The Dayton Sewing Collaborative uses sewing to create new economic and civic opportunities in the region. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Big and small ways you can help Dayton Sewing Collaborative

You may have spotted the colorful messenger bags, totes and wallets being sold by the Victoria Theatre Association at the Schuster Center on performance days or the sitting pillows in the children’s reading areas at all the new Dayton Metro libraries.

The bags, made from the street pole banners for popular VTA productions, feature artwork from shows such as “The Lion King.” The pillows incorporate the library’s IMAGINE logo and are used during storytime and other activities that require the children to be “grounded.”

This was made possible with help from The Dayton Sewing Collaborative. These items and more — including blankets for the homeless — are now available in our community. The non-profit organization, which opened in June 2016, was conceptualized and nurtured at The Collaboratory.

What they do

The group’s four focus areas include: workforce development training, entrepreneurial development, creative community collaboration and micro-manufacturing.

“We work with area manufacturers and community organizations to develop training programs to connect industrial

To help fledgling entrepreneurs, the organization provides equipment, tools and studio space. “We help start businesses and help existing businesses grow,” explains Rex. “A new patch-making and embroidery company, Patch Work Designs, has launched as a result of the entrepreneurial development activities at the Dayton Sewing Collaborative. Two additional businesses will be launching in the next six months.”

Connecting community and cultures

The Sewing Collaborative, Rex says, is focused on bringing the community together — cutting across ethnicity, race, class, gender, geography and age in order to explore new creative possibilities. “We’re a maker space available for use by everyone in the community,” she says. “Yearly memberships are available, in addition to a daily drop-in rate. We do not turn anyone away based on their inability to pay.”

Rex says sewing not only brings our local community together, but connects all cultures. “We work closely with the immigrant and refugee community,” she says. “It’s heartwarming to see the successes of people from different countries sharing and collaborating.”

Rex wants our readers to know that the Sewing Collaborative also offers sewing services for organizations, individuals and businesses. “We’re a hub for sewists of all sorts; if the job is outside of our scope, we can likely connect you with individuals in the community that can help.”

The group hosts a volunteer day the first Wednesday of every month. Projects include making blankets for St. Vincent.

“The successes we’ve experienced at the Dayton Sewing Collaborative are a direct result of the generosity of the Dayton area,” says Rex. ” At least 90 percent of the equipment at the Dayton Sewing Collaborative was donated by local companies, community organizations and individuals in the community.”

Here is the organization’s current wish list, but note that if you’re cleaning out your sewing studio, craft stash, fabric leftovers, art closet or unfinished project, the Sewing Collaborative would be delighted to give your items another life.

Here are specific items they can use:

  • Gift cards from local sewing and craft stores as well as Amazon.com,
  • Sewing machines
  • Fleece and flannel fabrics (at least 3 yards). This fabric is used to make blankets for the homeless
  • Bar-tack sewing machine
  • Safety
  • Juki
  • Cart for 60” fabric rolls (unwinding cart)
  • Ott
  • Magnifying light/lamp (2)
  • O’Lipfa Lip Edge Ruler – 4” x 36” (Model No 66636) (2)
  • 72” Aluminum Straight Edge Ruler (2)
  • Fabric Press with steam (commercial grade)
  • Leatherworking
  • Handheld
  • Wonder Clips/craft clips
  • Thread racks

Items can be taken to the Dayton Sewing Collaborative, 721 Springfield St., Dayton, OH 45403. Rex says someone is usually there from noon until 8 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays and 9 a.m. until noon on Saturday mornings but it’s best to call before you come. Pickups are also available.

To make a donation or arrange a visit, send an email to daytonsewing@gmail.com.

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