Sacred Sewing Rooms
The Sacred Sewing Room is a permanent fixture in a shelter. This program does not just set-up a room full of fabric, patterns and machines. Through volunteer sewing instructors, this program shares the life skill of sewing that also serves as an important coping skill.
“A sewing machine changed my life.”
Our Sacred Sewing Room program was inspired by my mother.
Even though money was very tight, my mother made sure our family never went without by making so many things for her children by hand. I really understood the power of creativity and sewing when my mother said to me, ‘A sewing machine saved my life.’ It turned out she had been suffering from depression for decades. Her sewing machine was her creative outlet and means of supporting her family. My mother believed we all need a creative outlet, whether it’s painting, drawing or working on an engine. We all need to keep our hands busy and our minds clear. I can think back and see my mom sitting at that machine and it was like everything is going to be OK.
We all need somewhere where we can escape, cope and be creative.
Women are empowered with new skills that will enable them to sew for their families and can open doors to securing employment or earning money by selling their hand-made treasures.
The program offers women a chance for creative expression and solace. Each Sacred Sewing Room has hand-painted murals inside by artists. I want women to feel like they’re escaping to another place while they sew.
Sewing is the ultimate meditation and mindfulness. It takes your mind off of whatever turmoil you might be going through. When you sew, you don’t think of anything but that project. Your mind does not go anywhere else.
Women share their stories in the sewing room. A lot of women already know how to sew but want to take the class anyway. When you sew together with women, you end up sharing what’s on your heart.
Sewing Room Stories
A doctor in St Louis does her therapy sessions in the Sacred Sewing Room. The director loves to sew. She feels like she can connect better with the women and they are more open to sharing their story while they sew. It is quite intimidating to talk face-to-face with someone and it is easier if you can keep your hands busy.
At the same shelter, the women made curtains for their future home. Claiming it in advance. The whole thought process of claiming in advance that you are creating something with your own hands because you know where you’re going is empowering! It’s a bit like a vision board. They’re able to visualize what their home will be like and start to truly believe in their heart it will be their reality. It is so full of hope! In my childhood bedroom, I would lay there and visualize something so much better and have a positive outlook. Our imaginations are everything. Everything starts with a thought. I’m so big about the psychological part of the sewing rooms.
I believe every shelter should have a give-back process. While it is not a requirement of the Sacred Sewing Rooms, everyone has jumped on board and wanted to do it!
- The women in St Louis made 250 pillowcases for the local hospital.
- The Detroit women made bibs for the teen moms.
- Another shelter made pillow case dresses for girls in Africa.
It is part of the healing process to get outside of yourself. To know that you just uplifted someone else and you’re healing yourself too. It’s just like how the crafters donating to the shelters feel too! No matter what situation you are in, there are ways that you can empower and support others too.
Imagine a Place…
Oh yes! You know what I’m talking about. Don’t you remember your childhood? The tents you made from your blankets and cardboard boxes made into castles. These simple things had the power of tapping into a world full of wonder, creativity and happiness.
When I first saw the photos at Women’s Safe House in St. Louis, MO my eyes only saw this little room tucked away in the basement but then I looked again and my heart saw a place where the women could go that embraced them gently, a little hide away that one could wander off in her own mind. It would become the “Enchanted Forest.” – a Sacred Sewing Room
The door leading into the room would be painted to look miniature just the door from the 1971 movie, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Do you remember Augustus Gloop’s mother? During the Willy Wonka factory tour, Augustus’s mom questioned whether she could fit through the tiny little door. What I heard was doubt and fear from her. The door was actually quite large. The door to the Sacred Sewing Room at the Women’s Safe House would become a message of courage, I WILL walk through it even in doubt. A beautiful reminder “you are precious” and to trust the new journey. The lighted path in the mural would become a message, “we all need a place to hide but there is always a way out.”
How your can help
Contact us to find out how to get involved.
Make a monetary donation to this program.