The Stitch program originally began last spring semester as an educational simulation created by fashion professor Rachel Eike for an Apparel 1 class. The task was for students to take a garment in need of an alteration from a friend and make it new and perfectly wearable again.
“The purpose was to allow students to apply the hem methods they learn in class on actual garments,” Eike said.
It was a challenging, problem solving task which allowed for students to be able to gain experience working with an actual article of clothing, rather than creating something from scratch. It wasn’t until last semester when Fashion Merchandising Major, Amber Shelton was a student in Eike’s Apparel 1 class and came up with the idea to make the simulation a reality.
“I was sure that there were so many students walking around campus that had clothes that just didn’t work and so they weren’t wearing them,” Shelton said.
She and Eike knew bringing the program to life was achievable and worked together to make a proposal for the Center of Sustainability last spring. By the end of the semester they had received notification that their hard work had paid off and thus the Stitch Program was born.
“The program is really set up like a small business,” Eike said. She describes the program as a good introduction to business management since the students document, take inventory and receive critiques given from an online survey from their campus customers. Each member also has a job, varying from quality control, secretary, PR “brand ambassadors” and assistant managers.
One thing’s for sure, they give a student back their closet. The stitchers can work on pants, skirts, shirts, shoes, bags, blankets and can do anything from hemming to fixing a hole, replacing a button or zipper and even fixing a broken sandal or two.
“If it’s doable, we will do it,” Shelton said. “We want to send out a stellar garment every time.”
The Stitch office is located in SHE (School of Human Ecology) building 0212, closest to the IT Building, in room 1006. They are open every Tuesday and Thursday from 4:30 p.m. – 7 p.m. Turnaround time is a week and everything is free for all students, faculty and staff. Anyone with a Eagle ID is eligible to use the services.
They ask for no more than two items at a time and if you have more, which they will gladly take, wait until you receive your two garments before bringing in different ones. Also, at this time they will not be accepting lined blazers because of the difficulty level, but after next semester they will gladly take them after the stitchers have learned the proper skills to make a “stellar” garment.