Posted on Wednesday, 16 March 2022

A $9,450 donation from Canterbury League Club has helped stitch together connections and friendships amongst newly-arrived migrants through a series of weekly sewing classes.

Sew, Create and Make Together, a project by Canterbury City Community Centre (CCCC) in Lakemba, has brought together 10 women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds to learn how to sew basic garments through formal classes as well as sharing their skills and knowledge of design, stitch-work and making of traditional clothes. In addition, this project has also helped participants settle into their local community, meet new people, and make friends.

“The Sew, Create and Make Together project provided a safe space for women to learn to sew, share their sewing skills and knowledge, as well as socialise with other women in a structured sewing class but in an informal community sewing setting,” said Kate Maclean, Community Sector and Capacity Building Manager from Canterbury City Community Centre.

“At the end of the eight weeks, participants will have a good understanding of how to thread, use and maintain a sewing machine, as well as use a basic pattern to cut, stitch and create a skirt with an elastic waist.”

The sewing classes are taught by teachers who are bilingual to ensure that language is not a barrier to the women attending the classes.

“Sewing is a very practical, skills-based course where participants predominately learn by observing and practicing; hence a high level of English language is not required, enabling more women with beginner and intermediate English language skills to attend,” said Kate. “Feedback from current participants has been very positive – especially for many, this has been the first class that they have been able to attend since COVID-19 restrictions were eased.”

Canterbury’s donation stretches to covering four terms worth of sewing classes throughout the rest of the year, which will allow for more women to sign up and learn how to sew.

“It’s always hard transplanting yourself from your home country and then coming into a new community where you don’t have as many social connections. Local projects like this which bring together a group of people with similar interests or even shared cultures and languages are a great starting point to involve yourself in your local community and can help reduce social isolation,” said Peter Winchester, Chairman of Canterbury League Club.