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Fabric Closet gives high school students opportunity to be creative

Published: Friday, May 16, 2014 11:46 a.m. CST • Updated: Friday, May 16, 2014 11:59 a.m. CST

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The “Fabric Closest” at Newton Senior High School has become the go-to place for students who enjoy expressing their creativity with a needle and thread or by using a sewing machine.

NHS Family and Consumer Science (home economics) teacher Bev Thomas explained how the Closet came to be.

“The strategy of teaching sewing has taken on a new look. Many of the students have family members who have never sewn and do not have a sewing machine at home,” Thomas said. “Their experience of going to the fabric store or to a fabric department is very limited.

“This has led to creating a ‘Fabric Closet’ for the Family and Consumer Science students. Through shopping at garage sales, estate sales, donation from others and purchasing fabric personally, the Fabric Closet was born.”

Seniors Eden Nelson and Jasmine Woods and junior Halie Owens talked about why they enjoy using the Fabric Closet and why it’s important to them.

“It’s really great when you need a different project and there’s like all kinds of different fabrics,” Halie said. “If you go to the store, you won’t find the same fabric … and it’s kind of cool.”

Jasmine agreed that having access to the closest was extremely helpful and that it saves them so much time on finding fabrics since they don’t have to travel to find the type of fabrics they need for their projects.

“We’ve made dresses, we’ve made rag blankets,” Jasmine said as she began to list some of their projects.

“I made a bag and it was really cool, because someone had started a project, so it was quilted together but it wasn’t completely finished, and I got to finish it,” Halie chimed in. “It was really cool because I’m finishing a project that someone else did, and I got to be creative with it.”

Eden, who transferred to NHS during the second semester after moving from Canada, is also a big fan of the Closet.

“I’ve been sewing since I was a baby,” Eden said. “I used to make clothes for my dolls, and I thought that I would never learn how to use a pattern, and I thought Ms. Thomas could help me with that. It’s pretty useful having (the Closet) because you can go in, get your fabric and start your project.”

During the interview, Eden was actually wearing a pair of leggings she had made while in the class and both she and Jasmine made their graduation dresses from materials inside of the Closet.

“I think Ms. Thomas is a pretty great teacher,” Eden said.

“Yeah, she’s awesome,” Halie added.

“She’s very helpful,” Jasmine added to the chorus of praise. “Sometimes, when we do our projects and some of patterns don’t have all the pieces to it, she’ll have to make another pattern for it just so we can use it for our project.”

Thomas loves seeing her students enjoy sewing and learning a valuable life skill and would like to see it continue. There is never enough money in the budget to supply the sewing program she said, they will gladly accept any excess fabric people have or gift cards to stores where they can purchase sewing supplies.

“Some students will have the money for all of their projects, some students will have money for one project and will need fabric for more projects and some students will have no money for projects,”Thomas said.

“So the Fabric Closet is to met those needs for those students who need fabric.”

Senior staff writer Ty Rushing may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 426, or at trushing@newtondailynews.com.

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