I do love your blog, Mrs. Mole!

At October 30, 2015 at 11:38 AM , Blogger mrsmole said...

Thank you, I hope to know when to stop before I hit that wall which probably will be around 70, in years, not mph...ha ha!


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