By Ilene, a volunteer from Texas who is part of the Friends of Cozumel leadership team
Two years ago the pastors at Vida Abundante asked if we would provide costumes for the children to use in skits and other activities at the church. We made them costumes and they’ve used them ever since. Last time Byron and I were here in Cozumel the pastors asked if they could get some biblical costumes for the teenagers and adults. Knowing the ladies at the church love the opportunity to learn new things, especially using the electric sewing machines, I told them “Sure. We’ll hold a sewing workshop and teach you to make your own costumes.”
Now the time had come to launch that idea. Our volunteer team serviced the sewing machines donated previously to Friends of Cozumel, measured the donated fabric brought from the U.S., cut out and surged all of the pieces and then took them to the church. The participants for yesterday’s workshop were to be people with some sewing experience because the goal was to produce costumes for the church, rather than teaching basic sewing skills.
At the first of our two-hour sessions, we had seven participants. One lady had never sewn before and another had never sewn on anything but a treadle machine.
“I’m so nervous, I’m sweating through my clothes,” said a workshop participant named Martha.
We were fortunate to have the assistance of Elena, a local sewing teacher, who learned to sew in some of FOC’s very first sewing classes several years ago. She helped our new seamstresses have a successful day, completing a vest and several belts.
We had lots of fun with Rita who had never used an electric sewing machine. She had a hard time not moving her foot up and down, so the machine would barely start, then stop. Then when she would get started again, she had trouble getting the concept of taking her foot off of the peddle to make it stop. She never got discouraged and laughed and had the best time. We all had lots of laughs and everyone completed at least one item.
At the second workshop, we had new participants and were surprised when Pastor Salomon asked if he could learn to sew. He did a great job and completed several projects. We didn’t believe we would complete all the projects that we had
cut out, but everyone worked hard and we completed everything we had prepared: 11 tunics, 15 vests and a whole bunch of belts.
I came dragging in at the end of the day, but we were all so excited with what was accomplished.
“I loved working with the people because of all of their enthusiasm,” said Ellen, a volunteer from Texas. “And I know the blessing of this sewing experience will be a blessing to the church.”
“That’s the thing with handmade items. They still have the person’s mark on them, and when you hold them, you feel less alone.” ~ Aimee Bender