Southampton City of Sanctuary has been running a Women’s Sewing Group for a number of years. The group was set up to bring together women in the city, whether they had been there their whole lives or had just arrived, and ran both during the day and in the evening to give as many women access as possible. The group was lucky to have 15 donated sewing machines donated by the Southampton Society of Friends and a fantastic teacher, Si.
When the lockdown happened in March, the sewing group was closed. Not only did this mean the attendees were now not able to access the group, but additionally lost access to the social element of the group. Over the Easter school holidays discussions were had about how the group could continue in some format, and in mid-April Si launched a WhatsApp group which all the women were invited to join.
The WhatsApp group has been a great way for everyone to keep in contact, particularly on Tuesday mornings (when the Sewing Group would normally have run). Not only is it a great social chat, but there is also a lot of advice and discussion about sewing and what projects people are working on from home with Si on hand to give advice and support.
A separate WhatsApp group was also set up for those who were interested in learning how to make masks. Si had been using her skills to make and distribute them for a number of weeks, and she shared patterns and learning with the group. Lots of pictures were taken of masks in progress and feedback was given so those taking part could make their masks successfully.
Obviously the Sewing Group hopes to return to meeting in person in the future, but for now they will continue to keep in contact via the WhatsApp group and share their sewing projects virtually.
The Southampton City of Sanctuary Sewing Group is funded by a grant from the Tampon Tax, awarded by Hampshire and Isle of Wight Community Foundation.
The women of the Sewing Group have shared the following photos of their projects.