Author Topic: Acquaintance wants me to sew an intricate costume for her?  (Read 9641 times)

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Runningstar

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Acquaintance wants me to sew an intricate costume for her?
« on: October 15, 2013, 06:39:21 AM »
Hi, I'm new around here so please bear with me! 
I have been asked to sew an extremely intricate, fitted costume for an acquaintance.  I said no, but I'm being hounded to do it by both the woman and her
daughter.  This would take me hours of work, fittings, shopping for the materials.   Yes, to make one would cost about $50 while the one they want runs
$300 before alterations!  They can't afford it, she is a single mother and not well off.
She just won't stop with the pa comments of how she can't afford the costume and how she wished she could sew.   We went to an event with her and her daughter last week end and I saw that she is an angry, rude, and self absorbed person who I can not stand to be around more than I have to (my daughter does the same shows as hers).
Since our daughters are in the same club, I'll continue to run into her at least weekly.  I don't have the time to sew this for her, nor do I want the aggravation
and stress if it doesn't fit perfectly, etc.
I need advice on how to remain polite, not create an enemy, but not give in and just sew it.
Thanks for reading!

aussie_chick

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Re: Acquaintance wants me to sew an intricate costume for her?
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2013, 06:45:32 AM »
Welcome!
I wish I could sew too!
Acquaintance is being rude since you have already said no.
I would keep up the "i'm afraid that won't be possible" and smile, change the subject - or bean dip.
If she persists, I think it's ok to say "I am not able to. I'd prefer not to discuss it again" and walk away.
Just remember you do not owe her an explanation and you do not need to justify your decision.
 
Alternatively say to her what you said below "i I don't have time."

It can make you feel a bit icky when you have to see her weekly but remember you are not doing anything wrong by saying no. You're allowed to say no!

MariaE

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Re: Acquaintance wants me to sew an intricate costume for her?
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2013, 06:52:56 AM »
Would you be willing to do it at a price? If so, just say "Sure, I can do it - it'll cost $whatever for materials, work hours etc."
Her: "I can't afford that!"
You: "I'm sorry - I really can't go any lower at that!"

Make sure not to set the price any lower than what you actually would be able to do it for.

If you're not willing to do it under any circumstances (which is fine!), ignore the PA comments and if she asks straight out just keep repeating the board phrase.

... Or you could do a Phoebe and reply, "Oh, I'm sorry, but I really don't want to." That might not go over so well though ;)
 
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camlan

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Re: Acquaintance wants me to sew an intricate costume for her?
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2013, 06:58:18 AM »
She was not rude to ask you to make the costume, once. After you said no, her repeated requests are indeed rude.

All you have to do is stay polite as you continue to say "No." I realize that this can be difficult to do the 100th time around.

It's okay to say "no" and then walk away. It's okay to say "no" and give her a puzzled look, because you've said "no" 50 times already.

If you really wanted to, you could look up the name of a professional dressmaker and refer the woman to her.

If you really wanted to, you could find out where sewing classes are held, and refer the woman to them.

But what you should not do is go into long explanations about why you can't make the costume--time, the amount of detailed work, the cost of the fabrics. That will only give the other mother things to argue with you about--"Oh, we can wait for the costume until you have time," "Oh, you can go to Bargain Basement Fabrics and get it all so much cheaper."

If you never sew for anyone other than family, tell her that. "Other Mom, I only sew for myself and my family. I cannot and will not make the costume for your daughter."

And "I'm afraid that won't be possible," is a nice tag-line to keep repeating.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


that_one_girl

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Re: Acquaintance wants me to sew an intricate costume for her?
« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2013, 07:42:10 AM »
If the costume she wants costs $300 ready-to-wear, then tell her that a custom-tailored costume will cost $800.   If she can't afford the ready-to-wear, then she won't agree to pay you more for a custom job.  After all, most of what goes in to the cost for a custom-made job is not the materials themselves (which cost an artisan more than they cost the company that makes the ready-to-wear stuff since they buy in bulk) but the artisan's blood, sweat, and tears.

Redsoil

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Re: Acquaintance wants me to sew an intricate costume for her?
« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2013, 09:20:12 AM »
"It would actually take more than 10 hours (or estimate) to do that sort of incredibly detailed work - I simply don't have that sort of time to spare!"  Then beandip or keep repeating variations of "I can't help you out - I'm already short on time."  "As I mentioned, it's a LOT of work and I can't do it."
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z_squared82

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Re: Acquaintance wants me to sew an intricate costume for her?
« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2013, 09:30:00 AM »
If the costume she wants costs $300 ready-to-wear, then tell her that a custom-tailored costume will cost $800.   If she can't afford the ready-to-wear, then she won't agree to pay you more for a custom job.  After all, most of what goes in to the cost for a custom-made job is not the materials themselves (which cost an artisan more than they cost the company that makes the ready-to-wear stuff since they buy in bulk) but the artisan's blood, sweat, and tears.

While "I'm afraid that won't be possible," is the best and most polite response, if she bugs you until you break, I vote for the bolded. Heck, tell her $1000. Then you can start with, "I'm afraid a lower price won't be possible."

JenJay

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Re: Acquaintance wants me to sew an intricate costume for her?
« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2013, 10:02:22 AM »
Yep, be blunt. Tell her "I understand that you wish 'd make you the costume, but what you don't understand is that making it would take every bit of free time I have for weeks and cost $300 in materials alone, let alone my fee. I don't have time to make this for you but if you're seriously interested in a $500 costume I can refer you to a friend who may be able to do it."

lowspark

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Re: Acquaintance wants me to sew an intricate costume for her?
« Reply #8 on: October 15, 2013, 10:12:34 AM »
If I understand correctly, they aren't actually asking again, just making lots of PA comments in front of you (or to you?).

My advice is to ignore the comments. You've already said no, so to continue to say no, or anything, sort of gives them an opening to continue asking. When she makes these PA comments, if possible, remove yourself from her presence. Walk away. If that's not possible, then bean dip.

But honestly, I would not even dignify the subject with another word.

If she asks (directly) again, then I'd say, "I already said no." Full stop. And again, walk away or bean dip if you're stuck.

MrTango

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Re: Acquaintance wants me to sew an intricate costume for her?
« Reply #9 on: October 15, 2013, 10:19:53 AM »
An alternative to saying "no" over and over is to throw it back at her: "What gives you the impression that I'll change my mind?  If someone comes up to you and starts whining that you aren't giving them what they want, does it make you feel any more inclined to do so?

Zilla

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Re: Acquaintance wants me to sew an intricate costume for her?
« Reply #10 on: October 15, 2013, 10:23:34 AM »
Yep, be blunt. Tell her "I understand that you wish 'd make you the costume, but what you don't understand is that making it would take every bit of free time I have for weeks and cost $300 in materials alone, let alone my fee. I don't have time to make this for you but if you're seriously interested in a $500 costume I can refer you to a friend who may be able to do it."


If you do know of a friend, I would so say this.  If they aren't asking directly but making PA comments, I would say, "I noticed you have been saying a lot that you can't sew or wish you had a costume.  Too bad you can't sew but I have a friend that does but something like that would cost X dollars.  If you are interested, let me know."  Firmly and every time she moans, offer this.  If she snaps she can't afford it, then tell her oh okay.  But just as she repeats it, you can repeat yours too to let her know how it feels.

SleepyKitty

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Re: Acquaintance wants me to sew an intricate costume for her?
« Reply #11 on: October 15, 2013, 10:59:39 AM »
If I understand correctly, they aren't actually asking again, just making lots of PA comments in front of you (or to you?).

This was my understanding of the situation as well, and I think it makes it more difficult. If she was directly asking you, over and over again, you could just keep saying 'no'. But if she's not directly asking, just making PA comments, then a direct response can be more confrontational.

I agree in general with lowspark to just ignore the comments, but I know how hard it can be and how they can get under your skin. Could you try countering them? If she's making comments about how she can't afford the costume: "I know, things are so hard these days! The economy is so terrible! Why, I've had to forgo buying X and Y to make my budget work myself, I know exactly how you feel."

Or when she's saying she wishes she could sew: "I'm so glad I learned! It took me so much practice and a lot of effort, but it was worth it. You can check out these youtube videos to learn!"

Basically, counter her PA statements as though they are genuine, without any malice or irritation.

amylouky

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Re: Acquaintance wants me to sew an intricate costume for her?
« Reply #12 on: October 15, 2013, 11:06:01 AM »
PA Mom: "Gosh, I sure WISH I could buy that costume for daughter.."
You: "Yes, it is lovely. I understand though, things like that don't come cheap".

PA Mom: "I really wish I knew how to sew!"
You: "Yes, it's been really useful for us. I think <local sewing shop?> offers lessons, if you're really interested?"

PA Mom: "Couldn't you just make it for me?"
You: "I'm sorry, as I said before, that won't be possible."

VorFemme

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Re: Acquaintance wants me to sew an intricate costume for her?
« Reply #13 on: October 15, 2013, 11:11:14 AM »
I have given sewing lessons (and some of the people at the hobby center in *other state* would take ONE, realize that there is a LOT more involved than they thought, or fall in love and start teaching themselves by doing - one student came back to the second lesson with three extra completed projects & questions to ask about a tricky fabric she'd fallen in love with. Others would shown up & be amazed that Ireally meant that they had to WASH and iron the quilt fabric before cutting into it - not just show me the fabric still in the bag from the store with the slip from the cutting table pinned to it,  and then starting to sew AND one lady was shocked to find that  she would be cutting & sewing her own quilt...never saw her again (also in another state).  Not that she'd paid for the lesson, either.

I did have a "deal" going with members of a mailing list for owners of a particular program, if they lived near me & needed a measurement set taken for the pattern drafting program (the list existed to talk about the program) that I would do it.  It took about as long to do as it took to fix dinner and clean the kitchen afterwards. 

Since they could not fix dinner while I measured them - they could pay for a pizza & have it delivered & they paid for it *or* they could bring dinner with them.  Voila - the time needed was freed up!  Most of them preferred to go the pizza route!

For other people (once I went back to working outside the home), I would tell them that I would have time to sew while they did my laundry, ran the dishwasher, watched my six year old, or ran the vacuum cleaner over the living room & dining room carpet (fifteen minutes, tops and it was a house guest of ours) - but either they did that while I sewed or I had to do it and wouldn't have time to sew.  (She went into another room & ignored the six year old and none of the other stuff got done, so I put away the fabric & pattern & never finished the garment.  She griped ONCE - I pointed out that she had to do the stuff so I had "spare time" and she never mentioned it again if it meant giving up HER spare time).

So - my suggestion is to tell the lady that she pays for all the material and either pays for someone to do YOUR housework, etc. while you do the work OR she does your housework herself while you sew (and it will take more than one hour of her doing the housework to barter for one hour of your time because YOU are a skilled seamstress & designer who is going to earn MORE than minimum wage for the work).  People value what they pay for and seem to think that "free" stuff is worth what they paid for it...make her PAY for it, one way or the other.

A former coworker was flummoxed by how long a "simple" top had taken me to make (she'd apparently assumed that I ran the whole thing up in less than an hour) rather than altering the pattern, cutting the fabric, basting it together to try on to make sure that I had the alterations correctly done, then sewing, and doing a couple of specialty finishes including double needle hemming - which took most of one evening off work and a little time the next day because I still had to cook dinner, wash dishes, do a load of laundry, help the kids with homework, and the like instead of JUST the sewing.

So she may be thinking that she's asking for "simple favor" that will take two or three hours, at most, rather than two or three weeks (or even months, not knowing how complicated & detailed the costume is, I cannot begin to guess).  Let her know that it is a MUCH bigger favor than she thinks....and that she is going to be paying for it one way or the other. 

You start working after she's deposited X many hours into doing your chores for you (at least one hour or so - to get a feel for whether or not you'd be happy with her laundry & housecleaning standards). 

« Last Edit: October 15, 2013, 11:22:40 AM by VorFemme »
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Tierrainney

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Re: Acquaintance wants me to sew an intricate costume for her?
« Reply #14 on: October 15, 2013, 11:25:21 AM »
I;m jumping in to agree with pretty much everyone else so far. If she asks directly, just say no. If she doesn't ask but only hints, just ignore.

One thing I learned on Etiquette Hell that you may have seen in other posts is don't J.A.D.E

J= justify
A= argue
D= defend
E = Explain

In other words. If you give excuses, people will come up with fixes. When what you really mean is I don't want to do this for you ever. THis has helped me in the past.
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