Clarendon Vale, Tasmania

Liz Selkirk hopes relationships, as well as garments, will be created at the Clarendon Vale Neighbourhood Centre’s new sewing classes. The Buttons, Bobbins, Beginners and Beyond sewing project began in early November with support from Highways and Byways.

The sewing classes in Hobart will give novice sewers the chance to learn skills from older and experienced sewers who are part of an established social sewing group that gathers at the centre each Tuesday to sewfor not-for profit organisation Operation Christmas Child.

The new two-hour weekly sewing classes were started to give people, particularly young mums and those new to the area who may be feeling somewhat  isolated,  the chance to learn a new skill, learn how to use a sewing machine and how to hand sew and mend clothing.

“A lot of people in our community can’t afford to buy a sewing machine, but want the skills to make their own clothes, or to mend or alter clothes. We have the machines here that people can use to learn and the community members to teach them” Liz Said.

As well as machines, the Clarendon Vale Neighbourhood Centre has another valuable commodity –  a group of highly experienced, older mentors, who are more than willing to share their knowledge. Liz, who is the Program Development Worker at the Centre, believes the new sewing classes will create opportunities for both groups to get to know one another and to develop relationships that will strengthen bonds in and with the community.

“Learning to make something can give people a great sense of achievement and confidence. It is also an important skill to have if you don’t have a lot of spare money to spend on clothes,” Liz said.

“It’s also a fantastic way for the experienced sewing mentors in the community to see just how valuable their skills are”.

“We plan for the program participants to start and finish a project during the first 10 weeks of the classes.

After that the classes may continue if people are keen, or they may just want to come and use the sewing machines. We are here to provide what the community wants.”