view counter

A Pattern for Success

Eighth-grader Kelsey ­Cashman’s tops Anne Arundel Library’s makeFashion Showcase

In her first sewing project, 13-year-old Kelsey Cashman took top ­honors in Anne Arundel Library’s makeFashion Showcase with a heated, LED-trimmed cape.

When Kelsey Cashman walks her dog Declan on a cold dark, winter night, they’ll both be comfortable. Declan wears the long fur coat of a golden retreiver. His 13-year-old mistress is warm as just-popped toast in the heated cape that took the St. Mary’s School eight-grader to the top of the class in STEM fashion
    Cashman won’t need a flashlight to light their way, for her blue herringbone self-warming cape is trimmed in LED lights.
    Twenty designers from elementary school to college to pro took the Anne Arundel County Library’s challenge to create wearable electronic and high-fashion apparel. The young designers imagined, stitched and fabricated shoes, coats and jackets, headwear, purses and jewelry.
    Like sewers from many a generation, she adapted a pattern (from New Look fashion book), bought fabric (cotton-and-polyester) and stitched her cape (on a beginner’s Brothers sewing machine).
    It was her first sewing project. Grandmother Maggie Sullivan, also of Annapolis, stood by, Cashman told me, “to tell me how to correct what I was doing wrong.”
    Innovations were not in the pattern. The swirls of LED lights front and back came easy. Tougher was figuring out how to heat the jacket. Cashman had researched and hoped to use a state-of-the-art heat-banded fabric, but the Taiwanese CEO was too late in agreeing to her emailed request for a sample. So between cape and lining she sewed a pouch to hold a rechargable, light-weight heat pack that provides warmth for up to six hours.
    Cashman’s success on the cutting edge was no surprise to her St. Mary’s tech teacher, Sandra Gateau. “When given a task, she’s always at the top of the class,” said Gateau.
    Cashman — who aspires to be an engineer or, like her mother, a surgeon — was surprised. “I was sure it would be one of the college students,” she said.
    Her prize is a $100 gift card to Westfield Annapolis Mall, which hosted the library-sponsored fashion competition in the just-renovated courtyard off Crate and Barrel.
    “The STEM competition highlights how kids are thinking outside the box,” said Mall spokeswoman Christi Swanson, “and this part of the mall was redesigned as something unique to showcase creativity and draw a hipper crowd.”