kcw: mistakes

mistakes: sarah from the crazy tailor

Hey all! Sarah from The Crazy Tailor here to (gasp!) tell you about my mistakes! Ha. It’s a book I could write. As creatives, you know that mistakes are what change us. They push us to try again, be problem-solvers, get even MORE creative. So let’s keep this positive – we need to make mistakes to grow!

I was thinking back to my childhood, when friends of mine were taking sewing lessons. Yes, I was jealous. They were learning how to sew tote bags, shorts, drawstring bags. I was still trying to figure out how to make my Barbie clothes fit. It seemed to me that I needed those lessons! How would I ever learn? My mom showed me the basics, and she made some of our clothes, but she loathed sewing. It was something she did to save money (back in the day when you actually could save money by sewing!). So I kept at it. I made little doll blankets, eventually figured out how to make a tote bag (remember, this was before Pinterest!) and eventually got interested in quilts. I don’t have a picture of the first full-size quilt I made, but let me tell you, I look back at it now, and wonder, what was I thinking? It was even for a competition! Ha, my hand-quilting stitches were so bad. But I did it. And I learned that you just need to be persistent!

I tried to make a few clothing items for myself in my teen years, but I always failed to measure correctly, thus never producing anything that was wearable. I decided that sewing clothes just wasn’t the thing for me, and I worked harder at making beautiful quilts.


Then one day, I got a job at a tailor shop. Well now. I was working with Italian-trained seamstresses. This was something new! I learned SO very much from them about fitting, taking measurements, how to properly reduce shoulders, and correct rise problems. How to do a european hem, and how on earth do you replace a parka zipper? Yes, I made mistakes. I pinned things incorrectly when fitting customers (I never poked a customer, but I did drop pins down my shirt once! But that’s a story for another day…), I cut things too short (really – measure twice!) and altogether learned SO MUCH. I eventually started work at a different shop that did a lot more bridal so I learned a whole new set of skills. I challenged myself to make-over my sister’s wedding dress from a size 12 to a size 8, added a sash and a bustle. From tote bags to wedding dresses – I got out of my comfort zone of quilt-making and kept going!

wedding dress

1. wedding dress, The Crazy Tailor 2. Wedding photo, Joe Alisa

Fast-forward to 4 years ago. I was pregnant with my first, a little girl, and I thought I’d try my hand at making baby clothes! Didn’t use a pattern. Didn’t bother to check into what a newborns chest size for clothing for be, I just eyeballed it. Haha. It didn’t even come close to fitting. Then I slowly began to notice these pdf pattern designers popping up here and there, but it wasn’t until I had my little boy 2 years ago that I actually bought some kids patterns! And I measured my kids! A lightbulb went on! It actually does work to measure twice and then cut! I’ve made a few garments for them that got scrapped halfway through, but for the most part, my sewing lately has certainly turned out far better than I even thought it could!

If you’re like me, and you like to wing it – stop! Sometimes it works, but you’ll have greater results if you take the time to measure every once in a while. I like to print out this chart and fill it out every 3 months or so to keep their measurements fresh in my mind. Go with silhouettes you love. Choose classic colors and fabrics and you really can’t go wrong! But most importantly, don’t give up on your creative dream!

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1 Comment

  • Reply Louisa March 9, 2015 at 12:01 pm

    Thanks for the link to the size chart. I have been known to wing things with occasionally comical results.

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