Sewing Club Offers a Community for Fashion Lovers
DU’s Fashion and Sewing Club welcomes students of all backgrounds and experience levels
In 2021, Catalina Sepulveda, Annika Sisac, Channing Cole (BA 2023) and Emily Coleman launched Nadira. This innovative clothing brand created unique pieces from thrifted and recycled materials. Two years later, Sepulveda and Sisac have evolved their idea into a fast-growing community on DU’s campus. These co-founders took their passion for fashion and established DU’s Fashion and Sewing Club, a welcoming space for students of all backgrounds and experience levels.
While working on Nadira, Sisac and Sepulveda noticed a lack of fashion opportunities at DU. “There were no fashion classes, and no official fashion communities,” Sepulveda recalled. “We joked around about starting one, but over spring break, I thought, ‘Why not?’” Right then and there, she sat down and wrote a club constitution. She reached out to Sisac and other friends who had talked about the idea, inviting them to officially join the board.
Since Nadira was born out of Entrepreneurship@DU’s First Idea to First Dollar Sale course (EVM 3350), the Sewing Club board approached Daniels Director of Entrepreneurship Joshua Ross to act as faculty mentor. Sepulveda met with Ross monthly, bouncing ideas and getting feedback on ways to get the club off the ground. The club started meeting weekly at The Garage, E@DU’s on-campus hub, which provided sewing machines and other resources. Together, they would chat, eat snacks, sew and crochet in a fun, casual environment. Visitors can drop in from 5-8 p.m. on Thursdays to meet the team and get familiar with the equipment.
“Many people are complete beginners, and they all learn at different rates,” said Serena Strawn, the club’s current president. “We have experienced members who help newcomers.”
Sepulveda echoed her sentiment: “A lot of people come in, and they’ve never even seen a sewing machine,” she said. “So, we walk them through it. Within 10 minutes, they’re whipping out stuff. All you need is a crafty attitude.”
Currently, more than 170 students are registered with the club; 15-25 attend on a weekly basis. The club is designed for members to work on their own projects in a social environment, keeping the atmosphere light and supportive. Some meetings are dedicated to special projects, where club members come together to work on the same accessories. In September, Sewing Club kicked off the school year with a project workshop, creating bucket hats, scrunchies, bows, flowers and leaves.
Annika Sisac serves as manager of The Garage’s sewing space. She also was Sewing Club’s vice president for its first two years. Her work with Sewing Club, combined with E@DU’s resources, empowered her to pursue her own entrepreneurial goals. Last summer, she was accepted into Entrepreneurship@DU’s summer BASE Camp, a rigorous startup accelerator where she developed her own clothing brand, Helio. Sewing Club, she said, gave her the equipment and passion to get her dream off the ground.
According to Strawn, the heart of the club is the community. “I want to create a comfortable and safe environment for people to exercise their creativity,” Strawn said. “I feel like the community we’ve been able to build is of great value.”
Beyond fostering a warm community, Fashion and Sewing Club is also committed to sustainable consumption. The ethics of fast fashion are a growing concern in the industry. As a result, the club is exploring collaborations that align with its mission. In October, the club partnered with the DU Thrift Store to host the inaugural “jurse” workshop, where attendees learned how to make purses from recycled jean fabric.
Like any entrepreneurial pursuit, launching Sewing Club has come with its share of challenges. “At first, it was a lot of testing, adjusting and getting lots of feedback,” Sepulveda said. “It’s trial and error every step of the way.” Through its first two years, the board has used feedback to acquire the right equipment, reorganize events and plan exciting projects for its members.
Whether starting a club or a business, it is important to celebrate your progress, Sepulveda said: “Every step counts. At first, we were a little sad when only 10 people were showing up. But that’s a milestone: We had 10 people showing up consistently. You don’t jump straight to the goal. You have to celebrate every milestone.”
Fashion and Sewing Club meetings are typically held Thursdays, from 5-8 p.m. at The Garage (1986 S. York St., near the intersection of University Blvd. and Asbury St.). You can get up-to-date details on meetings and upcoming events on the club’s Instagram Page.