Geek of the Week

Every Stitch a Story

Ria Angelica Laxa ’21 sees sewing as math made tangible — and as love made wearable.

What makes you a geek?
I sew my own clothes.

How long have you been sewing?
Since second grade. I wanted a pencil case but I was too shy to ask my parents to spend the money to buy one for me. So I sewed my own pencil case. I learned sewing by watching my parents sew. My dad hemmed my school uniform skirts.

When did you start sewing clothes?
In eighth grade I made a panda onesie for Halloween. Each button was different because I just used whatever buttons we had. The tail was stuffed with old T-shirts. Friends and family still borrow that costume every year. Then, when I was about to turn 18 and have my debut, which is a big Filipino celebration, I couldn’t find a dress that I liked, so I made my own. My mom doubted that I could do it. It took me about a month. That debut dress was a big deal; it got me a lot of requests for alterations and for dresses — especially prom dresses.

What do you like most about sewing?
My favorite part is the math, actually. I make patterns on paper, with trapezoids and circles and numbers. It’s using your education for something real, something useful. These days I don’t make many clothes from scratch. I don’t have time because I’m a biology major and pre-med, and I also work part-time. But I still alter clothes. Half the clothes in my closet are my mom’s hand-me-downs that I altered to fit me. And friends will text me from a store and say, “This dress is the last one left and it’s on a huge sale but it’s a large. Can you make it fit?” They send me a picture of the dress. I can usually make it fit them.

How can sewing change the world?
If you sew a dress for someone, you take measurements, you ask questions, you listen, and you learn a little about that person’s dreams. That dress becomes more than a dress. It’s a comfort. It makes a person feel loved.

Does your passion change the world in a way small or large? Nominate yourself or a friend for Geek of the Week! Email