18" Doll Sewing Patterns • Free Tutorials • Sewing with Kids

My Service Project

So it’s been a little while since my last post. Preparing for my finals and have not sewn anything lately. It’s a bit painful. It has been a busy time for our family, with so much to celebrate. Our nights have been filled with choir and music concerts, many celebratory events. My kids and their peers amaze me; I love hearing the amazing music they can create. There’s always so much talent.

Anyway, I have not been sewing, but working on a project of mine. A while back I thought about how each person’s life can be so different than another’s, and those differences can mean so many things, such as lack of opportunity, hope, or support, things which have significant implications for one’s life and future. Things that are usually due to circumstances and situations, not internal dispositions. Things that make forging your way into the world in a positive way either likely or near impossible. Which got me thinking about how is it possible to give hope, encouragement, or empowerment– foster a positive self-concept that can lead to self-efficacy and further accomplishments. To a brighter future.

My idea seems simple and may seem unrelated to the ideas above, but I don’t think so. I think it can do just that for some, and it’s important to try. It’s important to send the non-verbal message that someone cares, free of paternalism. I talked with a local youth shelter and will be teaching sewing there as a volunteer. I will be sharing part of who I am.

I have had my first class and it went very well! Most kids were very interested in learning and we had a positive experiencing working, learning, and creating together. I was very impressed with the youth, and their finished projects looked great. Some chose to make my cinchy cinch sack pattern. They learned to use a rotary cutter, talked about seam allowances and worked with a sewing machine; they had a great time. I felt privileged to be a part of it.

Here are some shots of a couple of the finished bags. Oh and did I mention the guys were sewing and producing some awesome bags? Everyday my worldview becomes more open and my perspective wider 🙂

The guys decide to make their bags with 2 fabrics for 2 looks–very clever!Sorry my photo skills on this one are clearly lacking 😉

Here is a quick photo of another youth’s bag.

These were made within the 2 hour class, from cutting out fabric to their finished products. Some had never used a sewing machine, some had never used an iron before. They were all willing to have a go. They were eager to learn, eager to help me and each other, and  even when machines were not working as they should, or seams were not looking as the student wanted, we kept moving forward. It was a very good day and I think we all felt good.

I am looking forward to a summer full of more sewing days with the youth like this one, although I will be more prepared next time, and hopefully all my machines will be in proper working order. I had picked up some machines off  craigslist and at goodwill  in preparing for my service project—2 of these old, tired machines became inoperable during the class and are now at the local repair shop–I don’t think buying machines from those sources works well for me, as they sewed very well when I tested them. Grrr.

I’ve learned much from the afternoon with them and am glad of it. The best way to spend an afternoon–may even top having sewn something myself. Thanks so much for reading!

~Erin



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