CSU students make their rags to riches

CSU student Lucy Horrall spends her winter and summer breaks furiously stitching cloth on her mother’s 1970 sewing machine.

This past summer, she finished a nude dress with a cutout back, completing her summer clothing line.


Horrall, a double major in graphic design and apparel design, prefers to make her own clothes at home. She then sells them at a discounted price on her personal website, www.pie-designs.com, to people all over the country.

“I’ve always been really into art and fashion, so I wanted to see what I could come up with,” Horrall said.

Horrall is not the only CSU student who experiments with a sewing machine. It’s very common for students in the Department of Design and Merchandising to create their own clothes, according to Diane Sparks, a professor in the department.

The department encourages students to create a variety of pieces, so that they can eventually use it to participate in the senior capstone fashion show.

“What most students are interested in is getting a really good internship and then a job,” Sparks said.

In their classes, students learn how to weave, print and dye fabric to increase their understanding. During their senior year, students put on a fashion show that features four to six of their outfits.

“I think it is a fabulous opportunity for creativity,” Sparks said. “When sewing for another, you enter into the realm of the social and psychological aspects of clothing.”

Horall began making her own clothes at age 14 and created her website less than a year ago. On it, she sells a variety of pieces for a discounted price of $40. These pieces include dresses, pants, shirts and some artwork.

“I mostly sell knit wear and casual wear,” Horrall said. “But knits are my favorite to make because they are stretchy and fit more people.”

Yani Ortega, sophomore history major, has been making her own clothes for a few years. Unlike Horrall, her pieces are not for sale, but are for her own personal enjoyment.


“The good thing about making clothes [for yourself] is that you don’t have to do it all at the same time,” Ortega said.

It usually takes Ortega about one month to complete a piece. Her entire collection includes 20 total outfits, ranging from Halloween costumes to shorts. Her proudest moment was when she made her own Prom dress.

“It was a strapless yellow ball gown,” Ortega said.

Both Ortega and Horrall are self-taught and create their pieces in their spare time. They see it as a hobby that can eventually turn into something more.

“I hope to open my own boutique and participate in trade shows,” Horrall said.

Student Life Beat Reporter Amanda Zetah can be reached at news@collegian.com.