Since home economics was taken out of the school curriculum, most girls no longer have the opportunity to learn sewing.
Kylie Knox, a senior at Amory High School, decided she wanted to learn to sew to have better choices in prom dresses. So when she was a sophomore, she began taking lessons from Ann Colburn of Amory.
Knox liked the dress her sister wore for her senior prom and wanted one like it. It was a regular prom gown, but had been changed so it could go from a long gown into a short dress with the addition of a zipper.
“Sewing is a dying art,” Knox said. “People can’t do it anymore. My mom always made my Halloween costumes when I was young. I like being able to do that now. I can’t sew a lot, just basically a straight line. Miss Ann helps me with the hard stuff.”
One of Knox’s gowns was bought at a salvage store, reworked and made into a prom gown that was one-of-a-kind. She added beads and crystals to the gowns to further enhance them.
On one of the dresses, she altered the scoop neckline into a V-neckline. She then added her great-grandmother’s brooch to it.
“I bought the dress and I told Miss Ann what I wanted,” Knox said. “She and I reworked the dress and it looked great.”
And Knox always keeps a needle and thread in her purse.
On a recent trip to Mississippi State University where she was getting to know some in a sorority, a girl had a dress that had been altered but wouldn’t zip up. Knox brought out her trusty needle and thread, and while someone held the material together she sewed the zipper while the girl wore the dress.
“It worked perfect,” said Knox. “Nobody could tell the material was stitched up. When we got back to the room, we just cut the threads loose.”
During Knox’s junior year, she worked backstage during the school’s beauty review. One of the boys snagged his tuxedo on a nail, ripping it. Again her needle and thread came to the rescue: She sewed the rip so that his boxers would not show.
For her senior prom dress, Knox and Colburn made it from scratch. It also was a convertible dress. For the walk, it was floor length, but for dancing the bottom portion could be taken off.
Knox is now working on a new dress that is not a formal.
“I’ll finish it after graduation when things settle down,” she said.
Knox also worked on the costumes for the Wiz musical at AHS, designing both the girls’ and boys’ costumes. She also made the pants for the clown costume on this year’s senior float.
Not only does Knox sew, she bakes desserts. She makes caramel cakes and sells them to the public, and also has sold desserts to several local convenience stores.
She will attend MSU in the fall, majoring in elementary education.
“I love working with young kids,” she said. “I’ll still be able to be creative with them and also be off in the summers for fun projects.”
And she won’t be giving up her needle and thread, either. Knox said sewing is still a work in progress.
“I’m still learning,” she said.
Alice Ortiz/Monroe Journal