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Crossroads High students learn life skills through sewing


Special to the Leader-Press


Sewing as a hobby and as an industry has been around for centuries. Its popularity continues to grow as fashion and trends evolve. This implies that it will remain part of everyone’s culture in the years to come. Research from the Association of Creative Industries reveals the sewing and crafting industry has a total market share of $36 billion. The biggest chunk comes from crafters between 18 to 34 years old that comprise 41 percent, or just under half, of the market size.

Crossroads High School students are learning the skills of sewing through an after-school club headed up by science teacher Joanne Dever. Dever enrolled in a summer quilting class and brought her new skills to the school offering to teach students how to sew. She was surprised at the overwhelming response.

“This is more than a club. We are building a supportive learning community,” Dever said. “We are learning together, growing, and celebrating each other while we develop practical real-world skills.”

Dever says sewing provides students with educational, physical, and mental benefits in an interesting and fun way. Additionally, it is also a valuable skill to use throughout their lives.

“Learning a new skill and gradually mastering it can greatly improve a person's self-confidence. This is particularly true for students, because they seek acknowledgement and praise, which is something that they can obtain from sewing,” Dever said. “Once they realize that they have created something on their own, the very sense of accomplishment will help them to build their self-confidence.”

Most children, and even adults, don't have a lot of patience. A student can't sew before threading the needle, can't cut fabric before marking it, can't make shortcuts while stitches two pieces of fabric together, and more. Every step requires patience. Crossroads students’ first project was making a small, quilted tote bag.

“I hope to be able to make my mom a dress,” student Hannah Jackson said. “I also hope to make things for little kids or adults in need.”

Sewing also improves students’ ability to follow instructions. To avoid failure, students improve their listening skills and ability to follow instructions which they also apply to their everyday lives, not just when it's sewing time.

Sewing also improves communications skills. If students don't understand what they are being asked them to do, they'll start improving their communication skills by explaining the difficulties they're having. This too becomes useful in their everyday lives because they are able to express their thoughts more easily and precisely at all times.

“My level (of sewing) is intermediate, and my experience is really good because I’ve made a lot of stuff,” student Vanessa Alejas said as she threaded the sewing machine with ease.

Dever said the best part about teaching the students to sew they won't be able to neglect their creativity and imagination and because sewing requires regular use and therefore improvement of both.

“It's beautiful. I am excited about what we're doing here, thrilled to be part of it, and very thankful for the support from everyone who is helping us make this happen for our students,” Dever said.

The Crossroads High School sewing afterschool club meets four afternoons a week and needs donated sewing supplies which can be delivered to the school at 306 E. Ave. E.

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