Sewing Up Scares

On a chilly autumn day in New London, one can find Sarah Trout ’24 sewing their newest creation in their dorm. Sarah is a sophomore creative writing major with a minor in studio art, and during their free time they like to create Victorian clothes.

When Sarah was a child, they learned the basics of sewing from their mother and primarily made rag dolls. However, for the past three years they have been focused on garment construction, after they stumbled upon YouTuber Bernadette Banner’s videos and thought that they would be able to do that. Sarah is particularly inspired by late 1890s Victorian and Edwardian fashions, along with films and anything “spooky and old.” Since they sew everything by hand and do not use a machine at all, most of their projects take a while to construct. Some smaller projects take a week and larger projects take much longer. Before coming to Colby-Sawyer, Sarah attended various events with their own creations and even made a Pinhead outfit complete with a face cover and body paint for a Boston convention.

While at Colby-Sawyer, Sarah has created outfits for the drag balls on campus. For last spring’s theme of pirates and sirens, they created the character Cataract Jack, a skeletal pirate king, complete with a sword through the chest. For this year’s upcoming Halloween drag ball, they have been crafting a helmet inspired by the film Psycho Goreman, and for most Halloweens they create their own costumes. One of their latest creations has also been one of the most challenging: a silver glove, with long, elegant fingers and a detailed eye on the palm. The hardest part of making it was trying to attach it and to get the fingers to bend. Sarah is also currently working on an Inverness cape and has been chipping away at it for a month now. It has been a difficult garment due to it being very long and needing to be incredibly fitted.

One of the garments that Sarah has yet to try their hand at is trousers, since trousers have to fit very well, are hard to make by hand and need to withstand a lot of strain and movement. When asked their favorite piece they’ve made so far, Sarah chose a red and black Edwardian wrap cape made in the American duchess pattern, due to its warmth and the drama it adds. Sarah is certain to bring the drama and fantastic costumes for the upcoming Halloween drag ball and future events with whatever creation they decide on wearing for the evening.