Life Advice



Ask Amy: People-pleaser is left in stitches

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: I am a people pleaser, volunteering at a nonprofit that helps Afghan refugee women. We provide fabric and a space with sewing machines where they can come and work. Lately, these women are making items that they may be able to sell.

Recently, “Kara” contacted us and asked us to create a copy of a dress she had.

She told me that if we figured out how to make this, we could let the Afghan women make and sell them. She provided fabric for the copy.

I spent six hours figuring out how to make the item and documenting it with photos and instructions. I then made a sample.

I have been a professional seamstress, but I’m also a soft touch. I never charge as much as the work is worth.

In this case, I intended to ask Kara to give a donation to the charity so we could purchase more fabric. One hundred dollars didn’t seem out of line.


As it turns out, Kara loved what I did and wore the sample out the door.

I gave her instructions and the pattern pieces, and she gave me $20 to donate to the charity.

She also told me that she and a friend might make these dresses and sell them.

(I did tell her that I thought the project was not going to work for the Afghan women.)


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