Port Huron Northern student and seamstress receives national recognition for textile creations

Kaylee Kruse, a senior at Port Huron Northern High School, is a completely self-taught seamstress. Born and raised in Port Huron, Kruse has always possessed a passion for sewing and working with fabrics.

Kruse’s journey began at the age of eight when she was introduced to a quilting machine. Although quilting didn't pique her interest, she was drawn to sewing. However, when the pandemic struck in 2020, Kruse found herself with an abundance of free time and decided to rekindle her love for sewing.

“We had just moved into a new house and everyone was staying home,” she says. “I started watching “Bridgerton” and I loved the costumes and thought I want to try sewing again.”

Inspired by the show, she ventured into creating her own clothing pieces. She delved into making garments reminiscent of the Regency Era in the early 1800s characteristic of long-flowing gowns, empire waistlines, and low and long necklines. She even created her own dress for junior prom featuring a fairy-inspired look.

“I would go to goodwill and thrift shops and buy clothes to practice making my pieces,” Kruse says. “I also purchased bedsheets and curtains made of high-quality fabric. If you take out the seam, you can fashion it into clothing.”

Kruse also began showcasing her work on Instagram and her mom would share them on Facebook. She says the positive feedback and words of encouragement she receives from online communities bolsters her confidence in her work.

While working at Hobby Lobby, Kruse stumbled upon a stunning red fabric that sparked her imagination. She envisioned a design inspired by 18th-century fashion and brought it to life as a vampiric dress, using silky polyester adorned with intricate designs and 3D elements including ruffles, pleats, and elaborate fabric gatherings.

“I wanted to make something very elegant, something that would look like 18th-century paintings and the dresses that survived that era,” Kruse says.

In December, Kruse submitted the dress to the Scholastic Arts and Writing Awards, one of the nation's most prestigious recognition for creative teens. Her craftsmanship and artistic vision were recognized with the Silver Key Award, a distinction bestowed upon only 7-10% of regional submissions. Currently, the dress is on display at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, providing an opportunity for both students and the public to see Kruse's work.

In the future, Kruse says she would love to do costume-making for historical or fantasy films.

“I really admire Michelle Clapton from Game of Thrones,” she says. “I hope people will feel that way about my work.”

To see more of Kruse’s creations, visit instagram.com/seamstery.marie.
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Read more articles by Andrea Harrington.

Andrea Harrington has been a freelance writer for The Keel for many years and enjoys telling stories about the people and communities across the Blue Water Area. In addition to her work with The Keel, she also substitute teaches for East China and Algonac School Districts and offers creative marketing content working one-on-one with local businesses. She loves everything fall-related and in her free time, is an avid watcher of horror movies and enjoys spending time with her husband and Italian greyhound, Marchello. Contact Andrea at harringtonandrea40@gmail.com.