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The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

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Pandemic Pastime to Passion: Asa Bordelon explores history interest through sewing

Nathan Li
Asa Bordelon, a junior, has found a passion for sewing and tailoring. Through this activity, his interest in history is explored as well.
Edward Park

When the coronavirus pandemic forced the potential of many students to sit stifled in their homes, Asa Bordelon dusted off the hardly used sewing machine he’d received for Christmas in 2019 and began experimenting with it. The days flew by as he taught himself how to sew by machine and by hand, how to develop his own patterns and threading styles. 

Asa, now a junior, joined the high school theater costumes department just last spring and is the only male student actively involved in costumes this year, fusing his interest in fashion with his love for history. 

With each project Asa pursues, he researches a time period and a garment from that time, learning the background history and how it relates to the clothing he makes. He’s interested in the social conventions behind each piece of clothing and how colors and patterns were used to make a point by their wearers.

“It helps me understand them as people better,” he said. “I think a lot of the time when you talk about people of the past you think of them as black-and-white photos — no smiles on their faces, kind of just people — and you don’t see them as who they were.”

In addition to sewing and garment creation, he has a range of other hobbies. He does woodworking/whittling, has been experimenting with shaping stone or flintknapping, and is currently learning to knit and crochet. 

“I swear I’ve seen him, like, chiseling an arrow in school made of glass or something,” junior Lucie Bhatoey-Bertrand said. “Like he was just casually chiseling an arrowhead. He just has all these separate hobbies and interests and things that he pursues and I just find it really admirable.”

Lucie has been friends with Asa since middle school. Outside of working with him in the costumes department, she’s seen firsthand the variety of hobbies Asa pursues in his free time. 

“It’s fun to be friends with him because I feel like he knows so much and he has so many different interests, which I feel is a really big part of who he is,” Lucie said. 

Asa hopes to continue his passion for garment making in college. He wants to minor in history and major in theater costume design, and his life goal is to design period pieces for movies. 

Fine arts teacher Ana Romero, who taught Asa in her Sew-called Creations course, thinks he has the potential to do that and more. 

“He is, in terms of a student, an amazing student. He’s really nice, really chill, really just a relaxed person,” Ms. Romero said. “Aside from that, I think he just has this understanding of how the body is and how to design clothes on it. He just kind of gets it.”

Asa is always happy to help around the classroom. If Ms. Romero isn’t sure how to answer a student’s question, she calls him over, and he gives his take on it. 

His advice for any student wanting to delve deeper into their passion? To not give up.

“I think this is kind of cliché but don’t give up on it,” Asa said. “For myself, I spent a good two years trying to figure out, first of all, how to use the machine and how patterns even work, and a lot of my stuff from when I first started was just bad, objectively not good production, but if you keep practicing that’s the only way to get better.”

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About the Contributors
Skye Freeman
Skye Freeman, Audience Engagement Manager
Skye Freeman is a member of the Class of 2025 and is an audience engagement manager. She joined the journalism team during the 2022-23 school year when she was a sophomore. Her favorite piece she has written for the Midway is her story on the U-High drama teachers, Mr. and Mrs. Ambrosini: “Love that Lasts: U-High theater teachers married for over 50 years flawlessly execute show after show.” Outside of journalism, she enjoys playing Badminton and is vice president of the Students with Disabilities Association and of the Junior States of America club.
Nathan Li
Nathan Li, Photographer
Nathan Li, a member of the Class of 2025, is a beginning photojournalist. His favorite part of photojournalism is documenting sports and being able to include his friends. Outside of photojournalism, Nathan likes playing basketball and listening to music. 

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    Sharon Manning-OtleyApr 27, 2024 at 11:51 am

    I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for him. He will become an Oscar winner for costume design