It Doesn’t Have To Be Perfect

Last Thursday, I visited Liza Lucy’s home in New Hope, Pennsylvania. For those of you that don’t know Liza, she is a very important piece of the Kaffe Collective puzzle. She makes most of the quilts and plays a key role on the team wearing many hats.

On the day of my visit, Kaffe Fassett and Brandon Mably were there too which obviously made it a very special day…..for me. Below is the link to a Facebook Live video that we taped while I was there. It is very special if you are a Kaffe Collective fan and you won’t want to miss it. It’s pretty cool even if you aren’t a fan if I couldn’t say so myself.

Anyway, around 19 minutes into the video, I asked the team about being a perfectionist when making quilts and I was very pleased with what I heard. I think you will be happy and relieved too. After they all chuckled about being perfect, this was some of what was said:

  • Kaffe Fassett said, “Perfection doesn’t interest me. It’s sterile.”
  • Brandon Mably said, “Don’t be such a purest and enjoy yourself. Life is too short.”

I noticed that a lot of the people watching the Facebook live appreciated the comments about perfection and were happy to hear it from these guys no doubt. It’s one thing if you are competing in a contest or something like that where the details are super critical. On the other hand, if you are just making a quilt for personal use or a gift, you really shouldn’t stress yourself out about every little fine detail. For the most part, people are looking at quilts from afar and not up super close.

Perfection will prove to be a roadblock for you if you let it get in your way and make you crazy. So take it from these guys and keep moving. In the end, you will probably feel better about being more productive over being perfect. Just sayin’!

Are you in the perfectionist? If so, will you be able to heed this advice?

Have a great week.

Imperfect Scott


  • Tammy Arp

    I watched and thoroughly enjoyed your FB Live visit with Liza, Kaffe and Brandon. Such an interesting peek into the lives of three very creative people. I am one of those perfectionists which keeps me from finishing most craft projects I undertake. I felt so empowered after watching them and listening to what they had to say. Better finished than perfect. That’s my new motto. Thank you for sharing their world, and your world too, with us. I’m very grateful for what you are doing for those of us who love fiber arts. Keep on keepin’ on Scott. You’re a blessing to us.

    • Scott Fortunoff

      Hi Tammy,
      Glad you enjoyed the video! Glad you are able to embrace the “not being perfect” situation. That will be a big step for you…take it from a guy with some OCD. Thanks for your nice words. Glad you are on this fabric journey with me. Hang on tight because we are just getting warmed up. Have a great week.

  • Cheryl Wirsing

    I could not agree more. We’re all way too hard on ourselves. I look at the quilts made by my mother’s aunts, all done by hand with cardboard templates (and maybe not even that) and see absolutely nothing wrong with them. I’m sure there are missing points, corners that don’t match, whatever, but that doesn’t matter. Thank Brandon and Kaffe for sharing these important thoughts, and thank you for sharing.

    • Scott Fortunoff

      Hi Cheryl,
      Sometimes it is good to be hard on ourselves, but just not always! Have a great week.

    • Scott Fortunoff

      Hi Carol,
      I hear you loud and clear and couldn’t agree more. I am of the “keep moving” school. Have a great week.

  • Mary Palmer

    I totally get the concept of allowing imperfections happen and not stressing when the corners don’t come out the way they should. I’m also the fool that will allow a little error become a bigger one if I don’t correct it.

    I remember making a crib quilt with sashing and cornerstones. I did not remember the instructions for making it work and was too proud (stupid) to ask for help and the damned cornerstones were lopsided, and I hated it. I took it apart and did the same thing (nope, I didn’t learn) twice. After mentally crying, cussing and beating myself up I asked for advice. I tossed the old sashing and cornerstones, cut new ones and finally made a quilt I could be proud to share.

    I make mistakes and they are evident in my quilts. Some are okay to be imperfect and others need to be the best I can make them. By the way, I can critique my work, but I’m sometimes less than kind if others do. I still want to do my best, learn from my mistakes and continue to grow.

  • Becky Petersen

    I heard that comment as well – both of them and I appreciated them so much! It was quite interesting it from them, though!

    It was a good FB live – could have looked at the quilts even more! Well, I didn’t see it live – I saw it after the fact…thanks for doing it. I also liked the part of the discussion of the fabric thread count and why they prefer theirs to be what it is.

    • Scott Fortunoff

      Hi Becky,
      Thanks for your comments. Glad the concept of not being perfect resonated with you. Glad you enjoyed the fb live. If you want to see more, you are free to watch it as many times as you want. Enjoy and have a great week.

  • Barbara Esposito, The Quilted B

    Hi Scott – I love to teach sewing, and one of the biggest stumbling blocks is when students see their work as “imperfect” and become frustrated and disheartened. It is easy to feel that way when the only thing we see on social media IS perfection. Perfect setting, perfect photograph, perfect points, perfect hand binding. I have so much respect for notable creatives who can admit that they do not strive for perfection. There is a place for it – as you said competitions, etc. – but I doubt the infant in NICU or the cancer patient, or your great grandma will critique your gift. Not striving for perfection is quite freeing! Thank you for speaking up on this. (PS – I wrote about this when I was the Desire To Inspire Challenger!) Have a wonderful week!

  • Kara Benavides

    I watched the video, post-production. Loved it. Videos, like quilts, are not available for others to enjoy until they are completed (or live-posted, imperfect example.) My grandmother prided herself on a job well done, but made a specific point to leave every quilt with at least one imperfection. This was really something, coming from this proud, independent mountain lady. She prefaced the act by saying, “How can you tell it is real if it is perfect?” And then she would flip the quilt or quilt top over and tell you who sewed it based on the thread, stitching, color of thread, and whether is was doubled or single. Life is too short!

  • Kathy Ogle

    Hi Scott, I had just sat down with my morning coffee when I noticed your video…..l enjoyed every moment of it and all of you were very nurturing and inspiring . I was so motivated and excited after your friendly and beautiful tour. Your casual and very real comments about the fabric and process made me wish I could watch this every morning. Thank you for taking us into the wonderful studio ….simply magical.

    • Scott Fortunoff

      Aww Kathy. That’s sweet. Glad that I can help to contribute to you having a great day. Have a great week.

  • Mary Ann Hruska

    I love seeing a finished quilt but even more I love hearing the story behind it. You add another step or more – the story behind the fabric, the design, the artists, the business – it’s all part of the story. Thanks for including all of us.