Posted May 18th 2011 at 10:08 am by
in Portrait of Detroit

Young Minds Growing through Sewing in Detroit

Is it time for a Home Ec. revival? At a Detroit elementary school, Sewing Club comes back by popular demand. Former teacher Diane Sampson tells her story.

Young Minds Growing through Sewing in Detroit

My dream has always been to teach sewing. When the Principal at Logan Elementary in Southwest Detroit approached me last year with an offer to teach three classes of Science Club, I saw my chance.

I asked the Principal if I could teach one class of Home Ec. and two classes of Science Club instead. He loved the idea. He shared his own childhood memories of his grandmother sewing.

Young Minds Growing through Sewing in DetroitOnce we began sewing class, the children’s response was amazing. Our original group of eight girls grew every week.  And once the boys were sure that it was socially acceptable to sew, they joined in on the fun making, too.

Our first project was a snowman Christmas ornament with button eyes, a felt cap, three buttons down the front and a fabric scarf, all sewn on by hand.

When one hour of sewing proved to be insufficient, we began meeting during my lunchtime, too. We made Christmas stockings, more ornaments, pincushions and fleece pillows. I taught the children how to personalize each of their projects.

Before I knew it, parents were stopping by to sew with their kids. As the school year ended, several children asked me where they could sign up to sew again next year. Sadly, I was all set to retire and could only hope someone else would continue the class. No such luck.

Young Minds Growing through Sewing in DetroitWell, after a lot of planning, Sewing Club is back!  Thanks to Ann Daschke of Royal Oak ASG (American Sewing Guild) who volunteers her time and sewing expertise, together we are able to nurture the art of sewing in young minds as they continue to develop a love for this age-old craft.

What started as a one-hour Home Ec. class has blossomed into an active sewing club for students, parents, and the community volunteers who work together to make it happen.

Post by Diane Sampson. Diane is a retired elementary school teacher for Detroit Public Schools, where she taught special education, first grade and science for 31 years. She is extraordinarily active in her community. She belongs to seven sewing groups.

2 responses to “Young Minds Growing through Sewing in Detroit”

  1. Christina says:

    What a great story! It’s so nice to hear that boys got involved too. What a great sense of satisfaction and pride the students must have when they make something on their own. I have a relative who began sewing at a young age and she was self-employed as a seamstress her whole life, making beautiful custom-made tapestries. I always admired her for entrepreneurship around doing something that she loved.

    Kudos to you Diane for sharing your passion and bringing this art and skill to these students.

  2. Amy says:

    Hi Diane. I love this post. In this world of smart phones and facebook, our young people do not get enough opportunities to work with their hands. There is something that is so inwardly rewarding about imagining a project and then bringing it into physical space.

    You’ve taught these students how to not only sew, but how to create and how to be independent thinkers. I will always remember my home ec teacher in grades 6-8. She taught me how to sew, cook omelets, and wash dishes-important life skills that have stayed with me over the years.