I’ve posted a few cryptic tweets recently about thinking about becoming self-employed and I thought I’d share my plans with you guys, as some have shown some interest.
You may know that I am a qualified Social Worker with Adults and Older People. My day-to-day job involves me going out and seeing clients, either in the community or in nursing and residential homes, to assess their needs and provide the right support to help them meet their basic needs e.g. hygiene, nutrition etc. As you can imagine, this is a tough environment to work in at the moment with the massive funding cuts from central government. I won’t go into the boring details but basically I got into Social Work to help people and I no longer feel able to do that as my hands are tied by massively limited resources. This frustration with my ‘real’ job and my increasing obsession with sewing and developing skills has made me start to look at what I really want to do with my life. Do I want to spend my days getting frustrated and angry with ‘the system’ and having families shouting at me as I’m offering them a load of rubbish? Not really. Would I like to spend my time doing something I love, which relaxes me as soon as I get a needle and thread in my hand? Yes please.
With this in mind I’ve been thinking about how I can make some money with my new found skills. Here comes a bit of a strange story. Tobi, my husband, was in the pub a little while ago. Now, he’s the kind of person who will talk to anyone, and everyone who meets him seems to tell him their life stories. He got chatting to a group of people and it turned out they were there for a meeting of local people who are interested in fetish and BDSM- see, I told you it was an odd story. Being the proud husband he is, he started talking to them about my sewing skills and how I may be able to help them with some outfits for events etc., bearing in mind I am incredibly open-minded and non-judgmental and wouldn’t ask awkward questions. They seemed genuinely interested and Tobi passed my details along to them. They also gave him the name of a community interest website for this area and I posted on a few groups on the website the next day to see if anyone would be interested in a ‘kink friendly seamstress’. I was blown away by the immediate response. I had people asking me to make wedding dresses for their husband to be, cross-dressers after custom garments and a small shop asking me to do some alterations ready for a photo shoot they were planning.
So, the first job I took on was the alterations for the photo shoot. I had a leather bolero that needed the shoulders taking in by an inch, sleeves shortening by an inch and some embellishments adding. There was also a military style jacket that needed the shoulders taking in. I happily said that this would be no problem whatsoever and then as soon as they left my house promptly googled how to do the shoulder alterations (Henry, if you’re reading this I did know how to do it really! Ha ha). I love the internet and the increasingly popularity of sewing means that you can find a tutorial for any technique you could ever possibly imagine and before I knew it I was unpicking the shoulder seams and perfectly tailored jackets were hanging in pieces. It only occurred to me halfway through the first shoulder alteration on the leather jacket that I was doing an alteration I’d never done before on someone’s brand new real leather jacket that probably cost quite a bit and if I buggered it up I’d probably have to pay for the jacket. Nerves set in at that point and my heart was pounding throughout. Thankfully it turned out perfectly and I had two very happy customers who may be coming back for some more alterations in future.
So this is the very tentative start of developing a career sewing. I’m already struggling as I need continue the ‘real’ job full-time as it pays the bills and when I get home I’m so shattered I don’t want to have to do other people’s sewing- I can barely motivate myself to do my own sewing. But I’m sure this will improve.
We had a round of voluntary redundancies in the ‘real’ job about two and a half years ago and they’re talking about having to do another round. If it’s open to my pay grade I may seriously consider taking it as the small redundancy package could help me set up a proper business. One day I’d love to have a fabric store with room for classes and workshops and a tea room/social area. These are pie in the sky dreams but for now I’ll continue doing the odd alteration and commissioned piece (not just for the kink community btw, I’m happy to do any alterations etc.).