Sewing Circles for Charity

Sewing Circles for Charity

Many people have items related to charitable donations on their new year’s resolutions list. If you’re one of them, you can use your sewing skills to spend more time with other sewers and achieve your charitable donation goals for the year by having a charity-focused sewing circle. Here’s how to get started.

Get out in your community and find a cause to support.

Pick a charity

Sewing Circles for Charity

Are there local organizations that would appreciate handmade items? Perhaps a shelter would appreciate clothing items or hospital would appreciate baby hats? Animal rescues may appreciate blankets or pet shirts. Get out in your community and find a cause to support! Ask to speak to the director or someone in charge of community relations. Tell them you want to contribute handmade items on a regular basis and see what they can use. Once you find a charitable organization in your community and understand their needs, you can get started planning and promoting your group.

Find a pattern

Once you know what the charity needs, find an easy to make pattern. It should be simple enough for a beginner to make while interesting enough to engage more experienced sewers. Make sure you have numerous copies and bring them with you to each sewing circle so newcomers or anyone who forgot theirs can get a copy without hassle.

Pick a date, time, location

Will this group be in your home? Do you have space for several sewing machines to run simultaneously? If not, you’ll need to find somewhere more suitable. Local libraries, churches or community centers may be able to host your sewing circle. Make a few calls, send a few emails. Most people and organizations rally around good causes so it shouldn’t take long to find a suitable place.

Working with their availability and yours, pick a recurring date for the sewing circle. Once a month is a good frequency. It’s often enough to keep people interested and excited, but not so often as to feel like a burden. Decide what time of day you’d like to meet and get that room booked with your site.

Invite and promote your sewing circle

Facebook and other social media outlets can be a great way to promote your sewing circle. Create a public event and include all the details about the charity as well as meeting time, location, etc. Invite your friends who sew and encourage them to invite others. See if the location hosting your charity sewing circle is willing to promote the event too. Ask the charitable organization if they’re willing to promote it to their members and donors.

Post fliers (with permission) in community centers, craft stores, fabric stores, senior centers, etc. Include an appealing photo or graphic along with the text information to entice people to look at it.

No matter how you promote it, make sure people understand what they need to bring (fabric, sewing machine, etc.) Also, be sure to include contact information as well in case people have questions.

Collect finished projects

As the charity sewing circle meets over the course of several weeks or months, projects will be completed. Collect them and deliver them to the designated charitable organization. Be sure they understand about your sewing circle – they may promote it to their members and donors now that they’ve seen results. Keep doing this on a regular basis and provide any feedback from the charity to group members. This will keep them engaged and motivated to continue donating.

I Sew! You Sew! We Sew!

I Sew! You Sew! We Sew!

When I was a little girl, music was a group experience in my family. Clearly, that would be the case if we were members of a band or something, and we certainly had some musically inclined folks in our circle. I, more’s the pity, only ever learned to play a number of simple tunes on a recorder and very—very—minimal details of a guitar. With that lack of musical ability, I wasn’t exactly going to grab some drumsticks and make awesome music with anyone!

Old school—fifties and sixties, and maybe even some from the decades before those.

Old school—fifties and sixties, and maybe even some from the decades before those.

So the band element isn’t what I mean about music being a group experience. What I *do* mean is that my parents had this floor model record player, and it wasn’t all that odd for us to sit around said player while old school country and rock played from it. And by old school, I mean old school—fifties and sixties, and maybe even some from the decades before those. That idea of group music-listening continued as I grew older, taking shape in sitting around with my brother while he played 80s rock and such. In case anyone wants a reason as to why my music collection might seem outdated, I think I’ve given you a direction to consider to find the reason!

The point is that we’re the type of people who can sit and talk about music or play music together, and it’s not too weird of an occurrence. In fact, it’s kind of normal.

Back in the Day…

Even in my high school art class, working on projects was a group experience because the classroom was arranged in such a relaxed way. We were allowed to talk with one another while we worked, so we basically ended up chatting and working in small groups—and I might have broken out a Disney tune or so along the way.

Those are two artistic categories that I’ve treated with group experiences, and I recently had reason to consider making sewing a group experience as well. As of right now, if I’m around people when I sew, it’s potentially because we’re all watching TV or something, and I’m sewing while we watch. I might be in a group, but it’s definitely not group sewing!

Branching Out

This month though, I had a Facebook comment conversation with someone that got me thinking. If music is a group experience in my history, and art was a group experience in my high school class, why not sewing? I did some browsing online, and the idea doesn’t seem like a new one! Apparently, sewing clubs exist! Who knew?

Still, I happen to live in a lesser known area of my state, so the odds that there’s going to be a local sewing club are pretty low. If I want a group sewing experience, I should think about leaning toward the idea of virtually sewing in groups, which is okay because virtual sewing possibilities are evidently out there, even if we have to make them happen ourselves.

That friend I had the comment conversation with.For instance, that friend I had the post conversation with? She claimed that she, like me, wanted to make a rag quilt. Well, if we both want to make rag quilts, why not make them at the same time and compare notes online along the way? It sounds like a good idea to me, and as of right now, we’ve talked about the possibility of doing exactly that next year.

What I want to do for a pattern.

What I want to do for a pattern.

The idea is so intriguing to me!!! I even have a possible idea of what I want to do for a pattern, and it looks something like this Craftsy project, but with a more equal-block style:


Beyond my personal idea for my own quilt, I also have an idea of expanding this situation beyond just two people, or at least trying to. You see, I’ve decided that what would be even more awesome is if this could somehow become a bigger thing—like if more people decided to make a rag quilt around that time, and it became something that included dozens of people. This notion, in fact, is so intriguing that I’m putting it on my goals list for 2017. The official goal would read something like this:

Create an organized sewing project, promote it online, and hopefully engage a number of people in the endeavor.

Let’s Collaborate

Even if I only gained five people who would be willing to partake through Twitter promotion and such, that’s five people to discuss my rag quilt with beyond what I already have! That idea of comradery is hard to pass up, and it isn’t something I necessarily considered before that series of Facebook comments. Something that simple got my thought process going, and I want to run with it!

So, dear reader(s) that I hope are out there, keep an eye out for future posts regarding specifics about this event. I want to plan things out right in order to ideally get good results, so I’m not going to throw out a specific date without that proper planning. But unless things change and the plan shifts, the rag quilt virtual extravaganza is happening! And I’m looking forward to the possibilities!

What do you guys think? Interested in the event? Even if you aren’t, have you ever sewn in groups? Details, guys! Details!