Creative clothing

Ted Hamilton

Students design and make their own clothes, jewelry

Molly Hughes, senior crafts major with a concentration in metals, looks through the necklace she designed and made for the “Vagina Monologues” presented by Phi Gamma Pi, the Women’s Resource Center and the Kent State Feminist Union. Hughes crafts her own

Credit: Carl Schierhorn

Even with all of the different clothing styles available to college students, it can be hard to find a style to fit a particular personality. Some Kent State students have found a solution to this problem by making their own clothing and accessories.

Andy Smith, senior classical Greek and Latin major, said he has been making his own clothes since his freshman year. A lot of his work has been trial and error, he said.

“I’ll usually lay something out to see how it’s put together,” he said.

After it is laid out, he looks at how it is made and disassembles it, he said.

Smith makes clothes for fun and sometimes as presents for people.

He has made book bags, pairs of pants, shirts and a coat.

“When people find out, they usually ask me if I’d make them something,” he said.

The hardest things to make are pants, he said.

“Pants are pretty hard,” he said. “They’ll look right when they are laid out in front of you, but will sometimes end up not fitting.”

Some students even make their own jewelry and accessories.

“I’ve made rings, pendants, broaches, bracelets, earrings, scarves, belts and costumes,” senior crafts major Molly Hughes said.

“I usually work with sterling silver when it’s jewelry because it’s more available to me as a student than gold,” she said. “I do like to use stones sometimes as well.”

In terms of accessories, she has made things such as belts out of wool, silk and cotton, she said.

Hughes learned how to make jewelry and how to enamel at Kent State, but some things she figured out on her own, she said.

“I have been making things since early high school, but I have been sewing since I was six,” she said. “My mom taught me to sew, and she’s always been a really talented artist. We worked together on a lot of things.”

She said it can take her anywhere from a couple hours to four months to make something, depending on what it is.

“I can do a plain silver band in about half an hour,” she said. “A full renaissance costume for my European History class in high school took me about four months.”

Some of the jewelry Hughes makes she sells at the Jewelry Student Co-op she is president of, she said.

“(The) Jewelry Student Co-op is a student organization that gives students an opportunity to sell their work on campus,” she said. “You can gain money for the work, and you also gain experience from it.”

Another student has taken galvanized steel (steel that is covered in a layer of zinc) and made it into chain mail.

“I’ve made braided rings, coifs, belts, wallet chains and bracers,” John Gentsch, sophomore computer technology major, said.

“Chain mail can be made out of most metals as long as it’s in wire form,” he said. “Anything like titanium, silver or gold.”

Gentsch said he never has sold anything besides the braided rings.

“Chain mail for me is too time-consuming to give the item up for a price,” he said.

He said it has taken him up to two weeks to make something.

“My coif took me two weeks to make with nonstop work,” he said. “I can make a ring in about an hour. A wallet chain or a belt takes around four hours of work a piece.”

Gentsch taught himself how to make chain mail from sites on the Internet, he said.

“I taught myself to do it because I thought it would just be something fun to do in my spare time,” he said.

Contact features correspondent Ted Hamilton at [email protected]