Sewing with a purpose

Junior Katie Haeussler has a clothes customization business and spends her free time sewing.

Junior+Katie+Haeussler+has+been+making+custom+clothes+since+2020.+Haeussler+donates+most+of+her+profit+to+her+church.

Andrew Hager

Junior Katie Haeussler has been making custom clothes since 2020. Haeussler donates most of her profit to her church.

After a full day of school and sports, junior Katie Haeussler finally sits down at her sewing machine to create. As she sews, the therapeutic whir of the machine brings peace after a long day. Since the age of 8, Katie used this art form to cope with difficulties in her life: to calm her ADHD and escape from childhood bullies. What began as a fun pastime has become a passion she uses to build her future and serve her community.

Since COVID-19 hit in 2020, Katie channeled her passion into profit and charity. She began donating masks to hospitals and those in need, but she later evolved her business to selling customized clothing for roughly $9 apiece. 

“My passion for textiles has developed over time,” Katie said. “Looking at a sweater, I can see how it’s been sewn, and I know how it works. That’s probably the coolest thing because I could do that. I don’t know why, but I find that amazing. Like, ‘Oh my God, my hands did that.’ Before that, I didn’t even know fashion management was a thing.”

Katie runs a commission-based business that makes a profit, but she donates most of the earnings to her church, St. Francis, and St. Jude.

“It’s more for other people,” Katie said. “I get joy out of doing it just because it’s me helping others and it just means more that way. I just like helping people in general.”

Since moving to the district as a sophomore, Katie has quickly progressed in the visual art program. She is currently taking Sculpture Art 3 with art teacher Jeff Seidel. 

“Katie has profound self-sufficiency and a clear vision of what she wants to accomplish,” Seidel said. “A lot of what she does is fashion-related, so some of the decisions she makes I won’t understand on the front end, and then she’ll do it and I’ll see the final result. I admire that.”

Katie balances a full schedule of varsity golf, Majestics, art and other extracurricular activities. Despite the challenges of everyday life, including additional struggles like ADHD and dyslexia, she always finds the time to craft.

“My life is scheduled out right now,” Katie said. “I wake up at 6 a.m., and I go to practice for Majestics at 7 a.m. at the school and then eighth period I go to the golf course. I go home, and I do homework. My mom’s always helpful. I’m close to my family. They know when to give me time, but I usually find time on the weekends or just at night. I’m zeroed in, which is cool and helps my mind quiet down.”

Katie has a close relationship with her family, including her freshman sister Avery Haeussler.

“Katie is a really independent person,” Avery said. “With her, the most I can do is usually give her space to do her own thing. If she ever gets discouraged and has her doubts, I just try to encourage her and show her all that she’s done. She has an amazing talent for this [sewing] and has such great intentions behind her donations. She’s such an amazing woman and was born to work in fashion.”

In the future, Katie hopes to pursue a career in fashion management.

“I want to do fashion management because I’m a drill team manager right now,” Katie said. “I do a lot of their costumes. I just organize and help. I’ve been looking at schools for fashion management and fashion design. Hopefully, that works out, and I can keep doing what I love.”