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Forum > Miscellaneous > Sewing Shop, owner is out of date? ( Moderated by Deepika, EleanorSews, CynthiaSue)

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Sewing Shop, owner is out of date?
What is the shopkeeper like in your sewing shop?
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UNITED KINGDOM
Member since 7/19/13
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Date: 8/16/13 3:34 PM

I have been persuaded to try this topic here. If it fails, blame another valued member of this forum!

I live in a small town, there is only one sewing shop. Regrettably, one of the staff is much more approachable and friendly and encouraging than the actual owner, hereinafter referred to as Mrs Danvers.

I went in a couple of days ago, and there was Mrs. Danvers. She is very brisk and does not listen, and makes snap decisions about your sewing needs.

I had already tested my next-jacket idea here in a thread on PR, and most importantly consulted The Book: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Jackets-Real-People-Tailoring-Sewing/dp/0935278664

I therefore knew that my idea was not only likely to work, but is standard in the garment industry for lightweight fabrics.

Mrs. Danvers, however, said these exact words to me when I started on my shopping list in her shop: 'You canNOT do THAT! You canNOT make a jacket like that!

My response (since I had a long list and she's the only shop in town) was 'I'd like to try anyway' and I felt like adding 'if that's ok with you'.

The rest of the shopping experience was stilted. She cut various interfacings, got up and down a ladder to find lining material, was stone-faced at my thread-colour choice and so on. When I finally left, I was nearly in tears at her grim face and judgemental-ness at what she clearly considered to be Maverick ideas about sewing a jacket.

IMO she learned to sew about 40 years ago (and so did I) but has not kept up to date with modern techniques, use of various fibres together, etcetera. My wish (which is somewhat childish) is that I now sew a beautiful jacket and somehow find a way to show Mrs. Danvers: Here's the jacket you said I could not make.

Has anyone else encountered less than helpful sewing shop owners?





Speech girl
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Date: 8/16/13 3:51 PM

You could wear the jacket to the store to shop. Mrs. Danvers may recognize the fabric...

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Kim
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http://girlwithatimemachine.wordpress.com/

justgail

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Date: 8/16/13 4:07 PM

I must be living in the right area. Or else I'm no bright enough to pick up on the "less than helpful" attitudes. I can't say that I have run into that attitude yet. I'd make that jacket and wear it to the store and show it off.

I wonder about another possibility for her attitude on your purchase - maybe she's had too many customers that insisted on items that really would not work and then came back and blamed her for bad results saying she didn't warn them?

MrsCharisma
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Date: 8/16/13 4:10 PM

I've not had it happen in fabric shops, but definitely in yarn shops. Gah!

I'd totally go in there with the jacket!

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Nakisha
www.sewcraftychemist.blogspot.com
Singer Talent 3321 | Brother 1034D

My Big 4 Sizing: Medium | Tops 14/16 | Pants 18 | Skirts 16/18.

My Measurements: 36 HB | 38.5 FB | 34 W | 44 Hip

nancy2001
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Date: 8/16/13 4:21 PM

Yes. I've gotten bad attitude and bad sewing advice from owners and sales staff at sewing machine stores and fabric shops in my area.

As far as bad sewing advice, I've been warned so many times by people in fabric stores "you can't do this," that I've learned to completely ignore them. I remember the time I was told you can't interface faux suede. Well, yes you can -- I've done it a million times! You simply have to apply your iron to the wrong side of the fabric.

My rule of thumb is that if I have a crazy idea but am not sure it will work, I never listen to the naysayers, who most likely know less about sewing than we do. Instead I conduct my own experiment and test it out thoroughly. I've found that nine times out of ten, my crazy idea actually works.



-- Edited on 8/24/13 11:46 AM --

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No sewing project is ever a complete success nor a total failure.

marymary86
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Date: 8/16/13 4:31 PM

Sewing shop?? What's a sewing shop??

Seriously all the small independent fabric shops around here have all closed.

And your Mrs. Danvers? She's not only out-of-date - she's downright rude.

I'd have to mess with her!!

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Mary


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Date: 8/16/13 4:40 PM

Haven't had that much negativity, but have had a sober "that's an AWFUL lot of thread!" warning once. I replied that it was an awfully big project and I have plenty of uses for extra thread.

I have also found an odd bias against vintage machines from some people at my dealer. When I had my old machine in recently to check thread tension issues, one of the sales people said, "well, that machine IS getting on in years." But the tech just waved her off, which I found very gratifying. It is odd to me because they sell vintage machines and it isn't the first time I have heard that attitude there.

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http://bgballroom.wordpress.com to follow the progress on my next ballgown.

marymary86
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Date: 8/16/13 4:42 PM

A few sewing boards I participated on years ago were like that.

Someone I know got the idea of making a coat using couture techniques but high quality fleece. You should have heard the sewing police!

I saw the coat in real life when she finished and it was exquisite. She even did bound buttonholes and they were perfectly stitched. It was a cool idea that worked out well.

I'm glad PR is friendlier.

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Mary


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Date: 8/16/13 5:27 PM

One never knows if something will or will not work until its been tried.. Obviously she has not tried it as her mind was closed to even the possibilities ..

This I could not resist if I were you.. the classic good guy , bad guy routine.. Send a friend.. who will play the part of the bad guy in a few moments before you go in.. Then you enter wearing your jacket .. but don't say a word or point it out to the owner.. Let a couple of more minutes go by and have the bad guy approach you and exclaim over how wonderful your jacket is and how did you ever do that.. and all the virtues of trying new techniques and so on. be sure to be within earshot of the owner. Then you simply say.. '' and I was told it could not be done.. but I am always open to learning experiences and having an open mind sure paid off with a new jacket to show for it.. '' Something like that.. That way your friend.. the bad cop can say anything they like which might insinuate how stupid it was to advise you not to try it and how out of date some of the old methods are and so on.. while you can remain the nice guy so as to not directly insult the owner. .just in case you ever want to return..

Sorry.. that is not a nice thing to do.. but your post just rubbed me the wrong way. as just how many people get turned off their hobbies by owners and shop clerks like the one you came across.. Sometimes you just feel like fighting back..

Occasionally here on the boards I give advise.. we all do.. I would be the first to tell you its your time and your money and your effort.. so only your way would really count.. If I feel something truly would not work I would say that too.. but I hope I could back it up with at least a good reason why it might or might not work. I personally love a good shortcut..

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Date: 8/16/13 5:38 PM

Maybe I've shopped in the chains for too long, but I don't expect anyone to "help" other than to tell me where something is, cut my fabric, and cash me out. I don't talk to them so maybe I am the rude one but I just don't see the need. I do smile, thank them, and move on. I go in, pick out my fabric, get it cut and leave. Perhaps expecting someone who may be good in business to be totally knowledgeable in technique as well is unrealistic. I have seen very talented knowledgeable sewists, two near me, open shops and watch them close. They were fabulouses sewists but lousy business people. It's a rare find to get both in one package.

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http://lasewist.blogspot.com/

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