Year 2 in the Sewing Class

New and returning Make Welcome students are well into the second month of classes since our summer break and have all been learning new skills and improving old ones.  Here's a recap of what's been going on in the sewing classroom ...

Some of the new students have sewn on foot powered treadle machines before but none of them had ever used an electric sewing machine.  We begin our new students with basic sewing machine skills and each of them makes a stitch sampler, using all of the machine stitches in a variety of stitch lengths and widths.   

Next, our students move on to a simple tote bag, and then a lined tote.  We’ve been excited to see how quickly and well the new students this year have progressed!

Our returning students have begun doing more design work and fabric selection. Using squares from their own “First Stitches” samplers, they have been making patchwork pillow covers, using a modified Log Cabin pattern.  They’ve also continued to work on rice bag pillows and mitered corner napkins.


Last year, several of our students were able to purchase their own sewing machines through our Sewing Machine Sponsorship programs.  One of the things we're working on this fall is helping these students to be able to do more sewing at home.  To that end, we've begun putting together packets of fabric, thread, and the other notions needed to complete projects at home during the week.  Our student, T, has been excited about this "homework" and has sewn several lovely patchwork pillow covers on her own machine at home. 

One of the goals of Make Welcome is to enable our students to add to their family’s income by selling what they sew.  To that end, we are excited about the launch of Journey Home and the Journey Home etsy shop which will serve as a conduit for our Make Welcome students, connecting them to customers around the United States.  The unique rice bag totes made by our new and returning students are now in the shop, so take a look, purchase a bag (or a set of napkins or embellished towels) and support these dear women who are working hard to build new lives here in North Carolina!

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One Year Ends, Another Begins

“Praise the Lord, my soul. Lord my God, you are very great.” (Psalm 104:1)

After a summer break, preparations for a new year of Make Welcome have begun. In the midst of the various details for the next round of classes, I often stop and marvel at all that God accomplished over the past year. 

  • 7 amazing refugee women who are students in our classes, women who have become sweet friends. 
  • Locations provided for us to meet at as we needed them, each the right fit at the right time. 
  • A group of volunteers who have a heart to love and serve in a myriad of needed ways. 
  • Creativity for developing beautiful handcrafted items and finding new ways to teach in spite of language barriers.
  • Friends who have come alongside to give advice, support and encouragement when needed.

And now another year of class awaits. There will be new challenges and new blessings. I look forward to seeing and sharing how God continues to craft the story of Make Welcome. 

“For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning." (TS Eliot)

Photo courtesy of Thalita Carvalho

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