South Rowan High students get creative in apparel class

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 23, 2011

By Sarah Campbell
CHINA GROVE — Sewing machines are buzzing almost all day at South Rowan High School as students work to make everything from clothing to Christmas stockings.
Enrollment in Sharon Edwards’ apparel courses nearly doubled in recent years. It’s a trend she attributes to popular television shows like “Project Runway.”
“Sewing is suddenly cool again,” Edwards said.
And students like junior Ashley Deal are taking notice.
Her first project was a pillow. She completed it as a child, thanks to the help of her grandmother.
After that, sewing kind of fell off her radar, until it started popping up on TV and in magazines.
And when Deal started deciding which elective classes to take, apparel piqued her interest.
After a few projects, she was hooked.
“I just fell in love with it,” she said. “I picked it up so quickly, I was always ahead of the class.”
But Deal didn’t just learn about sewing, she discovered different fabrics and materials used for design, including duct tape.
She used the principals she learned in the apparel classes at South to begin designing her own handbags made of duct tape.
“I learned a lot of the basics first,” she said.
After creating some popular handbag designs, other students started making requests.
When Deal isn’t busy making purses, she’s using a sewing machine to create her own dresses.
“I like to make dresses because I’m so tall that they are hard to buy,” Deal said.
Senior Jasmin Eonzalez said the resurgence of sewing in popular culture contributed to her taking on an appeal course, but it’s her love for it that made her stay.
“I just have an interest in sewing and making things,” she said. “I’m happy doing this.”
Senior Ciarra Talford said growing up she wanted to be a fashion designer, but now she’s considering a profession in the medical field.
She said taking Edwards’ class has given her the basics to take on sewing as a hobby.
“I think it’s good to know how to sew,” she said. “I enjoy getting to be creative.”
Kayla Stubbs said sewing is also a hobby for her, but she didn’t get interested in it through TV.
It’s a tradition that’s been passed down in her family. And she’s been sewing since the age of four.
“I learned a lot from my grandmother,” she said. “I really like quilting and making curtains.”
Edwards said she teaches students about the history of fashion and the different uses of each types of fabric. Then they get a hands-on experience.
“First they learn how to hand sew, then they move on to the machine stitching,” she said.
Edwards said she’s happy to see so many students at South taking an interest in sewing.
“It’s a skill they can use their entire lives,” she said.
Contact reporter Sarah Campbell at 704-797-7683.