May 18, 2024
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Sewing at Frisch: The Pattern of Student-Centric Clubs Continues

Stop by Frisch on Tuesday evenings after school, and you will hear the sounds of sewing machines whirring in the Art Room, home to the Sewing Club, one of Frisch’s newest student initiatives.

Stephanie Appelbaum ’19 has been sewing since she was eight years old. As an avid art student, she approached Ahuva Winslow, director of the arts track at Frisch, at the beginning of the year with the idea for a sewing club. “I knew the fundamentals, but as an aspiring fashion designer, I really wanted to take my learning to the next level,” said Stephanie.

“We had Fashion club in the past, but this year I wanted to hire an expert in sewing to teach the students from the basics to more advanced sewing, so that they would be ready for applications in fashion design by senior year,” explained Ahuva.

Frisch reached out to Belle Mell, a well-known sewing instructor in Teaneck, who now teaches the sewing club once a week from five to seven after school. Sewing is one of the basic building blocks of fashion, and by empowering students to learn and master the fundamentals of pattern making, operating a sewing machine and refinements like zippers and hemstitches, Frisch is helping them succeed in their professional aspirations.

“I focus on teaching the students skills that allow them to produce clothes in a quick and easy fashion,” explained Belle. “High school students are juggling so much, and I want them to be able to make garments tonight that they can wear tomorrow.”

Students have already created pull-on skirts, and turn their attention next to tee shirts and dresses. Rabbi Michael Zauderer even turned to the club for help repairing a frayed tallit and bimah cover that belongs to one of the school minyanim.

“With Belle teaching me and my peers, I learned very quickly the modern approach to sewing and got insight into new ways of patterning or attaching elastic, for example,” said Stephanie. “It’s been wonderful to learn from someone so experienced and this club is a valuable tool in helping me achieve my goals.”

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