Education feature: Some students work toward future in sewing class

CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo Clovis High School senior Tkeyia Coats re-sews a seam on a computer bag that she designed for her Commercial Sewing class. Coats learned to sew from her grandmother.

By Liliana Castillo: CNJ staff writer

Among the scraps of cloth, mannequins, pins and professional grade sewing machines in the clothing design classroom, some students work toward a grade. Others work toward a future.

Senior Tkeyia Coats has taken every design and sewing class the school offers. She plans to attend the art institute in Dallas to study clothing design.

She said her goal is to create her own clothing line named Yah-Yah. She and a friend have already started sketching ideas.

“It’s my passion. I don’t think I would go to college for anything else,” Coats said. “I like all the different colors and different patterns and putting them together to make something new.”

Coats’ grandmother taught her to sew when she was a child.

The class is a mix of two classes. Clothing II and Commercial Sewing share a room, a teacher and supplies. Family and Consumer Sciences Department Head Annetta Hadley said the classes cover a variety of subjects, including sewing, embroidery and reading patterns.

Earlier in the year, the classes created clothing out of newspaper and made purses. As the year comes to a close, the students are working on individual projects.

Senior Gaby Anchondo is making a dress for graduation. The two piece dress has a zebra pattern on the inside and purple satin fabric on the outside.

“I like zebra print and I like purple,” the senior said.

Anchondo said she’s excited to have a dress that no one else will have.

“I like that we can make our own clothes in our own style,” she said.

Hadley said the class teaches more than meets the eye. She said the students learn to problem solve, think outside their comfort zone and follow instructions.

Hadley said the class has emulated challenges presented on TV shows such as Project Runway to change things up.

“The misconception is that sewing is an inexpensive way to have clothing,” Hadley said. “It’s not cheap. What it is, is making something that is truly your very own.”

Design is one of the high school’s career paths, Hadley said, and she’s glad it is being presented as a real world option for students.

“It’s a way to give kids another option outside of “I’m making a dress.” It gets them thinking about it as part of the industry,” she said.