I hate disappointing people. I really, really do. There is something inside me that wants everyone to like me and what I do, even though I know that is impossible. At some point I'm going to disappoint someone, and that's just reality. That's why I have a hard time saying no to people when they ask me to do something. And that's why I get over-committed and stressed.
For the most part it's just me and my sewing machine. My mother has been a huge help by working on some of my overflow, but recently she has had some health problems and can't do as much. My sister has also jumped in many times, but she doesn't sew to the same degree that I do. So for most of my work it's just little ol' me. Besides making costumes I'm a mother who home schools two children, and my husband appreciates me being a wife from time to time. So I can't afford to always put in 8+ hour days without neglecting the rest of my family.
That's why I've been trying to learn how to say "no" to requests. In the past I've driven myself crazy and worked over 12 hours in a day to complete things that I committed to. In the last 2-3 months I've done costumes for two plays, a large museum event, and several single commissions. Overall I've made somewhere around 40 costumes during that time! Most of it happened at the same time because earlier in the year I said "sure, I can do it." It's a hard lesson to learn that I can't do everything for everyone.
I'm getting more choosy and realistic with my costume business. I have had to turn down commissions because I didn't think I'd be able to complete them by the time the customer wanted them. That's difficult for me because I want to be able to say "yes" to every request. But my family deserves at least as much of my time as my work does, and I need to have some time to myself or I'll go insane.
Thankfully my schedule has calmed down and I can take a little bit of a break before starting on my next project. I'm learning to spread out my work more and to say "no" if I get too many things at once. So if you are in the market for a custom costume, make your request early! I get booked up quickly!