Sew Can You hosts successful first show

Published 8:00 am Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The student and guest models line up for one final round of applause at the end of the show. (Leader photo/TED YOAKUM)

The student and guest models line up for one final round of applause at the end of the show. (Leader photo/TED YOAKUM)

On Sunday afternoon, the students of Sew Can You Fashion Design School got to experience the runway firsthand without even leaving the city.

The sewing school held its first ever fashion show at the ACTION Center in Dowagiac, with many of its students showcasing the projects they have worked on to their parents and other onlookers. Entitled “Fashion It Forward,” half the proceeds collected from ticket sales will go toward the center’s community food bank.

The student models, who ranged from elementary students to adults, strolled down the mini runway proudly displaying their creations. The show was divided into several different portions depending on the clothing or accessories featured. Some of the pieces shown off were handbags, pajamas, tutus and even graduation dresses.

Around 200 tickets were sold for the two shows, which took place at 2:30 and 4:30, said Karla Arndt, Sew Can You’s owner
and instructor.

“It was amazing,” Arndt said, following the show. “The people were excited. The kids were excited. It was awesome.”

While the instructor had coordinated student fashion shows in the past, this was the first time she had done so for Sew Can You, which she opened last summer.

A portion of the ticket sales was made by the students themselves, who paid for tickets in order to help raise additional funds for ACTION, Arndt said.

For 10-year-old student Taylor Palmer, the charity aspect of the show was something that she liked about the show. The fifth-grade Kincheloe Elementary student said that she had classmates whose families struggled to make ends meet in the past, so she enjoyed the opportunity to participate in something that could help make a difference.

“I really want to make Dowagiac a better place than it is right now,” Palmer said.

Palmer and few other students helped Arndt prepare of the fashion show, helping create decorative flowers from old coffee filters and setting up the stage before the show.

Another volunteer who lent a hand on Sunday was Arndt’s daughter, Kristin Dorsett, who helped the girls backstage.

“It really went well,” Dorsett said. “We were really surprised at how well and how smoothly things went, and at how fun it turned out to be.”

When she was younger, Dorsett helped at her mother’s shows as a model, so shifting into her new role backstage was a bit of adjustment at first, she said.

“I was really nervous, but once it started it just seemed to flow together,” Dorsett said.

Meanwhile, her own daughters, Faye, 7, and Tegan, 4, took her old role, modeling alongside their grandmother’s students.

Along with the proceeds from ticket sales, Arndt also held a raffle and a bake sale to help raise money for the food pantry. They also accepted monetary and food donations during the event.