Skills for Millennials

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Photo: Tonia Schmidt

Cooking, handicrafts, knitting and sewing – all of these are skills that most of us (millennials, sigh),  are not quite familiar with due to the fact that these skills do not get taught in school or at home anymore. We are all busy bees and everything that we could possibly need is available at our fingertips to be ordered and shipped to our front doors, which makes the crafts mentioned above, outdated or to be exact: basically dead. Now, you might be lucky and have a great dad, mom, grandma, grandpa or another skilled person in your life who is nice enough to share their wisdom with you, but if you don’t… Orange Coast College is the place to look for guidance.


 There are many classes offered that will focus on hands-on learning at OCC, which I love because you know, how in other classes, long lectures can be a drag, staring at screens and scribbling info in notepads, that we will not be able to make sense of later anyways. This past fall semester,  I was lucky enough to be part of an amazing class. The specific course I took was Fashion 180: Principals of Clothing Construction 1, taught by Donna Dickens. I was a little nervous signing up for this course, since I have never sewn before, and I knew that I would be walking out of this class with two fully constructed garments. It turns out all my worries were for nothing as Donna is quite amazing! She is extremely knowledgeable, always happy to help and just SO passionate about what she is doing, that it makes you want to become a little sponge that soaks everything up she is teaching you. 

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Photo: Tonia Schmidt

Donna herself went to OCC, became a costume designer for many Southern California productions and made her way back to OCC as an instructor. Over the semester she patiently introduced us to many different sewing techniques, she would explain and demonstrate, then provide us with materials to work on the techniques ourselves. Once we worked through the techniques, the class started to construct garments, with fabrics that we bought on an exciting field trip to LA’s fashion district. Everyone in the class worked really hard on their projects and the dynamics of the class were really great as everyone would help each other in order to make sure no one got left behind. From week to week you would see how you were getting closer to finishing an actual garment, which was extremely exciting, especially if you have never sewn before – like me. The first garment I made was a pair of denim pants and for the second project I constructed a full A-line skirt, both items came out really well and I was so proud that I texted pictures to my mother constantly, who was also really excited about my success.

 There really is something about creating with your bare hands, working on something for a long time, failing sometimes while doing it, only to feel extremely accomplished at the end, having the finished product in hand. If all my excitement does still not convince you of how awesome Fashion 180 is, I will let the pictures speak for themselves.

– Lea Heidgen


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