Auburn native benefits Riley Hospital with clothing business

In this Dec. 23, 2015 photo Sam Hunt, who makes bowties and other things for Knots for a Kause, poses for a photo in Auburn, Ind. All the profits she makes from Knots for a Kause benefit Riley Hospital for Children. (Jacob Klopfenstein/The (Auburn) Star via AP)

AUBURN, Ind. (AP) — Though Sam Hunt learned how to sew as a young girl, her interest in making clothing took a big jump when she sewed her own prom dress in her senior year at DeKalb High School.

From then on, she knew she wanted to pursue a career as a designer of wedding dresses or evening wear, she said.

“That sparked something,” Hunt said. “When I made that dress, I knew I could do this.”

Hunt, an Auburn native, is a 21-year-old senior at Ball State University studying fashion and entrepreneurship. She will graduate in December, after which she hopes to work for an evening wear or wedding dress company. Her long-term goal is to found her own fashion label, specializing in those types of clothes.

For now, though, Hunt is sticking with bowties, scarves and pocket squares with her Knots for a Kause business. She sews and assembles custom clothing items from various fabrics. All the profits she makes from Knots for a Kause benefit Riley Hospital for Children. For men, she makes bowties, ties and pocket squares. For women, she makes scarves, hair-bows and headbands.

The idea for her business started when she was an intern for the Retired Senior Volunteer Program in DeKalb County. The organization gets donations of fabric to turn into blankets and other items for children in need, and as an intern, Hunt said, she helped with that.

After her RSVP internship ended, Hunt said RSVP director Shirley Johnson continued to give her excess fabric material. Since people knew she was interested in sewing and fashion, other people started giving her fabric, too, Hunt said. Soon, she had so much fabric, she couldn’t figure out how to use it all.

“I didn’t know what to do with it,” Hunt said. “I started making bowties for Christmas gifts. It was easy, so I started a business.”

Hunt has been involved with Ball State’s Dance Marathon fundraiser for the past three years, she said. Dance marathoners stay on their feet for 12-36 hours straight in solidarity and support of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. The nationwide organization’s mission statement is: “We dance for those who can’t.”

Last year, Ball State’s Dance Marathon raised $502,000 for Riley. The aim this year is to raise $550,000 for the hospital. With Knots for a Kause, Hunt said, she is able to contribute to that charity even more.

“I combined two passions: sewing and giving back,” she said. “I’m always trying to find new ways of giving back.”

Since Hunt also is studying entrepreneurship, owning and operating her own business gives her a chance to hone those skills, too, she said. She enjoys being able to create a concept and see it through from beginning to end, all on her own, she said. The hardest part is finding the time to sew between being a student and having another part-time job, she said.

Hunt said she can make a bowtie in about 30 minutes. She creates an assembly line of sorts to make the garments, cutting the fabric and sewing the pieces together for multiple ties or scarves all at once. But she said the work doesn’t become tedious. Hunt said sewing can be calming and relaxing for her.

“I get into the zone when I sew,” she said. “That’s why I can do so much. I just get going, and I can sew for hours.”

Since she chooses from her vault of fabric that comes from a variety of sources, she often has to use unconventional fabrics in unusual ways, Hunt said. But that allows her to dig into her creative side and be creative, she said. She enjoys determining which types of clothing will work with certain fabrics and what people will like.

“I can always find something to do with the fabric,” Hunt said. “Something sparks, and it becomes the perfect option for what I’m making.”

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Source: The (Auburn) Star, http://bit.ly/22JljpV

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Information from: The (Auburn, Ind.) Star, http://www.dekalbstar.com

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