Rio Americano High School

The Mirada

Rio Americano High School

The Mirada

Rio Americano High School

The Mirada

Bookroom Clerk Turns Sewing Machine into a Time Machine

Kimberly Davis is a Renaissance costume designer in addition to bookroom manager
Kimberly Davis.
Kimberly Davis.

Bookroom clerk Kimberly Davis has turned her sewing machine into a time machine. She sews herself outfits from different periods, and lately, her favorite place to go is the 1950s.  

 “I sew a lot of 1950s outfits because I like to dress historically a lot of the time,” Davis said. “Usually that’s going to be like big circle skirts and you have to have a lot of fabric.”

She first got into sewing around the age of six by making doll dresses for her little sister. Her mother encouraged her to continue sewing.

“My mother got really excited that I was into something that was domestic,” Davis said. “So, she taught me how to use a sewing machine when I got a little bit older because six-year-olds should not use sewing machines.” 

Davis’s mother was also interested in sewing and made costumes for times in history as well, and Davis followed in her footsteps.

In 2001 she went to Fanime Con for the first time and “cosplayed from a popular anime at the time called Gundam Wing.” That got her hooked. 

“In college, I got really into theater and I actually majored in art with an emphasis in theatrical costuming,” Davis said. “I ended up working in the Bay Area as a costumer for about four or five years.”

She worked as a costumer and cosplayed until she moved to Texas, then eventually to Sacramento.

“I lived in Dallas for about 10 years and I managed a board game and card game store there,” Davis said.

Currently, she is working on a dress to wear for a medieval picnic coming up in late April.

“’I’m looking at the Greater Bay Area Costumers Guild,” Davis said. “There’s a medieval picnic that I’m looking at making something for.”

She is thinking of sewing an authentic medieval dress called a bliaut, with a surcoat trimmed in fur worn over it.

“I mostly just costume for myself, like go to Renaissance fairs and things like that and, and do whatever I want,” Davis said. “It doesn’t necessarily have to be historically accurate because it’s just for me. I am a lot more about how it looks as opposed to using historically accurate textiles.”

She prefers to make different pieces for her enjoyment rather than selling them to others. However, now and then she will take a commission from a friend and make them an original piece.

“I occasionally take commissions for costumes, sometimes for convention costumes like Comic-Con and stuff or for Halloween costumes,” Davis said, “Sometimes friends say, I need a cape or something, but I don’t usually make garments and then sell them.”

Davis believes that everyone should learn how to sew–even if they don’t create historical costumes.

 “It’s fantastic being able to make something or alter something,” Davis said. “Even sometimes we’re so used to fast fashion and ready-made fashion. You also spend less money in the long run and you end up with clothes that fit you better and make you feel better.”

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  • AdamApr 12, 2024 at 9:04 AM

    It’s impressive enough to sew your own clothing but being able to come up with your own ideas and original concepts and make them a reality for yourself is crazy impressive.

  • MeganApr 12, 2024 at 8:36 AM

    It’s so cool to learn about Ms. Davis’s love of sewing! Your article was such a fun and interesting read.