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News & Events

What Can You Learn this Month?

Huelo Dunn

Julie Goshe

Merrilyn Lewis

The final week of Interterm 2007 offers courses beginning Monday, Jan. 22, on folding paper, how to play Bridge, Sri Lankan and Chinese cooking, traditional Korean dance, and more.

The Interterm Program, now in its ninth year, is a series of non-credit courses taught by Smith community members -- students, staff, faculty, alumnae and associates. This year’s program runs through Friday, Jan. 26.

News & Events profiled a few of the Interterm Program courses. This week:

Allie Machen transforms an old bandana into something new

January 22-26, 1-3 p.m., Women's Resource Center, Davis
Sew What? Recycled Fabric Takes a New Form
Instructor: Allie Machen ’07

Allison Machen has been into sewing for many years, and enjoyed altering her own clothes while growing up. But it wasn’t until three years ago that she discovered a new font of source material when she bought a skirt made from a used t-shirt. Using that skirt as a pattern, she snatched up a bunch of old t-shirts and sewed her own collection of skirts.

“I returned the [original] skirt after I realized that the ones I made were much cuter and cheaper,” she said.

The following summer, while working at a camp for kids, Machen taught a sewing class for young campers using recycled fabrics. “I really wanted to get them away from the idea that sewing is intimidating,” she recalls. “The atmosphere was very relaxed and brewing with creativity. We didn’t use any patterns and pretty much everything they did was their own design, things like pillowcases, bags, pouches, belts and skirts.”

Machen and Whitney Dorer ’06 (left), who will co-teach the sewing course, work with recycled fabrics

Spending last year in Italy solidified her interest in sewing with recycled material. “My host family had these amazing soft sheets that I thought would be an awesome dress, so I asked the signora if I could use them and she let me,” explains Machen. “Since, I have made several dresses and skirts out of funky old sheets.”

Now, she’ll teach people at Smith what she’s learned about sewing with recycled materials.

“The main point of my course will be to show people that sewing is really not intimidating,” she says, “and you can create really cool stuff if you loosen up and let your creativity guide you.”

Machen, who works part-time at a local fabric store, will suggest that her students bring in used material for their sewing projects, though she’ll allow them to purchase new fabric if they prefer.

“I will encourage people to just dream up something and I’ll help them figure out how to create it,” she said. “I find a lot of satisfaction in taking something and transforming it completely."

1/19/07   By Eric Sean Weld
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