Senior Melissa Kelley discovers a hobby for sewing and designing clothes

After sewing her junior homecoming dress, Kelley begins sewing regularly

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By Victoria Wright

After starting by sewing her junior year homecoming dress, senior Melissa Kelly continues to sew clothes for herself. “It’s mostly trial and error, trying to problem solve to figure out how I can put something together,” Kelly said.

Tricia Drumm, Mill Valley News editor-in-chief

Green fabric is strewn across the floor of senior Melissa Kelley’s basement, and a tub of multicolored spools sits on a wood TV tray. On another tray is a Janome sewing machine and behind it is Kelley, feeding fabric into the needle. Since her junior year, Kelley has adopted a passion for sewing and designing clothing.

Kelley’s hobby began her junior year homecoming. After a search for a specific dress without prevail, she gathered scarves and fabrics from unfinished projects. As she wrapped the fabric around herself and tried to get it to stay together, she stumbled upon the idea of making the dress herself.

Since the first homecoming dress, Kelley soon learned how to make the most of a sewing machine. With that knowledge, Kelley believes she has become more confident in her sewing abilities.

As of late November 2016, Kelley had plans to sew pants for other people, but had to abandon the project due to time. Meanwhile, the positive feedback Kelley received from those who did buy her pants surprised her.

“Seeing other people wear my design is unreal to think about, like that anyone else wants to wear it, I can’t even think about because I made that,” Kelley said. “It’s just really exciting.”

Senior Maggie Bogart, a close friend of Kelley’s since freshman year, believes Kelley’s success in sewing lies in her work ethic.

“Whatever she puts her mind to, she’s gonna do that to the best of her ability,” Bogart said. “Even if she does have problems or face challenges, she’s going to get over them … to do the best she can.”

Now that she isn’t making the pants, Kelley wants to sew herself a jumpsuit. But while she enjoys designing and sewing clothes, Kelley doesn’t see herself continuing to pursue her hobby as an occupation.

“I have considered going into the fashion industry as a career, but I realized that it’s not exactly for me,” Kelley said. “It would be a lot of fun, … but I think I decided a while ago that I really have a passion for helping others … and I really can’t give up on that dream.”

Rather than a specific person or event, Kelley’s inspiration for sewing was more of a personal drive.

“I think it was just something inside of me that I really wanted to do, and whenever I see something in my head of what I want to make, then I just have to do that,” Kelley said. “I love seeing the finished product of something, and being able to create something that I will wear out of fabric is just exciting to see.”

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