Proud to show off the unevenly cut clothes they made themselves, 12 girls buzzed past sewing machines and scattered pieces of brightly patterned fabrics, working to finish their projects before the big fashion show Thursday.
The girls, ages 8 to 13, were enrolled in Veronica Marrinan’s and Jessica Mermelstein’s four-day Fashion Design camp offered through Bishop McGann-Mercy High School’s Enrichment Academy program.
The fashion show was attended by the campers’ parents and siblings — as well as students who were at the Enrichment Academy’s tennis camp — and allowed the girls to show off what they created and marked the end of the camp.
“It’s so cute to watch them when their parents come and they’re showing them what they did,” said Ms. Marrinan, “They get so excited. It’s adorable.”
Nerves replaced excitement once the show started. One by one girls hurried to one side of the stage, then the next, and finally the center of the stage, posing at each spot before scurrying behind a curtain.
The seven week Enrichment Academy program, in its fourth year, also offers 16 other week-long camps with themes that include tennis, Zumba, aviation and cartooning, among others, as well as sports camps.
As for fashion camp, most of the campers — all girls — agreed that using a sewing machine was their favorite part.
“My favorite thing that I learned was that it’s really fun to refill the bobbin because you smash your foot on the pedal and it goes really fast,” said 10-year-old Johanna Governali.
“I learned lots of different tricks for the sewing machine and how to make anything we want look nice,” said Elizabeth Holden, also 10.
“There is a lot more to it than just sewing,” Ms. Mermelstein said. “There are emotions that are put into everything.”
Both camp instructors have been designing clothes since they were young and attended high school programs at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Ms. Marrinan, 17, a 2014 McGann-Mercy graduate, will attend FIT in the fall and major in Fashion Design. Ms. Mermelstein, also 17, who will be a senior in the fall, hopes to attend FIT.
Using what they’ve learned so far in fashion, they wanted to teach the girls as much as possible over the four days.
“On the first day we had them make a small purse, because that’s a good starter. Then they picked their own projects,” Ms. Mermelstein said.