As a young girl, all Margaret Fette wanted for Christmas were new outfits to dress up her Barbie dolls. In the late ’90s, after spending a year as a seamstress in New York City working for a Broadway costume-design company, Fette realized she not only wanted to create beautiful clothes for people to wear but also to teach them how to make clothes themselves.

“I always wanted to dress up people and make them look pretty and make them happy about the way they look,” Fette says. “And I also love teaching.” Following her dream back in Bloomington, she opened The Tailored Fit in 2006. Two years later, she began teaching at IU in the apparel merchandising and interior design department.

The Tailored Fit has moved addresses three times and is now located in a cozy workspace in the basement of Fette’s home at 559 S. Lincoln St. Racks of alteration orders hang beneath the rafters, and tucked away in the back is just enough space for Fette to teach individual sewing classes.

For $25 an hour, Fette will instruct budding tailors in anything they want to know about sewing, from how to operate a sewing machine to how to construct clothes for themselves. Pointing out her own petite figure, she says she easily relates to women who can’t typically buy clothing off the rack.

“I always tell people I learned to sew out of self-defense,” Fette says. “I sometimes had to take three to four inches out of a pair of pants just to get them to fit in the waist.” Private sewing lessons with Fette can teach clients in the same predicament how to alter their own clothing.

Fette also offers what she refers to as “wardrobe analysis,” a service in which she goes through clients’ closets piece by piece to help them determine new ways to wear their garments.

The Tailored Fit allows Fette to do what she’s wanted to do since she was a young girl: provide a practical service to people and help them achieve their best look. “I’m one of the lucky people,” she says. “I do what I love.”