Devena Designs opens to the public

Published 2:41 pm Friday, September 29, 2017

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

Verbena High School Devena Designs is open for business.

Students are learning about becoming entrepreneurs through the school’s new T-shirt shop and store.

Students apply heat press designs or embroider emblems on shirts using special machines.

The majority of the designs the students have developed feature the Verbena Red Devils emblem.

Courtney Penton, a VHS senior, said she has enjoyed creating new designs.

Penton and fellow senior Carissa Hall have been working on shirts for the University of Montevallo.

“I was really excited to be able to do this,” Hall said.

The students are embroidering the university’s name and signature falcon emblem on the shirts. Penton and Hall said it is their favorite design so far.

Penton said it can be challenging to get the placement of the embroidery hoop exactly right to ensure that the machine embroiders in the correct place.

“The machine sometimes messes up and we have to rethread the needle and figure out what’s wrong with it,” Penton said.

A backing is also applied before the shirt is embroidered. Students have to take out any extra stitches and cut off excess backing before the shirt is complete.

“I’ve enjoyed actually being able to make the shirts,” Hall said.  “The heat press is my favorite one.”

Teacher Samantha Robinson said the entrepreneur class starts with about 20 minutes of instruction about starting a business before the hands-on portion of the class. Not all of the students are interested in making T-shirts, so they are involved in other aspects of the school’s business venture.

The class began the semester talking about how to finance a business, including options and interest rates.

The class also teaches students about inventory and cashier skills.

Some students, who are not in the entrepreneur class, work on shirts during their flextime.

Alisia Lezama, a 10th-grade student, said she has monogrammed shirts and worked with the heat press machine.

“We’ve worked on one of the devil designs and initialing,” Lezama said.

Her favorite project has been monogramming shirts.

Christina Carter, a 10th-grade student, has worked with the T-shirts, and has helped prepare sandwiches served through the store in her Food and Nutrition class.

“I like using the heat press and monogramming,” Carter said.

Lezama and Carter created a “Roll Tide Roll” Design, featuring those words and a small elephant.

Working with the T-shirts involves a lot of trouble-shooting when it does not come out right.

Carter said measuring and lining up the designs to where they need to be has been challenging. Lezama said sometimes the needles and thread on the embroidery machine break.

Hall said the embroider machine was difficult to use at first, especially threading the needle in the machine, because “sometimes the thread likes to mess up and you have to rethread it.”

Devena Designs is open to the public Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. to purchase shirts or bring in a shirt to be embroidered or heat pressed. Sandwiches are also sold on a first come, first served basis during this time.

A heat pressed design is $5 per side of the shirt.

Visitors must sign in at the office before proceeding to the store area.

As the program grows, Robinson hopes to have a portion of the school website dedicated to Devena Designs.