Anna Kruger works in the costume shop at Wayne State College. She recruited her mother's to help with a particularly trying costume as she prepared for the spring show "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland."

Princess gowns and theater costumes not all Kruger has made from sewing

Nearly every girl dreams of donning a princess dress at least once or twice in their lives, but that bit of fantasy doesn't come true for everyone.  Anna Kruger is not one of those people though.

Taking matters into her own hands by the time she was a freshman in high school, the Wayne High graduate and current Wayne State College student began sewing with her mom.

"My mom learned to sew when she was young and I always saw what she was doing," Kruger said. "I had a summer a few years ago where I just said 'Ok, you're going to teach me how to sew.' " 

She and her mother poured over patterns and discussed techniques for a summer and when Kruger's first dress project turned out, she said she was hooked. 

Kruger's determination to learn the craft and challenge herself brought about projects of a grand scale: princess gowns.

"I started doing princess dresses and I made my prom dress my senior year, so that's really how I got into doing costumes."

Kruger admitted some of her projects were brought about by the challenge factor attempting a project as big as a princess costume or prom dress is certainly something that tests a person's abilities but also the creative factor.

"When I got to the prom stage, it was 'Well I could buy something or I could make it.' It's fun to make them."

Having been at Wayne High School, Kruger was familiar with senior English teacher Duane Spieker, so when an Intro to Theater class was available at Wayne State with his wife Mollie, Kruger decided to try it out. 

"I chose that class, and she had seen my costumes so she kind of recruited me last semester to help with costumes." 

Kruger's busy schedule as a Biology major makes it extremely important that the workshop class she takes to complete the costumes is flexible, which it is, allowing her to participate in the spring show but also to keep up with her classes and numerous labs.

Costumes for the shows at WSC aren't all from scratch, in fact, a good portion of them are modifications of costumes from previous shows or pieces borrowed from the costume shop in Pierce.

Electives offered at Wayne State have given Kruger an opportunity to add in more of her hobby while she's enrolled. Classes on textiles and terminology have helped her in designing and constructing costumes from knowing what fabric works best to what sewing technique is going to stand up to years of use. She's currently enrolled in a historic costumes course, starting back in ancient Egypt and moving through the years studying how things progress and change.

Kruger makes some pieces herself, but a significant amount of her time is spent making changes to existing costumes, adapting them to fit with the new show and the new cast.

And while this is something she and her mother started, it hasn't stayed just between Kruger and her mother.

High school friends have asked Anna to teach them how to sew and to sew with her, something she's happy to do.

"Last year over fall break, that's all we did," Kruger said of her friends. "We stayed in my basement sewing room working for 4 days on a Belle dress from scratch." 

One such friend is Emma Osnes of Wayne. Not only does Osnes sew with Kruger, but she's helped Kruger with the upcoming WSC show  "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" costuming thanks to a sculpting class she took at Wayne State.

"Emma's taken a sculpting class, so she's really helped when we were figuring out the flower's headdresses, helping me decide how to design and construct them." 

Kruger discussed the friendship element to doing the costumes for Wayne State's spring show.

"I think when you get to college it's really easy to just stay in your building. This is my way to meet more people that I wouldn't have otherwise met."                                           

The Wayne Herald

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