Night at the Studio


It’s nice to walk into sewing class and see familiar faces. It’s the night before my last day interning for Anastasia Chatzka and my last assignment is the same as my very first assignment: cover a sewing class. The music is the same, Iris is the same, the gentle whirring of sewing machines is the same… Not much in the studio has changed in the two months since I started.

Camila, the 16-year-old who was just starting to cut out her patterns and fabric, is now serging each of her pieces. The project is high-waisted pants with a matching crop top, and her patchwork jean fabric slides effortlessly under the needle of the serger, slicing off the edge and winding it with yellow thread to keep it from fraying. She stays quiet for most of the class, focused, just listening to the banter that the rest of the class enjoys. But she works quickly, and by the end of class, she’s sewn together four pieces of fabric to create the bodice of her crop top. She holds it up to herself and it’s obvious that with only a little hemming, the top will be ready to wear. She’s all shy smiles as she packs up, happy to have finished another part of her project.


One of the women from the very first sewing class I attended, Kara, has moved through her previous two projects and is now onto a shift dress, using a black fabric covered in little gold birds. Like Camila, she starts class by serging pieces of her dress. About halfway through, she finishes up the pieces of her dress and brings out her sewing machine from home. After a few minutes, it’s clear that something is wrong. She calls Anastasia over to help, and she tries to figure out the problem with scrap fabric. Once it’s determined that the bobbin tension is too loose, it’s a quick fix and Kara is back to her machine. She works on the two darts on the front of her dress, and even though there are a few hiccups, she laughs through it and by the end, Anastasia has given the darts her nod of approval.


Roxy, the woman who had been working on the blue floral circle skirt, is on the same project. When she finished the skirt, she decided that the pockets were too low, it was too big in the waist, and it needed a lining. So she tore up the dress and started from “square 2,” as she calls it. She serges the last couple of pieces before moving onto attaching her pocket. She decided that it would be too difficult to attach 2 pockets, so her choices were 1 good pocket or no pockets at all. She settled for 1. After pinning both sides of the pocket onto both sides of the skirt, she works on sewing the two sides together. Roxy finishes up class by starting on her waistband and then attaching it to the top of her skirt.


Heather, who was last seen working on a pair of shorts, has since finished those, a jumper, and three shirts, and is now in the beginning stages of a summery maxi dress. She spends her time carefully cutting out pieces from a dark red fabric, but since the dress has around 30 pieces in total, Heather decides that she’ll finish up cutting pieces before the next class. We fawn over Iris, who is especially comfortable sitting on the red fabric as Heather attempts to pin and cut it. We all laugh and joke about sewing mistakes, Anastasia’s recent role as “Tim Gunn” in a sewing summer camp for 13-15 year-olds, and other things.


As I sit here, laughing, taking notes, and asking questions, with 97.1 playing softly in the background, I realize that even though it seems nothing in the studio has changed since I started, that isn’t completely true. I have grown more comfortable in my surroundings; the women in the class have grown more comfortable with each other; I’ve become attached to my role as a fashion blogger and sewing observer. So no, the studio, the cat, the music, and the sewing machines haven’t changed. But the people have.


Written by Miranda Marnik-Said

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