Theater program fosters an interest in sewing

Junior learns a valuable life skill


Maggie Klaers

Junior Morgan Graves helps sophomore Ainsley Preston Pepperell sew a costume for ‘The Amish Project.’ Graves exercises her sewing skills by helping create costumes for the school productions, as well as teaching others how to successfully create costumes through sewing.

Swapping pillowcases for elaborate performance costumes, junior Morgan Graves said her sewing abilities have grown immensely since joining the theater costumes crew.

“I basically didn’t do much sewing until I started theater. I did a little bit here and there when I was at my grandma’s house. I made a couple pillowcases, but I hadn’t really attempted to make anything clothing wise,” Graves said.

According to costumes crew member sophomore Ella Miller, Graves has a lot of knowledge and experience with sewing.

“(Graves is) really good at sewing, she somehow always just knows what to do and it’s just really amazing to watch her work,” Miller said. “These last few shows this year have really tested our sewing abilities and you can see that she’s really improved.”

According to Graves, creating costumes for shows provides an environment for her to practice sewing skills.

“‘Drowsy Chaperone’ was the first time I ever constructed costumes and I made aprons and I was so impressed with myself,” Graves said. “Through the show I learned from upperclassman who had experience and just through trial and error and following patterns.”

Theater director Jodi Hatzenbeller said Graves has a talent for storytelling through costumes.

“She has a really good eye of how to visually tell a story without using words. She can look at a character and say ‘this color pallet works or this design tells the story of this character,’” Hatzenbeller said. “She also has great seamstress skills and so she can sew like nobody’s business.”

According to Miller, problem solving is one of Grave’s strong suits.

“She always just works through whatever struggles we might have or if it’s how if it’s hard to figure something out she always just keeps going and figures out what to do,” Miller said.

Graves said being able to mend things is a valuable talent that not many people have.

“I definitely think it’s a really good skill that I have now, things break and you need to fix them. Most people nowadays don’t really have that skill because we don’t home economics classes that teach those basics, so I think it’s a very valuable thing that I picked up in theater,” Graves said.

According to Hatzenbeller, Graves is not only a great seamstress, she also has strong leadership skills.

“In addition to those seamstress skills that she has, she’s a natural leader, she’s a quiet leader, but she really knows how to set an example, mentor, and make sure things get done. I think she’s really come into her own, feeling more confident, taking control, and guiding others,” Hatzenbeller said.

Graves said she initially thought sewing was tedious and pointless, but has come to love the versatility of the craft.

“I was of the opinion that sewing was boring, old-school and unnecessary, but after I started making my own things, I was like ‘oh my gosh, I made this, this is really cool,’” Graves said. “Then it was just really interesting because you can make what you want, I think it’s really cool to have that skill.”