Backstage Pass

A Sewing Class in Pennsylvania

by Katie Martinez |

Carol is a dear friend of mine with a ministry that empowers women overcoming life challenges that often include sexual abuse and trauma. They are located in a small town in Pennsylvania, where it can be difficult finding or keeping work. What to do? The Martinez family (my husband, baby girl, and I) took a road trip to visit and host a sewing class. Once we arrived with fabric and machines, there were nearly a dozen women enjoying each other's company while waiting for us. After I set up, they huddled around to watch and learn. They asked questions, and took notes; what perfect students! I love teaching anyone who is intrigued and wants to learn, but it's extra special when it's with women in which I know are a new creation. 

I brought one of the upcoming fall collection designs for the class. The tee is named "Vicki" with a criss-cross front detail; inspired by the design of the "X" in the End-It Movement. I'm glad we started with this style; Vicki means victorious. After making the first tee, one of the ladies tried it on and modeled it. We laughed. It was fun! We spent the rest of the day eating pizza, practicing with scrap fabric, and talking about a strategy to set up to work from home in the near future.

One of the women, whom I'll call "Fara," took on a great deal of confidence in sewing the Vicki tee. She didn't understand all my English, but did through watching me sew. When she sat at the machine, her eyes lit up, and she hemmed a sleeve even better and faster than my own ability! Out of all the women, Fara is one in greatest need of work right now, so she brought the Vicki tee and the machines home with her. It was noble how the others were not envious that we gave favor on Fara, but were happy to see her take on her new paid project with excitement.

Back at home, I receive an email from Carol that said: It was super productive and gave hope to all who came.  I appreciate your willingness to teach and share this opportunity and your patience and love for the vulnerable.  Especially Fara was empowered by our experiences today.  I left with an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for the love God has shown me and the remarkable ways God sets people in stories that show His grace and mercy to those willing to see!  This happened today -- even amidst the complicated dialogue.