The Day a Stranger Showed Up At My Door Holding a Wedding Dress

Sewing, like other handicrafts, might be a dying art. At the very least, people confuse utilitarian sewing, like hemming and alterations, with sewing for enjoyment.

Photo credit: SewCanShe.

I write a sewing blog to help people learn to sew and to share my love for making beautiful things. But I also write it to have somewhere to express my thoughts about having skills that are needed but undervalued.

For example, one day before the school year ended for my kids, I was home alone, working away in my studio, and the doorbell rang. That was strange.

I could see someone I didn’t know standing there through the window. Even stranger, she was holding a wedding dress. The strangeness turned to dread.

Photo credit: SewCanShe.

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. I’m an introvert. We had lived in our house for over two years, and I barely knew my neighbors. I probably should have asked, ‘Which neighbor?’

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

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

Photo credit: SewCanShe.

But I could only panic because someone I’d never met and bunches of satin and lace were staring me in the face. I love sewing but have no time or desire to do other people’s alterations. Am I obligated to do something just because I might be able to?

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

‘Really?’ she asked.

‘Yes. Sorry!’ I replied.

She walked away, and I closed the door.

Photo credit: SewCanShe.

I felt so guilty. Maybe she was a desperate mother, and I failed her. Or maybe she thought quilters are people you can pop in on, toss dresses at, and pick the dresses up a few days later for $20.

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

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