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Putting The “Stress” In “Seamstress”

, , , , | Right | CREDIT: CyborgKnitter | September 5, 2021

I’m a disabled seamstress. I had to quit working at thirty years old due to a health condition that causes fatigue and extreme pain. I got hosed on disability and live on $900 a month now.

My mom — a seamstress who used to make wedding gowns — taught me how to sew as a kid and I love it. It’s awesome getting to make things exactly how you want them. But my screwed-up nerves aren’t as fond of sewing. It can cause a good deal of pain if I sew for too long.

When the health crisis hits and they announce that fabric masks help, I say f*** the pain; it’s worth it. I begin pumping out masks for family, friends, and some neighbors. I give away the first thirty but start running out of the right supplies, and with money being so tight, I can’t afford more. I ask people to donate $2 per mask if they are financially able to. Some people give more, including my amazing, super sweet neighbor.

[Neighbor] begins asking if I can make masks for her coworkers, and she takes them and mails them for me. Then, one day, [Neighbor] texts me.

Neighbor: “Would you be able to make 100 masks for a company? Someone who ended up with one of your masks loved it and owns a company with about 100 employees. He wants to give each employee a mask.”

The business owner texts me to ask about the order.

Me: “Sure, I can do it. It’ll take me a week or two as I work solo and am disabled. I’d want $5 per mask, as this order is a huge one.”

Many mask sellers on homemade goods sites were charging upwards of $20 PER MASK, so my $5 was dirt cheap.

In the end, the business owner ghosted me. My neighbor finally got her friend — the business owner’s wife — to admit that he found it ridiculous he was being charged more for a big order. The guy wanted them for $1 EACH, and he felt that four days should be sufficient to sew them all. That would have meant killing myself, barely sleeping, and landing myself in a wheelchair for weeks while I recovered, all for the privilege of LOSING $100 on the order. It was heavily implied that as I’m disabled, I should have been grateful he was willing to pay at all.

By now I’m far more aware of what my services are worth. I’ll never again consider a large order without both a slight markup and ample time. It’s simply not worth it!