‘When my daughter (28) was one year old, I started making children’s clothes. You try something, sometimes things go wrong, but as I got better at it, I switched to evening wear and wedding dresses. That is a different story: the fabrics are more expensive and often more difficult to process. Especially with wedding dresses, all kinds of special techniques are involved. I learned it all myself, with the help of the internet, though. In the long run, for example, I made prom dresses on commission, for various beauty pageants, for example, and I sold wedding dresses.
“Because my husband and I divorced four years ago, I had to look for a job, because I couldn’t make ends meet by making clothes. Since then I have been working at Schiphol and with a team of four colleagues I help the less mobile passengers to go from check-in to the gate. It is hard work, we walk about twenty kilometers a day, because Schiphol is huge. But it’s great fun, people are often so grateful that you help them.
“Because I always work early shifts, I have time in the afternoon to pick up clothes making. That came to a standstill for a while when I started at Schiphol. I earn enough to live, have no children to take care of and live alone. But if you look at the work we’re doing, I’d love to earn a little more, it’s so intense. But how do you put a price tag on that?”
‘When we still lived together as a family, we went on holiday to Italy or France every year and sometimes weekends away in between. I would love to travel again, but I have yet to see how I am going to fill that in. Traveling alone is a bit scary for me, even though I like to be on my own. Group travel is not really my thing either, I don’t make contact with people that easily. Rather than with a friend. In any case, every now and then I put something aside and I will pay for the rest of the trip with my holiday money next year.
“I like to spend money on fabrics. When I walk through the market and come across a beautiful fabric on sale, I always have to feel. Often I already have something in my head right away, so nine times out of ten I take it with me. So I have quite a few miles of dust lying around. However, it usually doesn’t take me long to get started. Usually it turns out exactly as I imagined.
“I don’t necessarily save for a purpose, but more to have some on hand in case something goes wrong with my car, or if one of my three children needs help. But also if I don’t feel like cooking – that I can order something. This does not happen often, but it is useful to have that space.”
‘It was impossible to make a living from clothes’
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