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Sewing for $$$
Why does it suck out the fun?
Amy-may
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Amy-may
Intermediate
Illinois USA
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Date: 1/22/11 11:51 PM

I just finished making a Superman Returns cape. Not fun. It weighs a good 10 pounds, my back shoulders ache from wrangling around the huge thing. Figuring out a way to support the weight while wearing slowed down the process considerably.

But, I made $200... it hardly feels worth it.

Why does sewing for $$ feel so much harder than sewing for my own fun? My client keeps telling me how much money I could be making sewing superhero costumes...I can't find the energy to care. I'm sure a large part of my ambivalence is that I don't NEED the money. If I were hungry, I could, of course, sew for $.

Am I "normal," do you guys find sewing for others draining? (I'm assuming a paid job, I know we all hate to feel imposed upon with "just a favor" junk.)

misschris
misschris
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Member since 2/3/06
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In reply to Amy-may


Date: 1/23/11 0:03 AM

I'm the same. I've sewn for money twice in my 45 years of sewing and hated it both times. It puts a lot of pressure on me to sew to someone else's standards (not that mine are particularly low) and in their time frame ( I'm a reasonably fast sewer). And then I have to decide how much it's worth.
I recently hemmed some pants for a collegue of my husband's and refused payment. I told him that taking money turns something I do for fun into a job, and I already have 2 of them. I'd prefer he did something nice for someone else instead. He rang me a few days later and told me he'd hugged his mother and mowed a neighbor's lawn and felt pretty good!

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chris

Melbourne

MNBarb
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MNBarb  Friend of PR
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Date: 1/23/11 0:25 AM

I've sewn for money a few times and it brought me no enjoyment. I made weighted blankets that can be calming for autistic children. They were like a quilt with little pockets and in each pocket was a little sandbag. They were much appreciated but I decided quickly, "never again".

I like that "pay it forward" approach. I've also done that with friends and co-workers.

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Barb
"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." Thomas Edison
"I not only use all the brains I have, but all I can borrow." Woodrow Wilson

SansSouci572
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SansSouci572
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Date: 1/23/11 0:28 AM

I have wondered the same thing. A local boutique asked me to sew for her, and--I kept putting it off. You would think it would be a dream job, huh?
I have done it before, and it made me super stressed out. When I did costume design, I did not feel like that. I think because they tape and staple things together, and so there was no pressure at all. Except for deadlines of course. But not the execution of it.

Simple things I am not so stressed about, like skirts and such. But I really don't like it! Unless its for family. And only family who wants it...
I always thought it was weird. I want a creative job, people ask me, and then I don't like it.

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"What you WANT is irrelevant, what you've CHOSEN is at hand." --Mr. Spock

MelissaB in WA
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MelissaB in WA
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Date: 1/23/11 0:53 AM

Yes, ITA sewing for $$$ it rarely worth it. Way more fun to sew for me and my family (mostly me tho!).

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"The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain." ~Dolly Parton

Fabric sewn in 2014 ~ 25 yards
Fabric sewn in 2013 ~ 73.5 yards

my horse
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my horse
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Date: 1/23/11 1:16 AM

My theory is that it's never a good idea unless it's YOUR idea. Turning someone else's idea into reality is stressful. It's hard to get the true value of your labor based on skills only. Throw stress on the invoice and you come out in the red everytime.

I had to do it a few times in my early married years and I was miserable while doing it. If it comes to it again I'll flip burgers!

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She looks for wool and flax And works with her hands in delight. Proverbs 31:13 NAS

diane s
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diane s  Friend of PR
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In reply to Amy-may


Date: 1/23/11 1:54 AM

Quote: Amy-may
Am I "normal," do you guys find sewing for others draining? (I'm assuming a paid job, I know we all hate to feel imposed upon with "just a favor" junk.)

You are so normal. I feel exactly the same way. There have been times in my life when I needed the money, and was glad for it, but sewing is my hobby, I do it for my own enjoyment, and when it turns into a job, then it's work, which is not enjoyable.

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My grandmother taught me to sew when I was 10, and I've been sewing ever since.

SansSouci572
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SansSouci572
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Date: 1/23/11 2:08 AM

I wondered, if I made something, and then someone wanted to buy it, if that would be different. But making it when they commission you--eh. Don't want to.

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"What you WANT is irrelevant, what you've CHOSEN is at hand." --Mr. Spock

missbrea
missbrea
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Washington USA
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Date: 1/23/11 6:46 AM

It's actually very common with all sorts of artistic pursuits. I've seen psychological studies that seem to explain it - it's about the concept of intrinsic vs extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic is when you do things for the love of them - the internal satisfaction you get. Extrinsic motivation is usually money, but can also be things like requirements or social approval.

The interesting thing about the studies is that they look at cases where someone has strong intrinsic motivations, like we do with sewing. When those people are offered money or another extrinsic motivator to do the same thing, it's like the brain turns off the intrinsic motivations and focuses on the extrinsic ones. It's apparently quite psychologically difficult to have both at once (not impossible, people are able to love things they do for money, but it's rarer and more difficult). They call it the over-justification effect - somewhere in the back of your brain, you are saying "if they have to pay me for it, I must not want to do it." Very subconscious, of course, but it seems to have an effect.

Over-justification effect.
-- Edited on 1/23/11 6:48 AM --

glenj

glenj
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In reply to Amy-may


Date: 1/23/11 7:32 AM

I've had people ask why I only make stuff for my family and gifts for friends,and not sell anything.I tell them that I don't want my hobby to become another job.It's my creative outlet,when I have (on occasion)sewn something for money I feel pressure and angst towards something I love.

Put simply "I don't feel the Love" when sewing because I HAVE to.

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