New creations are being made every Monday morning at the Spryfield Community Church & Family Resource Centre. As community members sew many items and work on projects for a number of causes, they also build social connections and confidence by working together and learning from one another.
Started by Sheila Banks eight years ago with a vision to build community while creating, the Halifax Sewing Club is a great community for all who participate and everyone is welcome. Over the years, the Club has received donated sewing machines and bags of donated fabric creating supplies for a number of projects. The Club has helper members and sewing members. The helpers support those who need some assistance and there are expert members who have even taught Sheila a thing or two about sewing.
Maggie or ‘Aunt Mag,’ is 93 years old and started coming to the Club the first day it began. Despite her failing eye sight, she has only missed a handful of Mondays at the Club. She sells her homemade dish cloths and shares the proceeds to purchase items for the Club and to support The Salvation Army’s Partners in Mission fundraising events.
Club members have also raised money through selling their creations and donating their own funds to the tune of $1,000 for a teen program at the church. The funds raised are helping to furnish the room with equipment in preparation for the program to begin this fall.
Chithra is from Sri Lanka and has been coming to the Club when she isn’t visiting family at home and in Australia. Reflecting on her experience with the Club, Chithra says, “I’ve learned to make my own clothes, garment cutting techniques and I am able to send clothes home.”
Verge has been coming to the Club for six months. He learned how to sew by hand years ago, but is now learning how to sew by machine. With Sheila’s help, he is working on a house coat, pinning the pattern to the material and preparing to cut it out. Virge helps with projects and creates his own, which helps keep him calm and his high blood pressure at bay.
After retiring from nursing and missing her neurology patients, Beverly felt lonely and led to donate to The Salvation Army, which is when she heard about the Club. She says, “It has been my salvation.” Beverley describes that sewing with the group has really increased her confidence and given her valuable social connections.
Through Sheila’s leadership, teaching and support, the Sewing Club has created outfits for themselves, for girls in Africa and for grandchildren, curtains for The Salvation Army’s Scotian Glen Camp, beautiful items for their homes, friends and family and more.
It’s a long list:
- 372 Little Dresses for Precious Jewels in Salvation Army Orphanages in Africa (2013) Some of the dresses had pockets and underpants were made and placed inside the pocket
- 210 lap blankets for residents of the Veterans Memorial Building in Halifax (using extra Salvation Army emergency blankets)
- 200 children’s shoe bags for Elizabeth Sutherland School (2013 & 2014)
- 48 sets of curtains for Scotian Glen Camp (2016-17)
- 45 scarves, 23 tutus & 14 capes for the Baby Song Program (2017)
- 45 gift bags for special occasions (2017)
- 27 Adult bibs (2014)
- 26 Table runners for The Salvation Army Hope in the City Leadership Breakfast (2012 & 2014)
- Bunting flags for the International Salvation Army Congress in the UK (2015)
- An Easter wall hanging for the Sanctuary at the Spryfield Community Church (2016)
- Many bags of fabric for other Sewing Clubs, Grandmothers to Grandmothers & Syrian Refugee Sewing Program
The Halifax Sewing Club meets throughout the year except during August. In July, some Moms and grandparents bring children along. Donations are always welcome.
For more information, contact the Spryfield Community Church & Family Resource Centre at 902-477-5393.