Sewing is a hugely practical skill and a vocational opportunity. Last year a group of older students learnt how to use the donated sewing machines, enabling them to make their own sanitary products. It was a successful week; these girls had never seen anything mechanical up close, so to successfully produce the ST kits was wonderful to see. Months later, lack of practice time and someone to help troubleshoot issues, meant that the confidence soon left these girls when problems with thread tension and jammed bobbins occurred. Feeling deflated and beaten, the machines were put into storage. So it was decided more lessons were needed and Holly happily visited Brainhouse to rectify this.
The plan this year was to reinforce how to use the machines and solve all the problems that might occur. The machines were stripped down and cleaned by the girls and put back together again, testing and checking each other as they worked. They systematically looked at all the common sewing issues and how they could rectify the problems themselves.
With this mastered, the girls started sewing, focusing on improving the quality of their straight, parallel lines. Learning a few tricks, they passed the test by sewing boarders on squares of fabric and writing their name in the middle; Holly even got one as a gift with her name on it!
As they were finishing this, one boy came over and asked them to repair his trousers. The condition of the uniforms at Brainhouse is variable depending upon how many hands they have passed through. ‘No I’m not that good yet!’ was one girl’s response, but with very enthusiastic encouragement from Holly, the trousers were fixed. We and the teachers were so pleased as we left that day as there was a queue to get uniforms repaired and the girls’ skills will really help those children who have no-one to turn to at home.
This time around skills and confidence will be maintained and enhanced with the creation of a regular sewing club!