The day a stranger showed up at my door holding a wedding dress for me to hem


Sewing is a dying art. I’m sure you agree. I write this blog mostly to help people learn to sew and enjoy making beautiful things. But I also write it so I can have somewhere to express odd thoughts. Like the feeling of having skills that are needed but undervalued.

For example…

A few months ago before the school year ended for my kids I was home alone, working away in my studio, and the doorbell rang. That was strange.

Through the window I could see someone I didn’t know standing there. Even stranger.

And she was holding a wedding dress. The strangeness turned to dread.

When I opened the door, before I could even say anything, she blurted out:


‘I’m friends with your neighbor. She told me that you sew. My daughter needs this wedding dress hemmed.’

Panic filled me. I’m sure that I didn’t respond in the way that I should have.

But you know me, I’m an introvert. We’ve lived in this house for over 2 years and I barely know my neighbors. I guess I should have asked ‘which neighbor?’

Or maybe I should have asked how much she was expecting to pay to have her daughter’s wedding dress hemmed.

What’s the going rate for that? I’m sure I have no idea.


But with someone I’d never met before (and bunches of satin and lace) staring me in the face all I could do was panic. I love sewing but I have no time or desire to do other people’s alterations. Am I obligated to do something just because I can?

So as nicely as I could I informed her that I make quilts not formal wear, and there is an alterations shop next to the grocery store down the road.

‘Really?’ she asked.

‘Yes. Sorry!’ I replied.

She walked away and I closed the door.


I felt so guilty. Maybe she was a desperate mom and I failed her. 

Or maybe she thought seamstresses are people you can show up to, toss dresses at, and pick them up a few days later for $20.

I guess I’ll never know because I panicked and didn’t find out.

What would you have done? Do you ever feel like your skills are needed but undervalued so you hesitate? Tell us in the comments! 


p.s. In case you were wondering: I didn’t take pictures of the lady, lol! That’s my daughter holding 2 dresses and a curtain – we were trying to ‘fake’ a wedding dress. 🙂

Disclosure: some of my posts contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through one of those links I may receive a small commission, so thank you for supporting SewCanShe when you shop! All of the opinions are my own and I only suggest products that I actually use. 🙂