Jewel Aiyout has been gleefully wearing a hand-made arningaq around Taloyoak recently.
Friends and family compliment her on it and ask whether her mother tailored it for her.
“I say, ‘No, I made it,’” said the enthusiastic 14-year-old.
Aiyout used her aunt’s sewing machine to complete the project for her fashion studies course during Career and Technology Week, May 21-17.
“I was so proud. It was so awesome,” she said. “It was fun. I couldn’t wait to finish.”
She completed the sewing job in five days, spending a little over an hour on it each day.
One of the keys to successful sewing is to go as straight as possible, Aiyout said. If a mistake is made, stitches can be removed and redone, she advised, acknowledging that she’s pricked her finger more than once. “Aha, yeah.”
An arningaq is similar to an amauti except it has a longer hood, the arms are wider and the body portion is a little smaller, Aiyout explained. It’s also lighter and generally warn during milder months.
Teacher Gina Pizzo described the garment as “lovely.”
Aiyout sometimes wears it while she’s throat-singing and she occasionally carries her nephew in the back, she added.
“He didn’t want to get out the first time,” said the Grade 8 student.
Her reason for choosing the dark blue, blue/grey and white colour scheme was practical.
“People who were in that CTS class used mostly using black and white,” she said. “I didn’t want mine to be the same so I used other colours.”
Although it was the first arningaq she fashioned, she has previously sewn wallets, mitts, a hat, a bag, a parka and ski pants.
She figures that she started sewing at age seven and gave the first pair of mitts she made to her grandparents as a gift.
With Nunavut Day fast approaching, Aiyout said she plans to be “out camping, cooking or cleaning up.”
She also has plans to go on summer hunts, noting that she’s harvested caribou before.
“Maybe go hunting for like two weeks, go home, be home for a week,” she said of her plans for July and August.
Although she has several years ahead of her to decide what sort of career she wants to pursue, she wants to become a member of the RCMP.
“That was my dream since I was a little girl,” she said.
No one she knows has ever become a Mountie so she wants to achieve it, she said.