Monsters on the Sewing Machine

I'm a monster on the sewing machine!
Friday November 19, 2010, I and eight coworkers (including Cassandra) had a "charity crafting day."

"What does it mean?" you ask, in your very best Double-Rainbow sort of way. Well, let me tell you...

At our day job, one of the company benefits is a very generous, quarterly half-day off to use for community service. There are no real restrictions on how this time can be used. You could volunteer to help at your child's daycare center or go pull weeds at the local nursing home. As long as you're doing something for the greater good, you get 16 hours a year to do it - paid.

Buy this book! It ROCKS.
So, Cassandra and I were looking for something to do that would employ our crafty skills (and feed the need to make stuff) and still qualify as community service/volunteerism. That's when Cassandra discovered the book Craft Hope by Jade Sims.

This book is awesome for a lot of reasons:

  • There is a large variety of projects, from knitting to sewing to embroidery to quilting and more
  • All the projects are SUPER-easy
  • The projects are, mostly, really tasteful and fun (not too twee or folk-sy)
  • The book provides mailing addresses for the various charities that would like to receive particular items

Our intrepid band of coworkers took over the sewing room of our local fabric/yard shop. The shop provided the irons, ironing boards, outlets, trash cans, and cutting boards. We brought our sewing machines, knitting needles, fabric swatches, yarn, and whatever else was necessary for the patterns that we chose.

Those of us with sewing machines (four people total) were on task to make the Pillow Case Dress found on page 17 of the book. This dress is insanely easy to make and cute as a button. We managed to knock out 10 dresses in about three hours – even with extra embellishment added and a few mistakes along the way. I, embarrassingly, had to rip out all the bias tape on one dress because I didn’t sew it on properly. This set me back by a solid 20 minutes.

Folks without sewing machines did, mostly, knit work. Two people started the Star Stitch Scarf found on page 29 and two other people worked on piecing together the squares of an afghan that’s bound for a homeless shelter. Lastly, we had one scrap-booker who used her skills to make gorgeous handmade gift cards to go with our donations.

At the end of the afternoon, as we were packing up, the mood was really high. We all felt that glow that comes from a job well done. We’re lucky, I suppose, that, as co-workers, we all get along pretty well but being able to get out of the workplace and do something together that actually MEANS something has bound us together in a new way. We had fun. Real, laugh-out-loud fun. And, best of all, we have something amazing to show for our time spent together.

We’re already planning our follow-up day in February – and I think we’ve got a few more people interested in joining us. Who knows…if it keeps going like this, we might just have a charity handcrafting revolution!!

Viva la sewing machine!

- Alex

1 comment:

  1. What a fantastic thing to do! Plus, those dresses are absolutely precious, and just the right size to make up the majority of a summer wardrobe for lucky little girls.

    (P.S., I have a feeling we might work for the same company)