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“I love these people,” Yolanda smiles. “I love Sew Great Detroit. Everyone is so nice and always in good spirits. I look forward to going each day.” Yolanda joined Sew Great Detroit (SGD), Alternatives For Girls’ weekly commercial sewing employment training program headed by volunteers and support staff, in March. Yolanda has been in AFG’s New Choices Program since August of 2015 and decided to apply for the SGD program because she likes to try new things and loves arts and crafts.
Learning to Sew
Since she entered the program, Yolanda has learned valuable sewing skills. She has learned machine sewing and hand finishing techniques, the characteristics of fabric, fabric cutting techniques, and design concepts. “My mom started sewing when I was about 8 and she would make curtains. I would look over her shoulder and ask her to show me. She showed me how to thread [the sewing machine]. So, when Ms. Janet showed me how to thread the machine, I thought ‘I remember this’,” Yolanda reflects.
After meeting specific sewing skill and job performance goals, Yolanda earned her own sewing machine. The machine, which was generously donated by an AFG donor, has allowed her to start working on her own sewing projects at home. “I’ve made pillow cases and I want to make an apron! I’m working on getting more professional tools at home so I can make more,” Yolanda shares.
An Unexpected Outcome
Yolanda has also started teaching her daughter how to sew! “I showed her the purses we made and she wanted to learn how to do it,” Yolanda smiles. Now her daughter works on her own projects and Yolanda says her daughter is keeping up with her! “It’s something we do together. Right now, it’s just a hobby for her, but I want to encourage her to show her friends and do more with it,” Yolanda shares.
One day, Yolanda hopes to start a business of her own. “Once I get the hang of it and I can expand it more, I think I could make and sell stuff. It’s fun and relaxing! But I have to push myself to keep going,” she dreams.