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Why I Sew // KCW

why I sew: Sarah

It’s Sarah from The Crazy Tailor back again with the last post for this season’s Kid’s Clothes Week! I’ve definitely not been leading by example for the actual sewing portion of this season. I did have good intentions, but you know, life and all. I’ve been enjoying reading the various thoughts and motivations of my co-contributors, and although I love reading those stories of “why I sew” I’m not very good at writing them. Actually, I’d rather just sew than write. Ha! So here’s my meager attempt to nail down exactly why I do love sewing so much.

I think, looking back, that I really inherited my love of “making” from my mom. I know I told you that she really, really detested sewing, but there were so many other things that she loved! She had us try cross-stitching, needlepoint, rug-hooking (does anyone remember those? We would make pillows out of them?? Ugh.) painting ceramics, making anything and everything out of paper. She loved to make gifts for family and friends. This grew out of a desire to give, but as a single parent, she didn’t have much to spare for buying – so we crocheted washcloths and made personalized stockings. Once we got our first desktop computer, a whole new world opened up for my mom! She currently owns her own custom rubber stamp business and is, as always, creating one-of-a-kind items for others. She turned her creativity into a livelihood! So obviously, my mom influenced me a lot.

Sewing is something I’ve been drawn to because I can really make it my own. I know what I like style-wise, but finding clothes for my kids that they like, that I like and that are modest is really getting difficult. Although I do like my finished garments to look as store-bought as possible (some people pride themselves on making things that are very unique – and that is wonderful! but not my style), I enjoy being able to put a spin on things, or take my children’s preferences into consideration.

The NUMBER ONE reason I sew is: a lack of quality, modest and affordable clothing for my kiddos, mostly my daughter. A quick stroll through your local Target will offer you mini skirts, cheetah prints, sass-emblazoned shirts and shortie shorts. Um, no thanks. I love a lot of Gap kids clothes, but hello? I can’t even fathom spending that much on one pair of jeans. Also, sewing is not always the cheapest route, but I love to recycle clothes, so there’s that. I do love to thrift shop, so I don’t make all of their clothes, but mostly dresses and skirts for my daughter, and outerwear. I really love making outerwear!

The second reason I sew: it’s a stress-buster! Sometimes I just need to go down to the basement and be by myself and create. I’m an introvert, so this is my jam. Totally.

Third thing: I’ve started sewing much more since I’ve been a stay-at-home mom. I think the need to complete  something is what drives me! I used to work in the service industry as a seamstress in tailor shops and there were always deadlines, bridal gowns to be finished, fittings scheduled. But once you’re a mom, it seems that nothing is ever finished. That’s how it feels to me! I need some instant gratification, or at least, something that I can finish in a couple of midnight sewing sprees!

So that was a little bit random and meandering, but I hope you got the gist of it. If you had someone that influenced your desire to sew, call them up and thank them! Your creativity makes world a happier place! And I’ll leave you with a good ole Ryan Gosling meme:

why I sew

image source, tumblr

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!

upcycle after: skirts & dresses

upcycle after: skirts and dresses

I’m back again with some creative and easy upcycles! I’m taking the skirts and dresses today, and you’ll see pants, leggings, tops, jackets and who knows what else in the coming days! Skirts are probably one of the easiest things to make out of almost anything – tea towels, pillowcases, old curtains, anything!

Sometimes you need to look at that overflowing linen closet with a fresh eye, or snoop through hubbies closet for some never-worn shirts, or just take a trip through the sweaters at the thrift store. Inspiration usually strikes me at the strangest times – usually when I’m doing laundry, haha! I’ve rounded up some skirts made from all types of other textiles, but look beyond these to what you have on hand.

KCW Upcycling

 1. sweatpants to skirt, It’s Always Autumn 2. easy shirt to skirt upcycle, infarrantly creative 3. easy baby skirts, Delia Creates 4. 10-minute skirt, Make It & Love It

T-shirts are one of the best garments to upcycle. You can often use the original hem so that’s a time-saver (unless you love using your double needle. Oh. You don’t? Me neither!) Another great (and easy) idea is using too-short pants and turning them into a skirt!

KCW upcycle

1. pants to skirt transformation, The Crazy Tailor 2. tea towel skirt, Welcome to the Mouse House

And how about some dresses? I gave you a few as inspiration last week, but there are so many out there! Since dresses need a tad more fabric than a skirt, you can be on the lookout for cute sheets or curtains (clearance sheets at Target? Yes, please!), billowy skirts from the thrift store…

KCW upcycling

1. playdate dress tutorial, Craftiness is not Optional 2. pants to dress refashion, Mabey She Made It 3. tie-back tshirt dress, It’s Always Autumn 4. Norah Dress upcycle, Mabey She Made It

Honestly. That gorgeous white dress on the right makes me want to cut up my Ikea kitchen curtains. I have successfully upcycled an old lace curtain for so many different garments – it’s amazing how versatile lace curtains (and curtains, in general) are! My hope is that one of these garments has inspired you to look for the unconventional! Grab that old cotton sheet, pop it in a dye bath and see what happens!