When SK Designs Custom Drapery owner and Garden Oaks resident Susan Kostelecky decided to ease back on her seminar business where she taught professionals her trade, she had a number of sewing machines on her hands that she didn’t want to put into storage. So she decided to find another group of students – this time at Stevens Elementary.
“I contacted the principal, and asked if she was interested in having a sewing club,” said Kostelecky. “I told her that I would provide the sewing machines and the supplies.”
Not only was Principal Jennifer Barrientez enthusiastic. The kids were too.
“The kids were excited about sewing club before they even knew exactly what they would be doing,” said school librarian Leslie Novak. “She offered five slots and I had over 50 applications for the club.”
In October Angela Trujillo, Christopher Medrano, Natalia Garza, Gabby Perez and Emerita Quezada showed up at the first meeting ready for anything.
“One girl’s grandmother sewed, but the rest of them didn’t have any familiarity with it,” said Kostelecky.
She started them off with an embroidery hoop clock so they would learn hand sewing before they started on the machines.
“They were so cute,” said Kostelecky. Everyone wanted to know, ‘Can I keep it?’”
What followed was a bookmark, a drawstring bag, pillowcases, a reading/travel pillow, and a Superheroes apron – Superheroes are a school theme this year.
Last week the club took a field trip to Jo-Ann Fabric to pick up fabric and supplies for a special mother’s day gift.
“Everyone has their own sewing book and basket,” said Kostelecky. “They’ve learned how to iron. I’ve picked out the projects and the fabric but they help. I learned to sew in 5th grade. We used to have that in home economics or Girl Scouts or you could go to J. C. Penney to learn but those kind of opportunities aren’t around anymore.”
Kostelecky said that Callie Delmore with The Drinking Fox Embroidery even made a custom embroidered patch for each student to have.
Novak thinks that the kids who are currently in the club enjoy it so much because Susan lets them “do”.
“She doesn’t talk at them for an hour once a week,” said Novak. “She models and then they try it. Also, there is a finished product at the end. With all of the projects they have worked on, they are able to take them home at the end of a class or two. Susan is fabulous with them and they love her. Regularly kids check in with me to make sure she is going to be here.”
In the fall Kostelecky said she’ll take a new batch of kids and teach them too.
“I really enjoy it,” she said. “They are all so appreciative.”
Novak said the school wants volunteers to run other clubs, especially soccer.
“We would also love a local engineer to help out with robotics,” said Novak. “We are still in the process of installing a butterfly garden to go along with all the vegetable beds and citrus trees we have planted over the past few years. The kids have expressed an interest in doing more gardening themselves. Music is the one area I have not been able to get access to – choir or instruments.”
Anyone interested in checking out the school is encouraged to visit their annual science night on Tuesday, May 3 at 5:30 p.m. “May the Forest Be with You” will commemorate Earth Day with a Star Wars flavor.
“We are starting to let the community know about our new STEAM (STEM with art) designation and the science night is a wonderful opportunity for neighborhood people to come on campus and check us out,” said Novak.