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Sew Great Detroit (SGD), Alternatives For Girls’ social enterprise program that teaches participants both sewing and employment skills, has been hard at work the past couple of months. This summer, they are selling their handmade goods at Ponyride Detroit’s Summer Market Series. The five members, who are also participants in other AFG programs, have created beautiful adult and children’s aprons to add to their supply of tote bags, baby items, cell phone bags, and more.
Maddie, one of SGD’s newest members, joined in April. She has been a resident in AFG’s Shelter since February and before joining SGD she didn’t know how to sew. “It’s been so great!” Maddie smiles while sharing how her experience in SGD has been so far. “I like it a lot. I’ve been learning fast.”
Since April, Maddie has learned valuable sewing skills, like machine sewing and hand finishing techniques, cutting techniques, and more. “I’ve learned how to thread the needle and the bobbin on the machine, different stitches, and how to align the fabric on the sewing machine,” Maddie recalls.
For Maddie, her favorite part of being in SGD is the self-confidence she has found while learning a new skill. “I love looking at the project that I’ve finished and thinking ‘Dang, I did really good!’ It makes me feel accomplished,” she shares. After meeting specific sewing skill and job performance goals, Maddie earned her own sewing machine. The machine, which was generously donated by an AFG donor, has allowed her to practice sewing in her free time.
Dreaming of the Future
Maddie has also used her machine and new skills for practical uses. “I like sewing because it’s not expensive. If you rip a pair of jeans, you don’t have to buy another pair, you can fix it!” In the future, Maddie plans to expand her skills so she can make her own clothing. “I’d really like to start making clothing, like dresses and stuff, using patterns but choosing my own colors and fabrics,” Maddie dreams.