I’m rapidly approaching my fourth ‘official’ anniversary of being The Singing Seamstress; the journey has been longer because the shift from amateur to professional took some time leading up to the official naming. Time flies when you’re having fun, right? While I’ve been fascinated by sewing and fabrics and design and creation pretty much my whole life, there was one particular moment when I decided to turn seamstressing from a hobby to a profession. Like any superhero, I have an origin story. Not that I’m saying I’m a superhero. I’m merely saying that Wonder Woman and I have never been in the same room together at the same time, and we’ll leave it at that.
I was actually in the medical field a few years ago, and in honesty I’d had I had no designs on getting into bridal alterations. But the fates intervened and I received a frantic call from a theatre friend saying that one of her best friends was in a pickle. She begged me for my help, and who was I to turn down a friend’s friend in distress?
It turns out the aforementioned friend was the father of a bride, the wedding was two weeks away, and the person they had originally hired to do the alterations (a biddy from their church) didn’t do a good job on the gown and – furthermore – was not returning phone calls. Sight unseen, I offered my own assistance.
The dress turned out to be a strapless mermaid; one of the most difficult fashions to alter well. To this day… well, I can’t say I HATE a particular style to alter, but I CAN say this style is near the bottom of my list. Additionally, they’re specifically designed for a particular body type, and I’ve lost track of the times I’ve tried to convince a bride of the ‘not particular body type’ to go with another style and they refuse, only to wonder why they don’t look like they thought they would in it. But that’s another blog entry.
The original, disappeared seamstress had only taken the dress in at the very top. She had not extended her seams down the entire length of the dress, which is a vital component to any alterations to it. She also hadn’t bustled it, which, again, had to be done for this fashion. No wonder the bride and her dad were ready to have father/daughter matching heart attacks.
I will admit that my hands shook the entire time I was working on it. I was convinced I had bitten off more than I could chew, and I just KNEW I was going to only further disappoint the bride. But halfway through the project – and there’s no way to say this without sounding all Kung Fu – something happened, and my hands steadied and my nerves calmed. A sort of sereneness washed over me and with each stitch I grew more confident in my abilities. In the past, I can created and altered dozens – if not hundreds – of everyday clothes and theatrical costumes. In the end, this was no different, except for the pressure I had put on myself.
In any event, I finished the dress and promptly proceeded to drink an entire bottle of wine upon its completion. It was a sort of celebration, because I had survived the ordeal unscathed. Additionally, the realtered gown looked absolutely stunning on the beautiful bride, and I can still remember the tears in her dad’s eyes when he saw his ‘little girl’ all grown up and wearing white.
I figured – and rather naively so from today’s perspective – that this was probably as bad as it could get, so I decided to ditch my corporate position and try out professional seamstressing for a living. It took the largest leap of faith I ever had to take, and those early days were filled with hit-and-miss. But word of mouth spread, and my work began to speak for itself, and I realized the pros definitely outweighed the cons. So here I am to stay.
Now… tell me YOUR origin story!
Until next time!