Sewing, some would say, is a lost art, but it has many benefits. You can learn at any age. It requires creativity, keeps the brain active, improves hand-eye coordination and reduces stress. Sewing promotes joy and satisfaction from creating something from scratch or tailoring something to fit. Super-talented seamstress Angie Cook knows all of these, and we are grateful that she shares her talents with the School of Music & Theatre and the Office of Alumni Engagement. In fact, grateful is an understatement.
Angie’s mother, who was also a seamstress, taught her to sew at the tender age of 8. Her first projects were clothes for her Barbie dolls. She graduated to flannel baby blankets when she joined 4-H. By high school, she was sewing her own clothes, including her senior year prom dress.
After working for a time as a professional seamstress for Tiffin Scenic Studios, crafting stage drapery, today Angie utilizes her talents primarily on alterations and repairs on a wide variety of items. She spends hours working on wedding dresses, bridesmaid dresses and formal wear. Angie contracts with a local dry cleaner to do their alterations and also serves her own client base.
She has made the School of Music & Theatre a priority in her busy schedule. The phrase “I don’t know what we’d do without her” is frequently bandied about in Brenneman Hall by ensemble directors who need last-minute alterations on performance attire.
Here are two examples: In 2017, when the Marching Band acquired new uniforms, they arrived in standard sizes. With just days to go before the band’s debut, Angie altered dozens of uniforms, tailoring each to individual band members. Some uniforms needed to be remade entirely. It was a herculean task on short notice which she performed without hesitation. Additionally, each new season, Concert Choir Director Greg Ramsdell calls on Angie to measure and fit the choir members in their tuxedos and gowns. Some require simple alterations and others need more sophisticated redo’s.
Angie has been working with the choir for nine years. For much of that time, she insisted on donating her time, hemming and adjusting concert gowns and tux trousers.
“When I first began working at Heidelberg, I knew Angie mostly on a professional level, but now I am proud to call her my friend,” said Greg Ramsdell. “She cares as much about how the Concert Choir looks as I care about how they sound.”
For the past dozen years, she’s been assisting the graduating class by sewing their class banner, helping to uphold one of Heidelberg’s longest-standing traditions. She also repaired many of the class banners that were suffering from wear-and-tear over the years.
As a Heidelberg mom of twin daughters, Brittany, ‘13 and Brianne, ‘13 and MAC ‘15, both four-year Choir performers, she has used her sewing to stay active with the Heidelberg community too, helping her daughters’ Euglossian Society and Delta Sigma Chi with some sewing projects. While still working tirelessly as a seamstress for Heidelberg’s choral ensembles, Angie now also sings as a member of the University-Community Chorus.