Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Bottom Lines

I picked up my daughter's school skirts today at our local tailor. I had the option of having the uniform company hem them, but decided I could get it done cheaper at our Downtown Tailor, and preferred to give him the business. Besides, I'd save on the shipping costs; but, it turns out that perhaps I should have accepted Donnelly's offer to hem the skirts. Perhaps, at fifteen dollars a pop, I should have done it myself. Yes, fifteen dollars per skirt. Per skirt, are you sure? I asked.

Yessa, we-a sure-a, the tailor said in his thick Italian accent.

I had thought about hemming the skirts myself. And I had been thinking about reintroducing my sewing machinethe very same Singer Confidence machine that I bought last October when my daughter announced that she wanted to be an Ugly Doll for Halloweenafter a minor sabbatical, to thread and fabric.

Up until last year's Halloween, most of the costumes that I had made for my children had been fairly simple, fashioned with hand stitching, velcro, hot glue, or double-sided tape. Really, it's not such a big deal hand stitching fluffy brown dog ears onto the hood of a grey sweatshirt. I rationed that making costumes was less expensive (seriously?) and more unique than purchasing an outfit from a catalog; vastly more satisfying then seeing another trick-or-treater wearing the same costume smeared all over with chocolate.

Only, last October I realized that a costume based on those quirky but adorable Ugly Dolls was going to be a bit of an undertaking. And would also require a bit of an investment. So I did a quick cost-benefit analysisthinking of all the things I could easily whip up, darn, hem and rework, and all the money I'd save doing it myselfand when the Little One shopped around for just the right felt fabric and notions, I grabbed the perfect sewing machine, promising myself that I'd use it more than once. So many projects, so little time... it'll be a snap with the Confidence... and it'll practically pay for itself.

And what fun we had making this costume!

And later reincarnating it as a giant stuffed Ugly Doll...

Did I say minor sabbatical? Well, sort of. The machine has been sitting idle on a basement bookshelf for only nine short months. Where does the time go?

Come to think of it, I'm not really sure that I did consider the sewing machine when I dropped the skirts off at the Downtown Tailor (the one with the uptown prices). I'm not sure if I even contemplated that rudimentary cost-benefit analysis. I vaguely remember that I wanted the skirts hemmed quickly, and skillfully, and at the right price.

Fifteen dollars?

Does this hem look perfectly straight to you?

Are you sure?

Because I must have complete Confidence that I'm getting my money's worth; that the bottom of those skirt lines are absolutely, positively, one-hundred percent faultless. That those cost-benefit calculations of mine are right on. And that I shouldn't have, under any circumstance, done it myself. Anyhow, I couldn't possibly have hemmed them as well as a professional, right?

Cost. Benefit.

Net result:  The hems have to be, simply must be, cheaper than last year's Halloween costume; the level edges of the skirtspure perfection. And, after I dust off the Singer Confidence, this year's costumes will be a real steal.


  1. Oh, Jayne, this makes me smile. When Gabriel was a toddler I made (sewed!) a lion-costume with a mane made from a thousand (at least) ribbons... It was a huge undertaking, and it wasn't cheap! I didn't get quite the joy from it that you did with the Ugly Doll... Now the joy is perusing the costume catalogues. Anyway, well done (And the hem looks great--you made the right choice...).

  2. $15??? What about safety pins? Very functional. Very practical. And no Italian accents to decipher.

  3. Safety pins, Husband? Er - perhaps a tad bit uncomfortable. How would you like safety pins on your pant's cuffs? Alright, well, anything to save a few dollars. ;)

    @Maria: Wow! Don't think I could possibly be that brave... a lion... Go girl!