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Looking for advice
because I know I'm not the only one whose in-laws make them uncomfortable
Elizabeth made this
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Date: 5/27/13 8:13 AM

Since I know that many of you have dealt with this at some point in your sewing, I thought I'd ask before I respond back to my SIL. Thank you in advance.

My SIL asked me to make a couple of dresses for one of my nieces. She gets a lot of what her kids wear from thrifting, so she wants to pay me, but I assume that's what she's expecting to pay. But she's expecting top-notch construction for what amounts to probably not a lot.

The whole notion of money makes me uncomfortable and like I'm under some kind of deadline/pressure to be profitable which I can't in this situation. And I sew because I enjoy it, not because I want to be in my own personal sweat shop. I would prefer for these dresses to just be a gift which I think is more than appropriate given that this child is my own blood. My relationship with my SIL is shaky at best, so I don't really know how to say this in the best way that still honors my feelings and won't insult her as well. Any thoughts?
-- Edited on 5/28/13 4:00 PM --
-- Edited on 5/30/13 10:02 AM --

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Date: 5/27/13 8:23 AM

Oh does this resound with me! I was asked to make some chaps for a family related to my husband's side, through HIS brother in law and was expected to make them for free. When I showed DH's sister, my SIL and the wife of DH's brother in law, how much time it took, and how much it amounted to, $2.38 an hour, she backed off with her complaint of my charging too much (which turned out to be $45 per set of three)

It's a difficult situation, and maybe you can find a very simple dress pattern. Or better yet, have her find something at the thrift shop you can refashion for the nieces. That way, it's already assembled and you've saved your time, relationship and sanity.

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Restart06
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Date: 5/27/13 8:32 AM

Have u considered offerin g to show her how to sew? Take her out to price fabric, thread, machines, etc.......or do it online so the sticker shock will sit in. I tell people it is cheaper to buy what they want than me make it, especially with fabric prices and I sew slowly. I haven't had anyone ask me to sew for them in awhile if they have to sew it with me helping. They don't want to spend their time, just yours. Good luck.

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Date: 5/27/13 8:36 AM

I don't sew for them at all, using the line that their son affords me a life that I can pick and choose who I want to sew for, and I am full up with projects for him, for me and my own kids.

I was asked to make a wedding dress, MOB, three bridesmaids, 3 flower girls and 3 waistcoats. With us footing the bill for the fabric PLUS my time, which was less then 6 weeks.

If I would have done it, I'd be in a position to be a personal dressmaker to everyone. I don't want to get into it, so I don't.

KathySews
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Date: 5/27/13 8:39 AM

Probably everyone who sews has been in this situation at some point. IMO it is better to not start something that will be difficult to stop. Two dresses will become how many?

My answer is to say that sewing is my hobby. I do it to relax. If I start sewing for someone else it becomes a job and takes the fun out of it. So, I am sorry, but no I only sew for myself.

Most people get that, or at least they never ask me again :hug:

If you are considering sewing for her, lay out what it will cost. Never let the person requesting the service set what they will pay you. Most people do not understand that sewing is not cheaper than buying. Pattern, fabric, notions, and hours it will take at at least minimum wage (although I would not sew for less than $20/hour - yes my time is worth something). It will add up fast.

Good luck.
-- Edited on 5/27/13 8:41 AM --

poorpigling

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Date: 5/27/13 9:03 AM

Elizabeth.. offer to teach her to sew.. Maybe the two of you can bond over that experience..
Sometimes brutal honesty is the only way to go.. If not honest upfront.. then your intentions can later be misconstrued.. So. something along the lines of... '' I hate it already that our relationship is sooo shaky.. I would love to teach you to sew so we could become closer.. I understand though if you refuse that offer.. I would love to gift a couple of dresses when I do have time to sew them.. I dont' and won't accept payment though as it just puts too much pressure on me.. and I don't think it would be appropriate to charge for sewing a dress for a family member who I love.. ''

Elizabeth made this
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In reply to Restart06 <<
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Date: 5/27/13 9:18 AM

She knows how to, but she's not willing to take the time, which is what she told me...which makes me feel even grosser about working for not a lot.
-- Edited on 5/28/13 4:00 PM --

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The best project you could be working on is the one that's on the table right now.

Elizabeth made this
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Date: 5/27/13 9:21 AM

Pigling, these are really helpful words. Thank you. I've lost too much sleep over this situation this week. I'm truly grateful.

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The best project you could be working on is the one that's on the table right now.

Elizabeth made this
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In reply to KathySews <<


Date: 5/27/13 9:21 AM

taking the fun out of it...yes. That's precisely it.

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The best project you could be working on is the one that's on the table right now.

poorpigling

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Date: 5/27/13 9:29 AM


Elizabeth. if she knows how to sew.. then shame on her for even asking you to do this.. Offer to do a sew-a-long.. which she will probably refuse and then move on.. I know she is family. but she does not sound like someone who you need to spend time with or would want to be friends with anyhow.. Maybe in time..
So. yes.. be honest.. and honestly.. that will put you in the best light ..
Because I am the only one who sews in my family.. I have situations like this all the time to deal with. Some of them bizarre.. such as MIL wanting me to sew something for her neighbor.. You just have to learn to say NO.. I wish I had the time and energy to do that.. but I do not.. and I have found.. once you place the burden back onto them.. they lose interest fast.. so offering to teach them to sew or asking for a sew a long usually diminishes their interest in the project..

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