Remember the song “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing”? I remember learning it in elementary school in the 80’s.(Or the similar, memorable version, “I’d like to buy the world a Coke.” 😉 ) With so many sad things going on in our world right now that song has been playing through my head this week. My heart breaks for so many people right now. I wish everyone in the world could at least get a hug and a pep talk and know that they’re valued – then maybe we wouldn’t have as many angry people who seem to feel that more anger is their only solution.
In the version of the song running through my head however, I keep thinking, “I’d like to teach the world to sew…”
Maybe because last week I had an amazing opportunity to participate in a retreat called Common Threads hosted by the Babylock company for their Babylock ambassadors and a handful of other professionals in the sewing industry. The group of about 50 included a variety of women (+ Jerry Granata who was so nice!) who specialize in a wide variety of aspects of the sewing world – from garment sewing, art quilts, embroidery, fashion design, etc. I knew a handful before I arrived but most were people I met for the first time. And it was amazing! Everyone there was so generous and encouraging.
One funny story – on my way from the airport, my driver told me, “Today I drove a lady who is going to teach people how to use sewing machines. I thought that stuff was extinct!” Oh man, little does he know! I thought of him again and tried not to burst out laughing as we toured the warehouse and saw all those sewing machines stacked up and ready to go.
Part of our time together we got to work on the Babylock sewing machines and sergers. I tend to live in my little comfort zone of straight 1/4″ stitching, and this pushed me way outside! I learned so many new techniques such as machine embroidery, of which I was pretty clueless before. We were using the Babylock Destiny machines and whoa. I didn’t realize what embroidery machines are capable of.
I also learned how to quilt and insert zippers with a serger. A serger! Who knew?! I’ve always thought it would be fun to have a serger, but the thought of threading it was enough to intimidate me from getting one. And then I found out that the Babylock Ovation serger can thread itself. #mindblown
One of my favorite parts was watching the Sachiko machine in action. Sweet, kind Evy Hawkins was showing me some of the cool things this machine can do – the main function is that it’s stitch looks like a running hand stitch. I keep day-dreaming about the fun ways you could quilt with this machine!
The best part of the experience was that at some point or another, everyone was out of their traditional comfort zone and needed help. What made the experience awesome, is that it felt like such a safe environment to ask for help! It just reaffirmed to me that sewers can be some of the most encouraging and generous people I know. Couple that with getting to visit and chat (and laugh) while we sewed and it was such a fun event.
The highlight for me was getting to sew pillowcase dresses for the charity Little Dresses for Africa. First we got to hear from founder Rachel O’Neill who started this foundation to provide clothing to children in Africa who have no clothing to wear. Over the years they have received thousands of donated dresses – and yet they will always need more. Lindsay of the Cottage Mama guided us in this project with fabric donated by Riley Blake Designs.
It was so fun to see the number of dresses finished in one afternoon. It’s motivated me to make more.
A few people have since asked me for more information. The dresses don’t need to be fancy – you can use regular store-bought pillowcases to save time. You can see more pictures and find more information in Lindsay’s post. Free patterns as well as more details can be found at Little Dresses for Africa website.
Another reason to love sewing-people, we are sometimes kind of dorky. Or maybe I should just speak for myself on that one. (See arrow.)
I’ve been trying to figure out why sewing + great people seem to be inter-connected and I think part of it has to do with the positive energy that comes into our lives when we create something. I don’t know about you, but I can safely guess that many of you would say that’s part of the reason you love to sew as well. And maybe that’s why sewers are so generous with their talents in making and providing for others. And I guess that’s why I want to Teach the World to Sew – to help sad, or abused, or angry, or unhappy people feel that sense of fulfillment that comes from creating.
A few other opportunities to share goodness right now:
My Girlfriend’s Quilt Shop in Logan, Utah is hosting a fundraiser for CAPSA – a shelter for victims of violence, domestic abuse and rape. They are hosting an online auction selling finished quilts and 100% of the proceeds will go to this cause. (I’ve donated one of my own – this Simple Simon quilt from my book). Auction goes to June 23.
Other ways you can contribute are sponsoring a block ($10) for quilts that are being made for CAPSA’s emergency shelter and if you’re a local to Logan, you can help assemble the quilts at a Quilt ‘Til You Wilt marathon on June 23, 2016. More details from My Girlfriend’s Quilt shop found here.
Also, the Orlando Modern Quilt Guild is organizing a quilt and quilt block drive to provide quilts for the victims, bereaved family members, and first responders of the shooting in Orlando last weekend. Visit the Modern Quilt Guild for more details as well as links to heart quilt blocks such as these two by Sotak Handmade and Cluck Cluck Sew. (I have another heart quilt block here as well.)
If you are aware of other causes in need of sewing help, feel free to leave them in the comments.
There are so many of you that I wish I could sit down and learn from and sew (and laugh) with. Thank you for being such an inspiring community of people.Keep making the world a better place. xo