Sewn With Love


Samantha Cohen, Staff Writer

When junior Annalia Sanchez was first introduced to sewing at the age of 8, she knew it would become a lifelong interest. Over the years, sewing has given Sanchez many opportunities, including a possible career. 

“When I was a kid I always thought that the dresses my Barbies came with were really boring, so I wanted to make my Barbies their own dresses. I also saw that my grandma sewed often around me, so that also piqued my interest,” Sanchez said. 

Sanchez started to teach herself how to sew with help from her mom and her grandma. 

“When I was six I remember asking my mom to teach me to sew and she told me, ‘Here’s a needle and thread, now make a dotted line.’ After that, I started teaching myself how to sew,” Sanchez said. “At first, I made really simple, and really bad, dresses for my dolls, but I soon got better with practice.” 

Eventually, after learning to hand-sew, Sanchez began learning how to sew on a machine. Her grandma, who bought Sanchez her first sewing machine, taught her how by using patterns at the store. 

Since learning the basics, Sanchez has moved on to making full, person-sized dresses. She sewed her first big project in sixth grade. 

“The first big project I made was a Betsy Ross costume for sixth grade. It was the first time I had made something that had a professional finish to it,” Sanchez said. 

For Sanchez, sewing these bigger projects changes from piece to piece. 

“Depending on what you’re doing changes the process a whole lot. If you already have the pattern for a garment, it’s really simple to get started. Store-bought patterns usually take a day or two for me. However, if you’re making your own pattern, it’s a whole different process. Pattern drafting takes up quite a bit of time,” Sanchez said. “The draping method is a lot faster than the flat pattern method for me. Draping is where you tape the shape of what you want the pattern to be on a dress form and pin muslin to it to create a pattern. Flat pattern drafting involves measurements and is really difficult. After that, it depends on the complexity of the garment. For example, I made a quilted kimono that had a simple pattern, but quilting every individual diamond took me over a month.”

Refining her process has taken time, but Sanchez has moved on to making more big projects.

“I made a pinafore from fabric remnants and a salvaged night gown for the lining fabric. That was the first time I had drafted my own pattern using the draping method instead of creating a pattern based off of measurements,” Sanchez said. 

Although sewing is a hobby for Sanchez, the lessons and motivation sewing has offered are not lost on her. 

“Details matter so, so much. Sewing off by an eighth of an inch might not seem like a lot, but it makes a huge difference in whether or not something fits. Also, patience is key when sewing. If you get overly frustrated with yourself, you can make the problem worse instead of better,” Sanchez said. “I think self improvement [keeps me motivated] most of all. I like seeing how I’ve improved over the years and looking back on how I started and where I’ve gone.” 

In the future, Sanchez plans to go into sewing and fashion as a career. 

“My dream job is to work in bridal design. I think making gowns for such a special day is such a cool job to have,” Sanchez said.