January 1, 2017

On why I’m finally OK with saying No


It’s hard saying no. Sometimes when you don’t feel able to say No, it isn’t even really a ‘yes’ instead, its a sort-of ‘oh damn, I feel mean for wanting to say no, the thing won’t take long and it’ll be less sucky doing the thing than the bad feeling of saying no and then the awkward feeling of not knowing whether I need to justify the ‘no’ or just settle into the feeling of being a total muppet for not just doing it in the first place…’

This isn’t just an elaborate explanation of why I’m no longer doing any alterations or repairs (although true) or why I will never again accept the invitation to ‘quickly make up some curtains’ (I won’t); this is my final admission to myself that I have wandered too far from the path, and I’m making some changes. I’ve decided to be the decision maker and I’m making the decision to re-focus my time.

It’s not just the turn-ups and the button sewing and the zip fixing, though these are genuinely not enjoyable aspects of my trade; I’m sorry to admit it’s the wedding dresses. The beautiful, elaborate, lovingly designed and hand finished dreamy gowns of wonder. Those show stopping visions which are equal parts incredible and terrifying to create.
There was never really a time that I decided to ‘do’ bridal, as they say, people just kept asking me if I could make their dream dress and I genuinely only said yes to the ones I really wanted to make. Now and then someone asks you to rip-off a £2000 designer dress within their £500 budget and you say no without feeling bad, but in all other cases, it’s hugely exciting and flattering being called upon for the job, and what a beautiful, creative and fabulous number of brides I have now dressed.
I am still working to complete my affordable ready-to-wear wedding collection, and my dresses will always be available for bridesmaid commissions, but I’m calling time on bespoke wedding dresses because the sheer volume of time and expectation involved is stopping me from furthering my original sewing goals. My actual dressmaking dreams never included wedding gowns and so 2016 is where it ends.

I genuinely want to thank all of these beautiful brides for believing in me and giving me the opportunity to make their incredible dresses in some of the best fabrics ever woven.
Join me in my indulgent mini-retrospective of my brief accidental foray into the business of bridal couture

Credits to the following photographic talents:
‘Leanne and Harry’ Brian Robinson Photography
‘Celine and Will’ Victoria Walker Photography
‘Lindsay and Steve’ Assassynation
‘Emma and David’ Enchanted Brides Photography
‘Becky and Jake’ PhotoBrook Photography

4 Comments on “On why I’m finally OK with saying No

January 1, 2017 at 2:58 pm

It’s liberating when you get to this point, isn’t it? I got there after several years of saying yes to everything just because I needed the money or I didn’t want to let someone down. Unfortunately at the time I was so disheartened by sewing that I gave it up all together. I’m so happy that I found my way back to it about 18 months ago and I’m loving it more than ever. Now I say no to every single request from anyone else, I sew for me and no one else because I refuse to feel that pressure again.
Good luck with your new approach, I hope it makes you a lot happier with your sewing! xx

Cathy Thomas
January 1, 2017 at 4:37 pm

It really is a weight off, Cate, yes! It’s been so encouraging to know that so many people identify with this too! I don’t know what the future holds, who does? But I know what it doesn’t, and thats soothing all by its self :)
Thank you for sharing your experience too X

Anne Tornabene
January 1, 2017 at 3:36 pm

Well done for making a decision never easy. Look forward to see your posts and what you are doing. Happy New Year

Cathy Thomas
January 1, 2017 at 4:34 pm

Thank you so much Anne, you have always been so supportive! I have a couple of new plans which I’m excited about :)


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