My students need 5 sewing machines to learn to sew for practical purposes.
In middle school working with my hands had the effect a small child gets when learning how to calm himself when left alone. Older family members passed down secrets of sewing stitches through everything from quilts that told stories, to darning socks and mending torn clothing.
Students at our school range in age from 12-14 in a financially indigent area of Chicago which has changed from mostly Polish to predominately Latina.
Many of them come from large families with many siblings. Extended family members (grandparents, aunts,etc) do get involved in school sponsored activities (literacy night, language classes, parent patrol). We try to provide opportunities to promote parent involvement, and they respond. These activities add to the sense of community at our school and will impact both the community as a whole, and the environment because it will teach those involved that to reuse & recycle old fabrics can save money by bringing beauty to a garment that was headed for the trash, which can now tell a story or be used again as a blanket.
I would like to provide an after school program 2-3 times per week where extended family members, preferably the older members like grandparents can share not only their knowledge about sewing, mending and needle point, but stories about their culture and life experiences. We will begin with the stories, then bring them to life on the squares of the quilts we create. After teaching both children and their relative basic stitches by hand, we will use them to learn how to fix seam rips, tears, and basic sock darning techniques. Therefore, we need sewing machines. We will make quilting circles and bring in materials from discarded clothing. Each group will decide on the story their square will tell. The square will be simple but detailed enough so the design relays the main idea. If the story is about the death of a loved one, or a special accomplishment, the picture should relay that. We will transfer the pictures to fabric, then I will teach how to make stitches using the sewing machines to finish.
This project will make an impact on students by giving them the opportunity to share quality time with older family members by allowing them to share a wealth of culture and heritage through storytelling and sewing.
The end result will be an artifact that can be viewed in a display case at our school for future family members to admire and discuss with a sense of pride and entitlement!Read More
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