By: Polly Stryker
You never know what you’ll see during morning meeting at AVS. This past fall, Luciana Z., Zara F. and Isa L. showcased their “maker” spirit on the runway. They gave students and parents a fashion show — of clothing they had designed and sewn themselves.
Sewing runs in all of the girls’ families. “Sewing is just part of who I am. It’s a way to express my creativity. My grandmother on my mom’s side was a seamstress. I wish she were still alive. Then she could come over, and we could have all sorts of fun sewing on my mom’s machine,” wishes Luciana. Zara watched her mother sew things for her and wanted to start creating things herself. Isa says a lot of her family on her mom’s side sews, and she uses her grandmother’s sewing machine. “I like sewing because people are always wearing clothes they get from Gap or Nordstrom, basically the same thing. I wanted to make something different and really beautiful.”
Luciana began sewing around age seven. She began taking lessons when her family moved to the West Portal area. She found Connie Walker, a sewing teacher with a shop in the neighborhood. It didn’t take much convincing to get Zara and Isa to join the class. They call their sewing group “Connie’s” and gather together to sew every Wednesday.
Luciana got a web site for a recent birthday. It’s how she shows and sells her original creations – like a red, satin dress with lace wrist ruffles, cozy pajamas or a green, satin Empress cloak with fabulous faux fur trim.
On the morning of the fashion show at AVS, the girls showed off their “most proud” creations. Connie Walker, their teacher, introduced their work. “This is just a small portion of what they’ve created over the last year. You’ll see maybe ten or fifteen dresses up here [total], but each girl has made ten or fifteen things, and that’s just over a period of year. I’m very proud of these girls.”
Luciana modeled a blue princess dress she made. Miss Parker, their history teacher, modeled a Game of Thrones-inspired dress – black with a red cloak — also made by Luciana. Another model, Chelsea, showcased a red, satin dress.
Zara’s mother modeled a purple apron with silver flowers that her daughter made, while another model looked extremely hip in a Dia de Los Muertos print dress, also made by Zara.
Students asked many questions after the show. How long did each dress or shirt take to make? What is a pattern? Do you have your own sewing machines? The girls gave detailed answers, taking delight in sharing their knowledge. They continue to take classes and create new designs for their next collection.