How to Avoid Ruining a Garment

Here’s  another good question from a reader…

Judy wrote:  My question regards mistakes.  I’ve never destroyed anyone’s item (thank goodness!) but I’ve always been afraid of messing something up, especially an expensive item, like a prom or wedding dress.  Have any of you ever made an error like this?  If so, what did you do?

Here’s my answer:

Yes, I’ve made two errors in the last 13 years. First, I ruined a man’s shirt once when I accidentally serged part of the shirt in a seam and it got cut off by the serger blade. There was no way to fix it, so I gave him the money to buy him a new one, along with a huge apology, of course. I simply asked him how much he had spent on his shirt and gave him the money. He was thrilled that I would pay for a new one. By giving him the cash, I didn’t have to go shopping and find him a new one. Win-win. (The second error is explained below).

There are two things I do before I begin working on a garment.

First, I pray before I start each alteration asking that God would help me pay attention and do my best work and keep me from making any irretrievable mistakes. By His grace, that hasn’t happened since.  Now, I realize that that could have happened with a wedding gown or something else that was expensive, but I determined in my mind that if that were to ever happen, I would make it right. In other words, I would pay for a new garment or pay to have it fixed if it was possible.

Second, I always examine each garment well before the customer leaves my presence. That way, I can point out any flaw, defect, stain or problem the article of clothing has and that covers my back so that the customer knows it was not something I had done, while it was in my care.

Once, when I had finished a wedding gown and had my customer try it on, I noticed a pencil mark on the front of the gown. Knowing that I had checked the gown over very well before she left it in my care, I knew it had happened on my watch. So, I pointed it out to her and told her I would get the dress cleaned for her at the cleaner of her choice.

The pencil mark came out of the gown and it cost me $50, but it was a good lesson for me and I’m just so thankful it didn’t cost more than that to fix it.

I think the bottom line is to have confidence when you take a garment in. Have faith in your ability. Take your time (haste makes waste) and be careful. Mistakes happen when you’re tired, distracted, and/or in a hurry. You’re human. You will make mistakes, but the more alterations you do, the more confident you will feel sewing on different fabrics and garments. If you can, go to the fabric store and get a swatch of a fabric that is close to the one you’ll be working on and practice on that first. The more you do, the better you’ll get.

Now, let’s hear from you.

What do you do to minimize costly situations?

 

 

 

 

 

Oh Mama!

I thought you might like to see what some readers to this blog contributed to last summer.

If you missed the original posts, you’ll find the first one here and the second one here.

Our daughter works for an orphan ministry in Texas called Every Orphan’s Hope.

There are 11 orphan homes with 8 children in each home and that mamas who raise these children are mostly widows.

Last summer, we learned that the widows had a long standing dream to have sewing machines.

So, I put out the word here on the blog and to my friends at church and we raised enough money to buy each mama a machine.

When our daughter got to Zambia, she and one of the Zambian staff women went to a sewing machine dealer and purchased the machines.

Most of them are treadle machines because the electricity in Zambia is intermittent.

This post is to show you what that process looked like and share with you the excitement and joy of the mamas.

Many of you also donated sewing supplies.

One lady even made dolls for the children!

So, without further adieu, here are some of the photos chronicling the exciting event.

In this photo, the machines are being delivered:Image

Here is one of the mamas reacting to her gift:

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And another group of ladies receiving other gifts:

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Thank you to all of you who contributed to making their dreams come true.

This was huge for them and your generosity was huge for me!

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