The idea of The Consulting Dressmaker came to me some time ago, when I was reading “A Study In Scarlet”:
“I’m a consulting detective, if you can understand what that is. Here in London we have lots of Government detectives and lots of private ones. When these fellows are at fault they come to me, and I manage to put them on the right scent. They lay all the evidence before me, and I am generally able, by the help of my knowledge of the history of crime, to set them straight… They are all people who are in trouble about something, and want a little enlightening. I listen to their story, they listen to my comments, and then I pocket my fee.” –Sherlock Holmes, to Watson
I’m not a crime-fighter, I’m a sewist and a teacher; Holmes is a little more mysterious and glamorous, but the idea is much the same. I listen to your sewing problems, you listen to my comments, and then I pocket my fee.
When I first started sewing for myself, I wished for someone to watch over my shoulder while I cut and sewed- someone to help me avoid mishaps and help figure out where to go next with my sewing. It never happened. However, I learned I could use my hard-gained knowledge to help other sewists achieve their goals- I spent several years teaching open-ended intermediate sewing classes. (I will be once more from February!)
In the intermediate class, I taught anywhere from 3-14+ students at a time. My students bring their own machine, their projects, and a willingness to work and learn. In return, I teach the very best techniques and concepts I know and create a positive, supportive learning environment. It’s very satisfying to teach a “good” way to do something and know my students will avoid making many of the same silly mistakes I made as a beginner/intermediate sewist. The group atmosphere is fantastic- no stress allowed, and when one person learns to put in an invisible zip, the entire class gets a lesson.
With the glaring exception of helping to pin-fit a garment, I can provide many of the same services to the online sewing community that I do for my Brisbane-based students. That means even if no one within 100 miles of you sews, you can still get personalized sewing guidance and instruction. The Consulting Dressmaker is an umbrella, which covers a variety of possible services depending on your needs. I’ll introduce a few “new” services as I work out the production kinks.
But I have to start somewhere!
The Nitty Gritty: Contact me with your sewing question. I’ll give you the option of “The Short Answer,” “The Long Answer,” or “Custom Answer.” A Short Answer is relatively brief, a Long Answer pushes me a little harder and you get more help and information. Some project answers may take a little more skill or effort on my part, and for those types of questions we can negotiate the pricing.
Appropriate questions include but aren’t limited to:
- Project Planning- (what skills will you need, is this garment a good match for you, is there a nicer/better rated pattern out there, how to focus your time)
- What is it/how does this work out? Simple questions that are hard for Google to answer- such as “are nettle and ramie the same thing?” “How do I make an FBA on this weird pattern piece?” and “how do welt pockets in hemp fabric work out?” (Freebie answer- very badly indeed. Don’t try it.)
- WHAT THE BLEEP IS WRONG WITH MY MACHINE?! I have had a LOT of machine training. I can probably tell you what’s wrong in Short Answer form.
- How Do I Do _____? A short answer will mean me pointing you to the technique or tutorial I use. A long answer would be for a more advanced application of a technique, something juicy and arcane. If I get repeated requests for the same technique, I’ll make a video and share it if applicable.
- Wardrobing Advice- Depending on the individual or the scope, this may be a Long Answer, or could turn into a slightly larger project and we would negotiate the terms.
- I Can Read Your Wrinkles: I found the toughest part of learning to fit my body well was in diagnosing “fit wrinkles” and figuring out how to fix them. I can guide you through this process.
- Style Development- I am not interested in making others into clones of my own style. I firmly believe that personal style is *personal* and I really enjoy helping my students learn to sew garments they’ll treasure. I can do that here, too.
- Encouragement/Slave-Driving- You tell me your project, give me the deadlines and I can help you work out how to complete it in the time given. I’ll happily write you short daily notes of encouragement or humorous prodding like “Are you watching TV right now? Remember, 30 minutes a day on that dress or you’ll go naked to your sister’s wedding!” Encouragement or Slave-Driving, it’s your choice for the cost of a Long Answer.
I will not divulge or share your information in any way. I will acknowledge a request within 24 hours of receipt, and we’ll proceed from there. I absolutely do not know everything and would never pretend to. I will not lie to you. If I don’t know, I’ll tell you so and find the answer. If I can’t help you, I will tell you. If I recommend a technique or a fabric, it is because I know it works. I am willing to barter- a consult for a pattern, or a piece of fabric, or shiny metal shank buttons, or for referrals. Try me!
$5- Short Answer/8 minute Skype consultation
$15- Long Answer/25 minute Skype consultation
$Negotiable- Bigger Projects
These are the prices for now. I will invoice you after our consultation via Paypal. If you don’t like my advice, don’t pay. No hard feelings. However, I will be less interested in questions from those with outstanding invoices than from those who pay for my time.
The Consulting Dressmaker’s Office Hours are 6am-12pm, Thursdays, via Skype (consultingdressmaker). Sometimes it’s easier to talk through these issues rather than write them down. That’s 3pm-9pm Wednesdays EST and 8pm-2am Wednesdays GMT. I’ll be up and drafting during office hours tomorrow, feel free to “drop by” for a short chat. I’d love that! Since tomorrow is the first day, I won’t worry about scheduling, but from next week I’ll be taking proper appointments.
I’m also happy to field questions via email (stephc at 3hourspast dot com) or contact me through twitter (@3hourspast). Your first short answer is free.
I hope I covered the basics and everything makes sense! This service will grow and evolve as I work with you all. In the very near future, I’ll be launching various fitting and pattern drafting services, as well.
3 Hours Past will remain my personal sewing blog, and I’ll still write my opinions on fabrics, patterns and style as before. The Consulting Dressmaker service lives at 3 Hours Past the Edge of the World.
Uncomplicate Your Sewing!