A Visit to a Women’s Sewing Circle

by April Sterling

Alice Whitaker and I recently visited Exodus Refugee on East Washington Street in Indianapolis so  we could learn about their women’s sewing circle. Every Friday morning, a number of women who have immigrated to the US from sub-Saharan African countries gather to learn to sew, do crafts, and share each other’s company. On the Friday morning we visited, five ladies were present, along with one infant on his mother’s back, an interpreter, a volunteer, and the group’s leader, Khin.

Before coming to the US from Southeast Asia, Khin had run a sewing business for three years. Now she is helping these women learn to use sewing machines to make garments with bright African wax print fabric and to sew other practical items. 

When we asked what kinds of things these women might need, Liz Standiford, Director of Development and Communications for Exodus provided the list below. She also indicated that if anyone would like to volunteer on Friday mornings, by assisting with basic sewing instruction, they would be welcome. Exodus is always open to donations of baby quilts and twin-sized quilts.

If this is something that speaks to your heart and you would like to support this sewing circle, please contact April Sterling at 317-452-3400 or aster6002@sbcglobal.net.  

Wish List

·         Fabric*

·         Sewing machines (new or gently used)

·         Irons (new or gently used)

·         Spools of thread (black, white, and bright colors)

·         Sewing scissors

·         Needles for hand stitching

·         Fabric marking pencils and tape measures

·         Seam rippers and other tools

·         Yarn and needles

*The ladies love African wax fabric or other brightly colored/pattered fabric for sewing clothes, but they also would appreciate fabric donations of all types for clothing, bags, quilts, etc. 

2 thoughts on “A Visit to a Women’s Sewing Circle

  1. Note – This photo wasn’t taken on our visit. I didn’t feel comfortable snapping pictures of the ladies. They were dressed in traditional garb and were using modern sewing machines.

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