In July, I visited QuiltWorks, a wonderful quilt store in Bend, OR. Marilyn Forestell, the quilt store owner, has founded a non-profit organization, Sew Teach Me. Their vision is to match trained and screened mentors with youth to learn to sew at no cost in a safe and nurturing environment supported by a community with the necessary tools, skills and projects for a successful sewing experience.
Marilyn’s team of volunteers teach youth basic sewing skills at her store and want to share their love of sewing with the next generation. The Sew Teach Me website provides a wealth of information and the opportunity for you to set up your own team at your local store. You will receive full guidelines for the projects to help you get started. To learn about becoming more involved, you can also contact Marilyn at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The four beginning sewing sessions teach basic sewing skills, while creating simple and fun projects, within a one to two-month time period. These classes are free. Materials, including sewing machines that have been donated by the local sewing community.
The four sessions are:
1) Getting to know your sewing machine and making a name tag
2) Making a pillowcase
3) Making a sewing tool caddy
4) Making a pillow pal
The mentors are volunteers who have gone through a background check, and a training session to be prepared to work with students. There are many donation opportunities from donating funds to helping build the program to donating pre-cut kits for the various projects.
I applaud Marilyn for initiating this project which has already introduced over 100 youngsters to the joys of sewing. I encourage you to work with kids. Even if you can’t develop a full program like this, you may have the opportunity to work one-on-one with an eager young person who wants to learn to sew. Start with a small project that may be easily completed, before moving on to larger more time consuming ones. My books, Creative Quilting with Kids and Patchwork and Quilting with Kids have a wide range of projects for individuals and groups. The books are out-of-print, but second-hand copies are available on Amazon.