Monday, April 2, 2012

Sewing For Others...

Hello Lovelies!

Okay I get asked this question so many times a day, LOL so I am answering and asking at the same time for you guys. I normally do not sew for others BUT on rare occasions I will take on some projects for fun but it cuts into my own personal sewing time, lol

The OTHER reason I don't normally sew for others is because most people don't realize that having something made just for you costs more then buying at a store. Its sometimes cheaper for me because I am not paying for my own time ;-) so the only cost to me is the material. 

So here is my question to you...

Would you pay more to have something that not everyone can readily purchase even if it costs more?
Pro: You have a piece made that not everyone with in a 30 miles radius of F21 has
Con (to some): You will pay for it..lol


I was asked today by several followers about making them the black maxi I wore today and so my answer/question is, would you pay $185 for that skirt because that is how much I would charge to go buy the fabric & sew it? then you have to pay for shipping.

What say you? 

xoxo
mimi g.




62 comments:

  1. I want to see how many people would actually pay you for this. It looks just as great as a maxi skirt by Alice + Olivia and the like. The problem I have with people is that they **ASSUME** just because you're sewing it for them, they're getting a cut-rate knockoff. Sometimes I want to beat folks over the head with a bat to make them understand that just because my garment was not mass produced in a garment production facility that it's just as (if not more) fabulous that what they see in stores.

    You can tell this is a real issue for me.

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    1. Erica you are not alone with this issue :) I had one person to tell me what I was going to do and when they was coming to pick it up. Well, I wonder if she ever got it? LOL

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    2. My standard answer is "No, but I can teach you to sew" Haven't had one taker yet!

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    3. LOL! Alas my sista!!!! SPEAK! (in a language only we understand!) LOL!

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    4. Erica B-

      You are right. My mother and grandmother sew and all the things that they have made and make for me are FAB. People often ask me where I bought it from and they take way more time and put more effort in their garment than the things that are mass produced in the factor. Their clothes are made with love.

      Folks don't get it. My grandmother used to do alterations and can make anything. My mother on the other hand is absolutely excellent at making garments and alterations. She has an eye for anything but she feels like mimi g. Folks are a headache and want Walmart prices for tailored garments. WOW :)

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  2. Exactly, which is why I had to put it into perspective. I have always understood that having something made/tailored is always more expensive, even as a kid I knew that but most don't get that part. My skirt is better than Alice + Olivia because A+O is mass producing in a factory and I am taking NO shortcuts in construction. Some folks get it and will pay for the work but most think it should cost the same as a F21 skirt and it DOES NOT. I don't mind being asked because I just tell them how much it would cost and half the time that will do it, lol but some get it and appreciate the craft.

    P.S. LOL @ "real issue" lol

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    1. I sew for people. I have regular customers and I am mobile I go to the customer. I once was getting taken advantage of but got hip to the game and made a price list and didn't hear from those people who were cheap. I write out contracts and tell them the charge up front and remind them 2 have the money when I deliver. I have made a suede dress for a lady and I made designs according to her ideas and she has curves (50 inch hip) small waist anyway she knows everything I make can range from 80 to 150 becuase she can't get it in a store. But the moment I make something for a person and my mood changes I don't sew for them anymore & i put it in writing or tell them. I use the money I make to travel or spend when I travel. The day I start hating it I will stop but for now I have been doing it for 6 plus years. But people will be cheap and will try you & get deposits and collect cash, money order, paypal and a signature. Check out my blog of what I have sewn for myself and 1 customer www.syl-letitibesew.blogspot.com

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    2. I love your work and I just found your blog yesterday. I would definitely pay your price and not only get one but two (hopefully you will be taken more orders :)...just by looking at the picture, I can tell the skirt is extremely well made, it is such beautiful work. I am a beginner at sewing and would hope that my work will one day be as beautiful as yours.

      Olivia B.

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    3. I just came across your blog yesterday and I love your work. I understand what you are saying, I would definitely pay your price for that skirt, it is extremely well made, and the quality is excellent. You do such beautiful work, I am a beginner sewer and hope that one day my work would be as beautiful. I wish I could have found your blog earlier, so I could have ordered two of those skirt but maybe I can try and make one. :)

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  3. I understand this...& that is part of the reason I want to start sewing again (or learning to). There are alot of designers here in St. Louis who have "lines" & they charge up to $200..but lets just say that their clothing isn't very versatile (mostly really tight, stretchy, short dresses or leggings) no shirts, skirts, nothing like what you make...anywayz I love your blog.

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  4. I agree! I VERY rarely sew for others because my time is so limited. To make it worth my while, I would need to charge at least $70-80 per hour and most people would NEVER pay that much, especially for something that was time consuming to make. So I just say no.

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  5. I don't sew woul love 2 learn, but I totally understand your point of view. People assume b/c the cost of materials may not b tht much tht they can get I for a low price. The time, effort & skill is what counts. U get what u pay for. I once bought an xpensive dress from Cache & it was so poorly & slopply made, so I understand mas produced. So yes I agree w/ur post & the cost of the maxi, u r ncredibly talented & such skill does not come cheap. To know this would be one of a kind, fitted 4 ur body, u can't put a price on tht. Now if u ever do accept request I will definetly pay for your version of the MK dress!

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  6. Can't wait to learn to sew this well! That skirt is totally worth whatever you are charging!
    designerdrop.wordpress.com

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  7. This skirt is really something, love it. You are right, people think, that clothes that are made specialy for them, should cost the same if you were bought it in a store, whith hundreds like it. I live in Portugal and the mentality is the same. they don´t apreciate the time we spend making one peace of clothing, they only see the final result. sorry if my english is not perfect. Fernanda

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  8. As someone who does sew for others for a living, I can tell you that there will be many who will approach you to make things, with no idea of how much it costs. Those people are not insulting you - they just don't know. As a rule, I always tell people that if you can find it in a store, buy it! I make the things you can't find. I also think it is important to tell people that it isn't a "You can't afford me" issue, as much as an "I can't afford to work for that fee" issue. We would all love closets full of custom made clothes, but, alas, that just isn't practical for most. Good lessons are expensive, too. Oh well!

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  9. As someone who does sew for others for a living, I can tell you that there will be many who will approach you to make things, with no idea of how much it costs. Those people are not insulting you - they just don't know. As a rule, I always tell people that if you can find it in a store, buy it! I make the things you can't find. I also think it is important to tell people that it isn't a "You can't afford me" issue, as much as an "I can't afford to work for that fee" issue. We would all love closets full of custom made clothes, but, alas, that just isn't practical for most. Good lessons are expensive, too. Oh well!

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  10. I totally agree with you. I get asked all the time to sew for others. I usually answer an emphatic "No." When they ask why I tell them "I make a boutique quality garment and I expect a boutique price!" That answer always works.

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  11. I'm one of the people that asked for the skirt to be made and I'm the type of person who totally believe you get what you pay for. I respect that the material and the time you put into the skirt is cruical to the price. $185.00 is a bit steep but the quality is good.

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  12. Folks refuse to accept stuff outside their comfort zone. I don't normally sew/crochet/craft for people outside my family but if I do.... I make them come with me to the fabric store to pick out and pay for the fabric, pattern and all notions. Then I make them cut out their own pattern and sit with me while I cut and sew it up (no one touches my stuff.... NO ONE!!!!). That's usually enough to make folks realize what goes into garment creation and appreciate the effort skill and time it takes.

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  13. LOL! Now see I wouldn't personally pay you $185 for a skirt because I know I can make it for much less but I have to admit I like your strategy. And I believe I'm going to adopt the same strategy. Yep I think that's what I'm gonna do. I'm curious, how did you arrive at that price? And another question, how on earth do you find so much time to sew? LOL

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  14. ^^^^ I'm in Stl...

    Mimi ~ girl I understand and I aint mad atcha...I JUST started sewing and people are already asking what I can do for them...ummmmmm, If I can do it, please know that my time costs. By the way the skirt was BEE-U-ful! So much you can do with it...

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  15. LOL! Now see I wouldn't personally pay you $185 for a skirt because I know I can make it for much less but I have to admit I like your strategy. And I believe I'm going to adopt the same strategy. Yep I think that's what I'm gonna do. I'm curious, how did you arrive at that price? And another question, how on earth do you find so much time to sew? LOL

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  16. I'd say it's worth it...not only b/c of the exclusivity of having something that others won't readily have, but the fact that having it sewn for you affords the ability to have a garment personally tailored to your measurements. I understand (in a general sense) the fact that it costs more to do what you do - a friend of mine makes suits (even makes trips to Ghana for his fabrics) & they look just as good, if not better than Armani, but yes, they cost.
    I greatly appreciate and respect your gift! You inspire me to maybe take up sewing - it'd be nice to be able to make pieces exactly how I want it.
    Thanks - love your blog!

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  20. I would gladly pay $185 for that skirt because your skills are impeccable! You really do a wonderful job on everything you make. But I truly understand your side as well. You are a mother and a wife. You have to have time for yourself and your family and taking orders for others would take away a big chunk of that time. If you ever consider sewing for others though, let me know. I would gladly pay you for your time and expertise. This skirt would be my first investment. Keep up the good work!

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  21. I don't sew, but I understand what you mean by the time and workmanship that goes into making something. My mom sews for me and although she doesn't "charge" me, I still "give her something" for her time. By the time I do that I've ended up spending the same, if not more, on an outfit that I could have bought at the store. BUT, the compliments I receive on having an outfit that is unique and custom fit to me that NO ONE else has is worth it as far as I'm concerned.

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  22. Mimi, I feel you beasause I am a fellow SEAMSTER and I get asked all the time to make prom gear, quince dresses, etc. And people don't realize customized and couture garments cost. I have to first sketch the garment( or have a visual), buy the fabric, pattern it
    (garment) out, sometimes make a muslin garment for fit and then make the garment. That's hard work! Not to mention the cutting. People jus don't understand the time that goes into the sewing craft. Thank you for letting it be known That mass production and one of a kind pieces are produced differently, and it takes a lot of time and care and love that put in every stitch, seam, and garment that F21 and other mass pro places don't do. Thanks for shedding light on this issue

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  23. I agree with the comments above. I Have always thought that this blog of yours ,Mimi, was meant to be an encouragement to others to inspire them to sew on their own. At least that was my impression. If they took the time to sew on their own, they would find it really rewarding on so many levels. Thanks for the awesome blog. I know it has lit a fire under me to get sewing! LOL!!!

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  24. I used to do custom sewing, but it takes a lot of time if you are going to do a good job, and it was actually taking up too much of my time. I did not have a problem with my clientele, because when I quoted my price, those that can do. . .
    It was too much work and I just was not enjoying it anymore, so I stopped. Meet a former client recently while shopping and she asked me if I had resumed custom sewing and I told her no. Still enjoy sewing, but no more clients for me.

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  25. I agree with you 100% Mimi. I make jewelry and some fail to realize that creating a piece can be time comsuming and costly depending on what materials you choose to work with. A side note....you have sparked my interest in picking up sewing again!! It's been years since I last sewed anything, but that lingering interest has always been there!! :)

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  26. This is why I bought myself a sewing machine and am going to learn to do some basics. I paid alot more than I wanted to in Armani Exchange for a very nice orange maxi. I want a few more but not willing to pay that price again. I can't make a maxi like yours but what I can do is make a few easy maxi skirts and buy a fabulous belt! :-)

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  27. I personally would not pay that much for that skirt. However, I agree that it is totally worth that or even more. But there are individuals who are willing to spend that amount on clothes. I think your plan of just telling people how much it cost and gauging there interest is a great way to go about it.

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  28. *mimi done gone a pushed that button*
    My friend's mom asked me to make a pant suit for her and i was really on the fence about telling her yes because it will require a toile and at least two fittings to get the fit just right. Then she said to me let me know how much you're gonna charge...I didn't even answer her because honestly I have no idea what to tell her and I know that the fit she'll get from me will be much better than what a regular seamstress/tailor would give her.

    @Erica I think it's a real issue for a lot of people who sew for themselves

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    1. you can depend on more than two fittings for sure. it is time time-consuming and you should definitely get quality pay for quality work. Tell her no.

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  29. I totally understand as my mom is a seamstress and folks have always tried to get massed produced prices from her. It's time consuming and you are getting a custom fit, so you have to pay for that. Same as handmade jewelry designers who charge more than F21 does for their jewels. Now when I'm balling, sure I'll pay you. lol But of course, don't lower your prices for broke, regular folks like me.

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  30. I am smaller on top than I am on the bottom, actually there is a HUGE difference and it is difficult to find clothes that fit well. LOL I am the epitome of thick. So, to answer your question, yes I would pay more for something that is custom made for the following reasons:

    1. The fit would be just for me, thus perfect.
    2. I would use material and prints that are unusual for that style. I have a lot of African material that I would love to have made into pencil skirts and jumpsuits that fit my body perfectly.
    3. I like to support people who love what they do and do what they love, well.

    That being said, I completely understand your position. I make beautiful, tasty cakes that I put a lot of time and love into. Very few people are willing to pay for my time and effort, they only want what they want at a *cheap* price. I make my cakes for immediate family and close friends because of this.

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  31. I would totally pay it because being a creative myself I understand that you get what you pay for. Custom pieces such as yours go far beyond a normal item you may pick up at your local f21. There is time and love and attention to detail that you get in a custom piece that you just dont get anywhere. Mimi, your pieces are worth it and even more!

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  32. Mimi, one's got to handle their business by any means necessary. Indeed our sewing time could never be replaced and this is why it's a VALUABLE PLAYER :)

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  33. Girl, that skirt is hot!! I would gladly pay, but I wouldn't do it that often. For an 'every now and then purchase', I would splurge. I understand though, as it does take away from your personal time. What is your take on me taking sewing classes from the local franchise fabric store?

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  34. When I was MUCH younger I used to sew for people because I wanted to share the wealth so to speak. However, I quickly learned that people often don't appreciate the time, love and energy that goes into creating these garments. My time is extremely valuable to me so when someone gets an attitude with me because they believe they should just pay for materials or that I should use my 40% coupon to purchase their materials and I should just be happy to do it or when they can't be bothered to come to fittings because they are too busy it's a hint and a half that that is something I should not be involved in. These days I just sew for myself with the occassional project for my husband (lifetime membership) and my children although I've stopped sewing for the older girls (24 and 18) because once I offer to teach you to sew and you turn me down, it just shows me that it's the prestige of having custom clothing you're after rather than appreciation for the joy and process of creating.

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  35. I just found your blog, and I just fell in love with it! I dont sew many clothes but I have done quite a few weave sew ins. People would see my hair and actually want to pay $50 or less for an install, cut and style. #not I do agree with the person above, its not that im unaffordable but my time is worth more than a nominal fee.

    @sewtellme...I would love to be your apprentice. I need to perfect my sewing skills.

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  36. I think you should charge that and then some! Seriously, $180.00 is a deal when you look at what couture costs. But I understand you're sewing for yourself and that's your preference. That's how I feel with my sewing. Sometimes I'll sew for my kids. But it's for me. Happily and selfishly! :) Just wish I were as good as you are!

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  37. First, I must admit that I have not read through all the comments, so I am sorry if I am repeating anything. But from what I read most people do not sew for others due to cost. I, however, do sew for others. I went to school for apparel design so it is more than just a hobby for me. I really only sew everyday clothes for myself and my husband (he's earned it). While right now I am getting paid to be an at home sewer for a company that makes body building posing suits, I will take on the odd costuming job here and there. I tend to charge less than I probably should and that is because I just want to make others happy and look great. Sometimes it probably works out to me making less than $5.00 an hour to sew, other times $25-$30 an hour. It just depends on what it is I am sewing and I am okay with that! But you are completely right, people absolutely do not understand what actually goes into sewing something and I definitely see you point. It's why I only sew costumes not everyday clothes for others.

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  38. I love how you said it cuts into my own personal sewing time, lol. I am a knitter and I feel so bad telling others that but the truth is the light. I love your blog. Not really a sewer but I am really trying.

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  39. First, the skirt is gorgeous and $185 is a great price for it. Second, I've sewn for other people for years. But in the past five years have given serious thought to not sewing for other people because of the stress. Most people have no idea the amount of time and specialized care/skill that goes into making a garment for someone. In the end, the burden is not worth the pay.

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  40. I agree with you about sewing for others. I did it a few times and do not want to do it again. People do not realize the stress that goes with it. As a sewer (I can't say seamstess yet :)I try to make everything as perfect as I would want it. I do not feel people are willing to pay for that perfection. They expect a Nordstrom skirt for a Dollar tree price. No ma'am- maybe for fam, unless it is my SIL, who has her own machine.
    LOL
    I had a sewing class/party once a month for ladies at our church but it fell off due to lack of participation. However, when they see my outfits, they request me to make them one. Of course you know the answer to that :)

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  41. You bet! And I already own the fashion fashion -- 3 1/2 yds @ 56" wide in aubergine silk satin and 4 1/4 yds @45 (2 pcs) silk charmeuse ~$200 at Metro Textiles in NYC. Because of the wide waist, I would need it interfaced and soft boned. I would want a padded wide hem, maybe horsehair, a hand picked hem (although I would prefer a hidden placket overlap. I would also like a silk long A-line slip. I'm sure I could think of some more items. All this time and notions for a custom fit formal/elegant casual skirt -- $185 is a steal.

    I would love to take you up on it, but I live in Maui, and the logistics would be challenging. Unless of course, if you are already coming to HI and wouldn't mind spending a few extra days at my place. tee hee

    LindaNan

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  42. I sure would, and I already own $200 of aubergine silk satin and claret silk charmeuse from Metro Textiles in NYC. I would need a soft boned interfacing for the wider belt, a wide padded hem, an A-line long slip and a hand picked zipper although I would prefer a wide overlap placket. I am sure I could come up with other specs. So, $185 for the additional supplies and your time for a custom formal/elegant casual skirt? No problem. In fact it's a steal.

    Sadly, I don't think we can get together. I live in Maui, and the logistics would be challenging. Unless of course, you are planning a visit to Hawaii, and would want to stay a few extra days at my place. LOL

    LindaNan

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  43. For what the agony I go through in shopping retail, I'd be VERY willing to pay for fabric and someone's time. I wouldn't have a closet full of custom pieces, but I would GLADLY pay top dollar for a timeless garment that fits me and my curves. I'm sorry for all you seamsters who have had ppl try to get over on you. They're killing it for the rest of us who love and admire your work.

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  44. Yes, I would pay $185 plus shipping. The time, energy and supplies for the skirt warrant that amount. And like many have mentioned, it's a handmade piece that not many folks will have.

    On a different note, I found your blog on Pinterest and I love it!

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  45. When I have the extra funds, I have no problem going on Etsy and some of the other sites like it to find one of a kind pieces. I don't want something like I can find in the stores. If I'm going to pay top dollar for something, it needs to be unique.

    I will learn to sew once I'm done with grad school and I look forward to making some of my own clothes.
    I don't blame you for not wanting to sew for others or at least making it a rarity.
    There's a reason most people don't make their own clothes anymore: it's hard work!

    Since we have a lot of "flash retailers" (isn't that what Forever 21 and H&M are categorized as?) who can make dresses and such for $20-30, people are not willing to pay $100+ for something that can be obtained for $20-30.

    I'll definitely be subscribing because it looks as if you are a queen on the sewing machine. =)

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    1. Thank you so much for reading my blog :-) and for your input!

      xoxo

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  46. I. Love. This.!!! You have amazing style. I can't get over it !

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  47. My mother sewed for my 2 older sisters and I throughout our childhoon and even teenage years. I can still see my mother hunched over the sewing machine, undoing seams until they were perfect..countless fittings. The time and passion she poured into everything she made was priceless. People took advantage of that passion until she became spent and ultimately lost the passion and now no longer sews.
    People try to undervalue the time and energy it takes to create their vision. Glad this blog is here to bring light to the work and passion behind every stitch.

    Enamored by your work!
    Mrs. Makeup:)

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  48. Wow, most of the replies I've read (didn't have time to read them all I have a newborn and an 21 month old) have great information. As someone who fell into reading your blog from Pinterest, Mimi, you have a great blog here! I really love how you respond to everyone, I read a lot of blogs (when I have time) and no one ever responds to comments.
    I am definitely one of those ignorant people everyone is talking about. I have no idea how much stuff cost to make and I wish I could sew as beautifully as this! I just ordered some fabric and can't wait to try making the pencil skirt from your tutorial.
    I am way more in the "know" now about how much it cost to make handcrafted pieces. And I'll realize how precious the time is when I sit down to actually try and sew my skirt. Although, I do have some idea about time being precious...I have no idea when my boys are going to actually let me do it. ;)

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  49. I was wondering if this is your own design? Is there some where that I can get the pattern? I love it and would love to take this on myself

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  50. I was going to ask the same question as right able. I love the skirt and wouldn't mind setting time aside to sew it, it's fabulous!

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Thank you for taking time to comment ;-)

xoxo
mimi g.