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The Communicator

Threading the Needle 

Ionie Steudle shares her lens of life from learning how to sew. 
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Ionie Steudle

Growing up, I had this eagerness expanding with me to learn how to sew clothes from the very early age of two years old. Experimenting with mixing different patterns and textures, I was able to fully indulge myself in the fashion world. Looking back at the outfits that were created, I wonder how my parents even let me leave the house. But I truly think it’s helped me discover my own style today. 

I can still remember the very first day I ever tried sewing. On a wobbly cushioned table stood what at the time felt like the most daunting machine, the Viking Husqvarna 105. My feet hung off my grandma’s chair that matched the table, and I wondered how I would ever be able to make a wearable piece of clothing with the intricate instrument. 

The rainbow polka-dotted fabric caught my eye first thing, and I knew what I wanted to make. After my grandma taught me the basics of the sewing machine; such as how to thread it, the bobbin, how to make a line, and how to stitch backward, I felt infinite. She left me downstairs by myself for hours, with me occasionally running up for her to help me see if what I was making would fit. 

My aunt worked as a designer in New York City, and from a very early age, I had envied her from a distance. When I finally finished with my draped sewn dress with uncut bobbin threads falling off throughout it, I was the most proud walking up the stairs to show off my hard work. I craved the validation that was held upstairs. I strutted up with an image of what it looked like in my head, and their reactions were just what I needed for being close to 7. It was the thing that got me to keep trying and not give up on this longing passion.

Growing up and trying to find my identity was a long ride, but experimenting with clothing definitely helped me. I think knowing that you don’t have to stick to one style has helped me evolve my varying fashion styles. Coming out as a lesbian was tricky and put a halt in my style because I thought that meant I had to fit into a specific category of fashion. After I got over that initial bump, it truly opened a bigger door into fashion, and truly made me realize just how much I love it. 

Knowing how to sew has taught me so much throughout my life. With any passion, I think this is true. Clothing is so expressive and means so much to me, and everyone’s personal style is so unique. I think that knowing how to sew and make my own clothes has given me the opportunity to understand what is flattering on my body and what I think looks best on me. I was able to find my style earlier than other people I know. I also think that your style is a very altering thing, and there are many factors to it, such as different trends, weather, and just changing your taste. 

Sandwiching the fabric between the metals was so full of operations. Growing up knowing how to sew has helped me in so many different ways because it is so helpful in so many situations. Once people found out I could sew, I would get loads of requests to fix holes in their clothes. It was so crazy to me that many people just get rid of their clothes when something is wrong with them instead of trying to fix it. Or even when something doesn’t fit them right, it goes right out the door. It makes me feel so accomplished when I can bring the love back to a clothing piece when it is mended and then see it get its time outside of the closet. 

When I was about 7, I got my first American Girl Doll. My grandparents (after much begging from me) decided to get me one that looked like me. For whatever reason, I took it upon myself to name her Pollen, and from then on, I took her everywhere, careful to not get her clothes dirty because I only had so many. Throughout the next few years, my grandma would make her sew both of us matching outfits. The limits were endless with her. I was able to dress up twice. Two wrong sides stitched together have made me realize how mistakes can end up being the most beautiful once flipped around — just a change of perspective.

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About the Contributor
Ionie Steudle
Ionie Steudle, Journalist
Ionie Steudle is a Junior at Community High School and this is her first semester on the yearbook staff. She enjoys sewing new clothes out of old ones, doing theater, talking to friends, ripping her closet apart to try to find an outfit to wear, and playing the guitar. She is also very fond of any and all animals (so keep your pets hidden…). Ionie can not wait for the weather to start changing, and finally be able to drink hot coffee

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