A Creative Approach to Sewing and Life
Many students on the Hill carry their books around in North Face and L.L.Bean backpacks. But not Julie Kafka '12. Her magenta corduroy backpack stands out in the crowd because she made it herself.
Kafka, a native of Newton, Mass., first learned how to sew in ninth grade. "I had a T-shirt that was too big on me so I wanted to make it into a pillow," she says. "I had my mom resurrect her ancient sewing machine and show me how to do it."
Since then, Kafka and her mom, both 'self-taught' sewers, "have teamed up to figure out the nonsense world of sewing," Kafka says.
"I just really love the creative process," Kafka says. "In high school, all of my jeans had decorations on them - embroidery, patches, etc."
Kafka has completed a variety of sewing projects, including the Halloween costume that she wore this year, which consisted of a tan onesie that she sewed from a blanket in one short weekend. She donned the onesie and a paper crown to dress up as Max from the popular children's novel Where the Wild Things Are.
The project that Kafka is most proud of, however, is the quilt she made for her bed, which took her nine months. "I designed the pattern myself," Kafka says, "which most quilters don't do. But I don't really like following instructions."
Due to the fact that she is "more of a rogue crafter," Kafka has not joined the craft club at the College. On campus, she is the Community Advisor for Mary Low, a position the she enjoys because it makes her "feel more involved in what's going on at Colby."
Kafka is also a member of the College's Ultimate Frisbee team, the Dazzlin' Asses. She loves being on a team that is "so supportive and full of wonderful people," she says, and she is excited about the fact that "we're getting really good this year, which is awesome."
Some of the friends that Kafka has made on the Frisbee team have enlisted her sewing skills for patch jobs and Halloween costumes, and Kafka is always happy to help.
Kafka is an international studies major with an environmental studies minor, and she is excited to study abroad in Mendoza, Argentina next fall. Mendoza is a small cosmopolitan city at the foot of the Andes and is surrounded by national parks, at which Kafka hopes to pursue her interest in environmental studies.
Overall, "I'm really interested in Latin American politics and the legacy of the Cold War," Kafka says, and she may be interested in a career in policy.
This summer, Kafka will be interning at Senator John Kerry's office in Washington DC. She is not sure exactly what her duties there will entail, but "it seems pretty hands-on, and not very secretarial, which is exciting."
But for right now, Kafka's future plans are "very open-ended." Much like her experimental, learn-as-you-go sewing style, "I am very against having a plan," she says.