The student news site of Bellaire High School

Three Penny Press

The student news site of Bellaire High School

Three Penny Press

The student news site of Bellaire High School

Three Penny Press

HUMANS OF BELLAIRE – Caroline Pettigrew
Provided by Caroline Pettigrew
Caroline Pettigrew wears her homemade homecoming dress. It took her two weeks to complete the look which can now be found on her Instagram sewing account:

“Sewing is my little hobby. 

I really got into it when upcycling and recycling old clothes was popular. During COVID, I wanted to go thrifting to pick up some stuff that I could try making into something new. I was inspired by TikTok, and I kept it up by watching YouTube videos and teaching myself until I got the hang of it.

I first learned to sew from my mom. She taught me on her machine using materials around the house, but I really learned most of what I know from YouTube. As I made more things, I got the idea to turn this hobby into a business, so I made an Instagram account to attract customers and bring attention to my creations. New clients interested in my services usually either text or direct message me, however, most just contact me directly because we are friends. When I first start a project, the client gives me an idea about what they want and I help guide their vision and come up with a design. I give them a sketch and then a ballpark price. After that, I spend a week or two working on the piece, or however long it takes me to complete it. Currently, with school, it takes me about a month to wrap up a project, but that’s because I only get to work on it maybe one day out of the week because of how busy I am. 

When I do have time, I go to Joann, which is overpriced but has a good selection, to get materials. I also go to High Fashion in downtown or Fabrictopia on Fondren. Before I hand over the final product, I usually have them try it on at least once so I can make any final adjustments. When the [clothing] is ready, I make sure to get some photos of the clients in their new clothes for my Instagram. It’s fun because the plan is to keep this up and one day look back on my old posts and see how much progress I’ve made. The piece I am most proud of is my homecoming dress – but who knows? If I continue, I might be able to make my own prom dress. The first commission piece I made was for two sophomore friends on cheer. Those were two of some of my favorite dresses yet. 

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My work space is my desk in my room. Instead of a computer, there’s a sewing machine with large shelves on either side filled with boxes of dry materials like fabric and scissors. I work hard on these dresses and spend maybe 10 hours sewing [per dress]. Ideally, I charge a flat fee of $75 or $80, the fabric is an additional $20 or $30, so it’s like working minimum wage. Every project is unique and special, but I get my inspiration from places like Addicted or Urban Outfitters. I’ll go window shopping and see something really random that I find cute and wonder if I can recreate it. On the flip side, sewing my own clothes has also helped me recognize poor quality when I go to stores because I’ve gotten good at knowing what to look for.

My plan this summer is to expand and take on more commissions. It’s good that I am doing this because in college, I want to go into entrepreneurship and minor in fashion or something to do with business. A big dream of mine is to go to literally any fashion event. It would just be so cool. But you know, you have to be part of something before you get to do that.”

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  • A

    Avey GannawayMay 30, 2024 at 7:25 pm

    so cool, good job caroline and sara!

  • S

    Sara TMay 1, 2024 at 11:08 am