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The Sew What’s New Archive

This archived content is from Mary Wilkins’ sewing and quilting message board “Sew What’s New,” which was retired in August 2007. It is being provided by “Sew What’s Up,” which serves as the new home for many members of “Sew What’s New.”
From: blanken6
Date: 04-12-2006, 02:50 AM (1 of 17)
Ok, this is so bad...I have a customer who I sew for who thinks I have some magical ability. She comes in with her size 8 10 12 pattern and I go and buy her size 18 20 22 (and sometimes, depending on the company 20 22 24) and just make her a muslin from those (taking off the size of coarse). She is not a pleasent woman when confronted w/ this kind of info and so my question is, do I let her know her real size so I don't have to keep going out and buying a new pattern and so she knows what size she really is or do I let her keep living in her little world and keep her good business? Yes, I would lose her business if I told her her correct size. I do add in the charge for the pattern as "supplies".
Proverbs 31:10-31
User: blanken6
Member since: 08-11-2004
Total posts: 41
From: SandyGirl
Date: 04-12-2006, 06:31 AM (2 of 17)
As long as you recover your expense, it should be your little secret. How sad to be in denial. My wedding dress was a size 18 but in the "real world" of sizing, I have and always have been a 12. Go figure! Why would a 'wedding dress" be a larger size on the tag? Frankly, I loved the dress and who knew or cared about that little tag!
User: SandyGirl
Member since: 09-16-2005
Total posts: 97
From: Ronda Sews
Date: 04-12-2006, 06:46 AM (3 of 17)
I wouldn't say anything either. Some people just can't get past the sizing.

Bernina Aurora 440QE
User: Ronda Sews
Member since: 04-07-2006
Total posts: 25
From: Sewspecial
Date: 04-12-2006, 01:49 PM (4 of 17)
I wouldn't say anything either. Besides, if she's that sure shes that small, you wouldn't win the

Sandy, Standard store bought wedding gowns generally run about 2 sizes smaller. Thats probably why you ended up with a size 18. I have no Idea why they do it, but I've worked in several bridal shops and its always the same. I usually warn my customers first.
User: Sewspecial
Member since: 09-24-2004
Total posts: 30
From: carman
Date: 04-12-2006, 02:43 PM (5 of 17)
i think she needs to see a scale :bolt: (i just had to say it :bg: )
User: carman
Member since: 04-17-2000
Total posts: 692
From: AndreaSews
Date: 04-12-2006, 02:52 PM (6 of 17)
You are as kind as can be, clearly very aware of what makes your clients tick, which is bringing you lots of return business. It sounds like it's working for you. Does she also provide you the fabric? As long as the yardage doesn't run short b/c of the difference (have her always add an arm's length for good measure), AND as long as you were either at the fabric shop anyway, OR you'e including your shopping trip in the time that you bill her for.
User: AndreaSews
Member since: 02-18-2005
Total posts: 1007
From: SandyGirl
Date: 04-12-2006, 04:17 PM (7 of 17)
Sewspecial, I did not really care about the size...I was amused that on your "big day" they put you in "bigger size" perception-wise. I got a tickle about this...kind of like buying blue jeans...every size fits different! Thanks for clueing me in on the Bridal sizing thing. You would think that industry would put a couple of smaller sizes on the tags for vanity sake! LOL
User: SandyGirl
Member since: 09-16-2005
Total posts: 97
From: Chrysantha
Date: 04-12-2006, 09:08 PM (8 of 17)
Don't tell her, but leave the patterns OUT where she can SEE the sizes herself. That way you don't make her mad, but she 'might' get the picture of herself...I doubt that you would lose her as a customer, but reality has to set in some time...
User: Chrysantha
Member since: 09-06-2002
Total posts: 2414
From: swartzrn
Date: 04-12-2006, 09:33 PM (9 of 17)
OH wow--what a big size difference in the 2 patterns..surely she has to know. I probably wouldn't directly say anything either but sometime or another she has to realize. I would agree that as long as you are not losing any money I would keep it a little secret. Maybe bringing in the smaller patterns makes her feel better..who knows.
However--Carman you are right about her needing a scale and CONGRATS on your weight loss!!
"To see the future, look into a child's eyes."
User: swartzrn
Member since: 02-17-2006
Total posts: 436
From: esrun3
Date: 04-12-2006, 10:47 PM (10 of 17)
I think I'd just keep buying the pattern and charging her for it. If she thinks she's a much smaller size even seeing the pattern lying out won't change that. I remember when one of my dil's was pg and wanted a dress for work, picked out a pattern, refused to let me measure her, insisted on a size 16, we spent a lot of money on nice fabric against my better judgement and she was never able to wear it because she really is a larger size even before being pg! Just wouldn't admit to it.

Seems the hardest thing I do is convince people that store bought and sewn are 2 different sizes!
User: esrun3
Member since: 12-02-2004
Total posts: 2345
From: blanken6
Date: 04-13-2006, 12:55 AM (11 of 17)
Thanks Ladies....I just felt little guilty not saying anything. But I'll stop feeling guilty now. :bg:
Proverbs 31:10-31
User: blanken6
Member since: 08-11-2004
Total posts: 41
From: Patty22
Date: 04-13-2006, 04:02 PM (12 of 17)
Talking about being honest with a client reminds me of an incident that happened about 15 years ago. A mother in town brought her daughter to my house to fix her prom dress (less than a week away). She had broken the zipper because it was too small in the bodice, yet the girl insisted that she was going to lose the weight before the dance.

I replaced the zipper, but I also took out the seam allowances on the sides which gave her at least an extra 1 1/2 inches.

The girl came back to the house to try on the dress and she goes to her mother in a bit of a cocky voice, "See, I told you that I could fit in the dress." When the girl went in the room to change back into her clothes, I told her mother what I had done. We really had a good laugh together!

User: Patty22
Member since: 03-29-2006
Total posts: 1194
From: paroper
Date: 04-13-2006, 05:02 PM (13 of 17)
Most people, even those that sew do not realize the difference between RTW sizing and patterns. If you do tell her, I'd be sure and tell her that those are pattern sizes, not "real" sizes. She is probably one of those people who would buy a size 10 instead of a 12 but never consider a size 14 no matter how much she wanted it.

I feel sorry for the next KNOW that she'll say "Well, I DON'T understand, the OTHER seamstress ALWAYS made this size!"

Bernina 200e, Artista V5 Designer Plus, Explorations, Magic Box, Bernina 2000DE & 335 Bernette Serger, Bernina 1530 Sewing Machine, Bernina 1300 DC Overlock (with coverstitch)
User: paroper
Member since: 02-03-2004
Total posts: 3775
From: vickki
Date: 04-13-2006, 05:50 PM (14 of 17)
What's a number between friends and everyone is happy with the results.That's all that counts....
User: vickki
Member since: 08-21-2005
Total posts: 374
From: kameline
Date: 04-14-2006, 10:09 AM (15 of 17)
I know for me, patterns vary, I have had to make anywhere from a size 14 for myself to a size 8... it completely depends on the style and company. I really have no idea what i would do in this situation. I have gotten to the point where i tell the customer what size to buy, I do the measurements first, then compare that to each pattern company's sizing chart and tell the customer which size pattern she will need depending on the brand she buys. You can find sizing charts on their website most of the time.
That's what has worked for me! :wink:
Do all to the glory of God!
User: kameline
Member since: 03-09-2006
Total posts: 41
From: MartySews
Date: 04-17-2006, 12:11 AM (16 of 17)
Being a plus size in RTW and in patterns, I sometimes buy a size 12 because it fits only in the shoulders and then I grade the rest of the entire pattern up to the rest of my measurements. You might tell her that you need to take her size measurements again and keep a written chart for comparison. Use the fitted muslin to grade the smaller patterns up. It's a little work and worth it in the long run as long as you charge for it. However, I think if it makes the customer feel good to think she's a size 12 (instead of a 24) what is the harm? I'm sure that the customer really knows her size and would not appreciate being called on her deception. There is nothing to feel guilty about making a customer happy and keeping those "secrets" to yourself.

Another alternative is that you could keep some of the latest pattern books around and let her choose a style and color of the garment. Offer to shop for her and buy only the right size based on her measurements. When I sewed for the public, my laptop was bookmarked with the pattern companies websites. I would let the customer choose the style and I would shop for her. I called it a consulting fee ($25) but it worked out and I could make sure that the right type of fabric, pattern and notions were used for the garment. Of course, I also charged for the supplies and fabric purchased on top of the consulting fee.
Happy Stitching!
Marty :up:
It takes one moment to change a life.
User: MartySews
Member since: 02-23-2003
Total posts: 504
From: paroper
Date: 04-17-2006, 12:46 AM (17 of 17)
The biggest problem I had when sewing was when I couldn't get the sizes in the patterns the customer had "chosen". I spent a lot of time grading patterns and that isn't fair to the seamstress. The worst I think I ever graded was a size 16 (the highest the pattern would go) to a 26. In this case it was a 5 dress wedding and the other bridesmaids were tiny (so was the bride). I truly felt sorry for the "odd girl". I never charged for grading up the patterns but there were times when it took a lot of time out of my day. I always made "muslins" of all my dresses anyway, but you still have to start some where. Fortunately, the pattern companies are getting better about steadily supplying pattern sizes up to 24 now. At that time, just a few years ago, it wasn't rare to have patterns stop at 16 or 18 and the womens' patterns just weren't anything like the smaller patterns.

Bernina 200e, Artista V5 Designer Plus, Explorations, Magic Box, Bernina 2000DE & 335 Bernette Serger, Bernina 1530 Sewing Machine, Bernina 1300 DC Overlock (with coverstitch)
User: paroper
Member since: 02-03-2004
Total posts: 3775
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