Djcnor’s Weblog

A Possible Self-Employment Direction

Posted on: March 11, 2009

I’ve wanted to have my own clothing line. I have a concept (which may or may not be practical) which does not really require that I be a designer in the usual sense, just a creator of unique fabrics used traditionally (and that’s as much as I’ll tell you about it unless you want to talk about an investment).

I also don’t have money, but I’ve got a way around that…. I think…an idea of how to start a line on a make-as-it’s-ordered basis.

So I’ve concentrated on learning as much as I can about the ins and outs of such businesses. Lately, a part of that that has been reading about couture hand-sewing techniques, tailoring, and such. I also don’t presently have a working sewing machine.

I have my mother’s, a real beauty except that it’s a US model, and since it has a motor, it would need a special type of transformer that would step down both the voltage and the cycle speed of the electricity. I don’t want to risk burning it out.

I’ve also had the offer of an old manual machine, the type you keep going with a foot treadle rather than electricity, from a neighbor, but I’ve never had the place to put it so I’ve turned it down, so far.

I’ve been very much enjoying the making of the workhouse costume, putting the information and skills I’ve been gathering to use, figuring out how to use a tiny collapsible table for the cutting of Victorian-size pattern pieces, sewing them together by hand, everything.

So I began thinking, wondering really, whether a seamstress business might be an option, with repairs and hemmings and basic commissions being the bread and butter, with costumes and my “line” being why I really set it up.

As if the powers that be were watching, today a taxi driver I had had before (I bring the groceries home in a taxi each week since there are more than would be practical to handle on the bus) told me that he had a suitable transformer and a UK sewing machine going to waste in his garage.

I’ve also taken down the numbers I need to check out the costs of available spaces in my neighborhood. Maybe under present economic conditions, they will be willing to accept less rent. I figure I need 500 sq ft, a good large table, and a decently sturdy sewing machine to make a start of it.

Tomorrow, I’ll check back with the tailoring business that asked if I perhaps did dressmaking. (Will I also need a tailor’s dummy?) I’ll call some dry cleaners and ask if they have someone to do needed repairs. I’ll stop in the ones I pass to see if they have bulletin boards where I could put up a card. And I’ll check and see how many seamstresses/clothing repair people there are in the area.

Mama would be proud if it worked.

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