I don't typically sew for other people. Mainly because I'm selfish, I don't get the same amount of joy making something for someone else as I do making it for myself.
Which is a bit awkward really especially when people are like
"Oh I like your dress!!!"
"Why thank you I made it myself!"
"Oh that's great! Will you make me one?"
"I'll pay you? I'll buy the fabric?"
In fact the only person I sew from scratch for is my mum and I've only ever done it twice [I'm not counting the various knitting and embroidery things I've done this is strictly clothes sewing!]. As I said I don't really like doing it but she has this whole carrying me for 9 months and being cut open thing over me.....Plus I used one as a gift when I had no other ideas!
So here's some top tips if your entering the black hole of sewing for others!
1 - Be Clear!
Explain your own personal limitations, let them know how long you've been sewing, if your not confident with buttonholes let them know! That way no one is disappointed!
2 - Talk about the Design!
Then talk about it some more, then draw a picture, then talk about it some more! Iron out every detail of the design from where the zips going to how the inside will be finished! Make detailed notes and discuss every future change!
3 - Measure Accurately!
I find it helps to talk to someone as you measure them, you can't breathe in it your chatting. Make sure you take all the measurements, Do the under bust and the full bust, measure the circumference of the tops of their arms and how long their waist is, AND don't forget to measure how long a skirt needs to be on them! They might be a lot taller than you!! It also helps if you can measure them whilst they have on underwear they are planning on wearing, remember a decent bra can add an extra inch to a bust [two if its one of those wonder ones!!!] and a pair of spanx can help you loose an inch!
4 - Make a Toile and Fit It!
Possible the most boring part of any dressmaking process but sadly a necessary one! A toile can give you a rough idea of how a garment will look and help you change any big fit or detail issues! For example when making the goodwood dress it became apparent during the toile stage that gathers under the bust were a lot more flattering than darts on my mum!
And if your in any doubt make a second toile!
5- Approve all Fabric and Trims!
In fact better yet go shopping with them to buy them! [and pick yourself up a lil summin summin!] Bear in mind they might not know sewing like you do so to them a "cotton" might mean the stuff their husbands work shirts are made of rather than some of the beautiful cotton lawns that are around!
6 - Discuss your time frame and what payment is being received!
Okay so you might not be receiving actual money, but it's always nice if someone says thank you or appreciates what you do! I'm very lucky my mum actually paid me to make her the check shirt and the dress was a gift, but mainly I just like it when someone wears and appreciates the thing I slaved over! Also let them know how long its actually going to take you!
7 - Be neat!
Remember its not just you whose going to be seeing the inside so make sure you finish your seams nicely and cut every stray thread!
8 - Give it a Final Press!
Remember a good press can hide a multitude of sins, but a bad one can highlight a lot more!
So do you make clothes for other people?