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Sewing, Seams, & Sports Teams: Meet Penn State Athletics’ Alterations Specialist

As a Penn State football fan, it’s easy to get swept up in the action of intense tackles, dramatic catches, and major plays. One individual, though, watches these games to check in on her niche and precise work.

Penn State Alterations Specialist Autumn Grace is in charge of taking care of the football team’s jerseys. She makes plans for clothing rips following aggressive plays and generally makes sure they’re neat and tidy.

Grace has served as Penn State Athletics’ alterations specialist for about a year and a half. She has worked on almost all team jerseys but works most closely with Penn State baseball and football.

She typically receives damaged jerseys after games and fixes them by repairing large rips and microtears. Additionally, she sews on all jersey patches, such as the Big Ten logo and bowl game patches.

“I’m not like, a ‘huge’ football fan, but I’ll follow the sports just to make sure they look good on screen,” Grace said. “And that’s the reason why I’m here! So our guys look good and so they’re safe in their jerseys.”

Grace has been working with clothing for many years and credits her upbringing for her skill.

“I have always been extremely interested in sewing. Growing up, we are always getting hand-me-downs from each sibling, so I had to learn how to make my clothing more ‘me’,” Grace said.

Grace lives in State College, and her father is one of the CATA bus drivers. She first heard about the job opening from a neighbor after discussing her love for sewing. After a quick jersey fix, she was hired, and the rest was history.

Courtesy of Autumn Grace

Prior to Penn State Athletics, Grace worked at Lululemon as its alterations specialist. There, she helped people by either hemming or fitting their leggings and making them more comfortable.

“I would be able to just hem leggings for people right there on the floor, which is why I’m able to work so well with athletic gear, just because I was trained with that,” Grace said.

Some entertaining aspects of her job are getting routine player jerseys, fixing baseball pants zippers that are falling apart, and having her dad and brothers excited at the sight of stacks of Penn State jerseys sitting in their home.

Out of all the jerseys, it seems that Ji’Ayir Brown, Sean Clifford, Nick Dawkins, and especially Tyler Eldson end up in Grace’s pile.

“I get 16, 14, 43, and 53 almost every time. I think 43 is my favorite number, though. Something about his number always coming back,” Grace said.

Sewing the Outback and Rose Bowl patches were some of Grace’s undertakings. The Rose Bowl patches took about two minutes per patch to sew, and the entire project took several days.

“I love seeing my work on TV. I was really excited for the Rose Bowl because the patches were round and had stick-on backs, so it was super easy,” Grace said. “I know that the guys like to try to rip the patches off of each other on the opposite team, which I found out during the Outback Bowl.”

Apart from her work with Penn State Athletics, Grace runs her own alteration business, Autumn The Fixer Of Fabric. Her clients are typically State College residents and students who need their clothing hemmed and fixed.

“Being able to save clothes has always been something I’ve been passionate about,” Grace said. “And also people being happy when life is breathed into their favorite pair of pants.”

In particular, Grace enjoys working with college students, as she finds them the most fun to work with.

“I would get guys who come in who are like, ‘I totally ripped my pants doing a backflip off a table and now they’re ripped,’ and I’m like, ‘You don’t say!’ It’s a lot of fun,” Grace said.

She loves working for Penn State and the people and opportunities it has given her.

“Anytime that I’m sewing, I’m happy,” Grace said. “It’s very satisfying work. Either helping someone with an outfit or helping someone with their jerseys, it’s always wonderful. It’s fulfilling.”

To get your clothing altered by Grace, check out her website. You can also check out her TikTok, where she posts about fixing Penn State jerseys and sewing tutorials.

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About the Author

Marie Moyer

Marie is a third-year student majoring in journalism and minoring in graphic design. She loves being fiscally irresponsible at local farmers markets, watching niche documentaries on HBO, and going to Penn State hockey games as "self-care." Normally you can find her on her laptop, probably away from natural sunlight, either on Adobe Illustrator or WordPress. You can reach her on Instagram - @_mariemoyer_ or send her suggestions (and cat photos) via her email - [email protected]

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