Last year we were delighted to help Te Whare Pounamu Dunedin Women's Refuge by making toiletry bags in our weekly Community Sewing Bee workshops.
Their brief was for a simple drawstring bag, about A4 size. After a bit of research and playing, Fiona adapted the drawstring bag design she’s been using for net storage bags; using colourful cotton curtaining offcuts and adding a nylon waterproof lining (both of which we have in abundance!) so the bags could hold any small spills and be cleaned easily.
It took 4 weeks to complete 80 bags, and we were even able to pack these with items given to us for the project, from one of the volunteer's daughters - thanks Sarah Lilly!
The team at the refuge were thrilled with the bags, and passed on the delight of the families who received them.
This year we have started a new project to brighten the lives of those who need the help of the refuge.
There are three meeting rooms which serve as important locations for women and families to meet, share, learn, heal, and be equipped to face the daunting challenges of rebuilding their lives. These rooms are currently very dull, generic offices, sadly lacking in colour, or even natural light.
The couches in the rooms are perfectly serviceable, but the cushion covers are dated, dull, and very corporate. They don’t create the inviting, warm, comforting, and inspirational place the refuge is aiming for.
We have begun changing the covers on the cushions to add colour and creativity, suitable to the purposes of each room, starting with the Tamariki room.
Finding fabrics that were bright and fun, with appealing textures, was the easy part with a collection like ours :). We came up with a template to be able to fit the new covers over the existing cushions, and got to work!
A bonus of these workshops is getting to learn new skills! It was great to see that several of the volunteers had never sewn in a zip, or made a cushion cover before, but with a little help, were soon zipping through them ;).
In total we plan to make 23 large cushion covers with gussets, 23 throw pillows, and 5 large floor cushions. We’re about halfway through, with the Tamariki Room nearly completed, and the Women’s Room next on the list :)
Cannot wait to show you the 'After' photos!!
If you’d like to join us for our lovely social Community Sewing Bees, they’re on every Thursday from 10:30am-1pm. No previous sewing experience needed. We work as a team so you can pick the tasks you’d like to do, all while enjoying great conversation and cups of tea (and usually a gingernut ;) ).
Please get in touch if you have any questions, or if you know of a local community group with a simple project that we might be able to help with.
News, updates and things we find inspiring, from Dunedin's Stitch Kitchen