Thursday, May 14, 2009

Spring Fling & Lesson Learned

So, with the Spring Fling mere weeks away, we toil to transform a church hall into a 60's psychedelic romp. My garage is full of decor we've cut and are painting. The teens and one very busy mom have cut a gazillion circles for beaded curtains, there's one very secret photo backdrop for goofy hippie pics, a big, a yellow submarine and a Magical Mystery Tour bus on the way. The huge pile of Boogie Mocs are awaiting their cobbler to finish up for a June show. So here's what we have thus far.

The other project, and the point of this post, is alterations on a prom dress for my niece. It's gorgeous, but it's satin, and anyone who's sewn with satin understands this. Satin is a nightmare to sew. The bra cups need to be taken up and tucked into the beaded band. The back dips WAY below where it should and has to be taken in also. The hem is asymmetrical, and about 2 feet too long, and the straps had to be taken up. The catch: with the exception of the hem, it all has to be done by hand, since the beaded sections cannot go through the machine. ACK!

Since my niece is super small, this 00 is huge on her (I know I know!). She was told the alterations would cost about $100 by a professional seamstress. Since I am somewhat of a professional, I was aghast at the cost, and agreed to make the alterations. I mean, how DARE someone charge that much! Then I began to rip the seams, cut and resew the straps back in between the lining and the outer dress. The beads all fell off, so I had to glue them back on, then resew the straps in. 2 hours. Then I had to rip the seam on the beaded band in the middle, futz with the three layers of padding, lining and satin, cut it down, slippery as it all is, and hand sew the layers back together. 3 hours. Mind you, I still have to hem the slip and the dress, plus take the back apart, cut and resew by hand.

Ok, here's the gist. $100 isn't really all that outrageous, considering the work on an almost $300 dress. As a crafter I should have known this. How often do we undervalue not only ourselves, but our peers in the art/craft world? The designer world? The manual labor world even? I know from years of being an artist that one's work is worth what people will pay for it. Now I also know that sometimes we don't stop and consider how much thought/work actually goes INTO what seems simple to those who have never done it. So I hope to make this dress perfect for my niece, who I love and would do anything for (almost haha), and next time I see a price for a handmade item, sewn, knitted, woven, or otherwise, I'll remember that if I want people to value MY work, I really have to value theirs! Happy crafting!

1 comment:

  1. My friend and I talk about this a lot. She is a basket weaver. She splits the oak herself - from a tree. That she chopped down herself. And people want her to make baskets for next to nothing. And my handspun is worth more than I could get for it. It's more than just getting the wool spun...