Chantel Mack began sewing when she was in Grade 5 at the Coronach School. What began as sewing clothes for her dolls and her trolls has most recently evolved into costume design for a theatre production.
Although she has sewn on and off since childhood, making things like pajama pants, her sewing skills took off when she began studying Home Economics and Art at the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) in 2007.
“I began practicing; sewing my own halloween costumes (as well as many for friends) and found that I really enjoyed sewing and the fun of creating a character. In University, in the Home Economics program, is where I expanded to many different items and learned many different sewing techniques.” said Mack.
“Some of the costumes that I have practiced on have been a full set of Flintstone costumes, Peter pan, Mermaid, Egyptian Princess, Headless Horseman, and a Greek Goddess.” explained Mack.
In preparation for a future in teaching Home Economics, Mack has been busy sewing dresses and purses for herself and other projects with future students in mind.
Along with honing her sewing skills, Mack is developing her artistic side at the U of S, “I would say that I am an Artsy person I just love creating things. Through University I have also been studying art and have had the opportunity to enhance my skills through classes in drawing, printmaking, painting and sculpture,” she said.
When Mack heard through a friend of an opportunity to volunteer as a Costume Manager for “A Man for All Seasons” she jumped at it, seeing it as a great opportunity to get a feel for the world of the performing arts as well as gain some valuable experience in costume design.
The play, put on by a Community Theater Group affiliated with St. Thomas More College at the U of S called Newman Players, did six shows over two weeks in January.
“I felt that it would be a fun and rewarding experience to learn a about Performing Arts and take on the challenge of dressing 15 characters,” said Mack.
The volunteer position kept Mack busy over the winter, “I was busy in my spare time for 3 months researching 16th century clothing, tracking down historical costumes to rent, creating the character's look, as well as I sewed several full and partial costumes. I made alterations to existing costumes and to patterns to make the costumes look 16th century as well as made several items by constructing my own patterns. I fully constructed the two dresses and veils, the red Priest robe, black Priest robe, black jacket with silver buttons, King's outfit, black shirt, and executioner hood.
“It’s all done and it went well!” said Mack.
Although Mack doesn’t see a future in a career as a costume designer, she does sees sewing and costumes in her future. “I definitely see sewing in the future as I am becoming a home economics teacher! I will continue sewing costumes for myself and friends as a hobby.”
With one year remaining to finish her degree, 22 year-old Mack will begin her internship starting in September.
Chantel is the daughter of Ken and Linda Mack of Coronach, sister to Brandon and Dylan.