Blessed In My Efforts
I can’t explain why I’ve always been fascinated with sewing. My mother didn’t care much for it, but I’ve been sewing by hand since I was nine and on a sewing machine since I was eleven years old. In those days, my sewing was limited to one little rag doll and lots of doll clothes. During my teenage. years, I spent my time stitching up my own clothes and a few Christmas gifts each year. Was my effort worthwhile? Of course, but was it satisfying? Perhaps, but only temporarily.
As an adult, my sewing repertoire included short-term projects such as kids’ clothes or costumes, and work-for-hire projects such as curtains, bridesmaids’ dresses, and quilts. I was no stranger to my sewing machine, yet none of those things brought me much satisfaction other than another task completed. And not one of them gave me a deep sense of purpose or benefitted others long-term.
When my granddaughters were born, I began experimenting with sewing dolls again, but this time my plan was to make a soft, safe cloth doll for each of them. I felt a sense of purpose now in sewing for them, although it was short-lived. I soon became interested in doll shoes, because the girls were fascinated with them, and I’d struggled to make cute ones for their dolls. I played around with cloth dolls and shoes for nearly two years before I enrolled in the Liberty Jane Design Academy and, after that, the Liberty Jane Pattern Academy.
As I applied the many skills I’d learned from Cinnamon, I made my first pattern… a pair of 18” doll shoes. The granddaughters loved them, and they fit well, so I submitted the pattern to Pixie Faire. When it was tested and published, it wasn’t long before I was making other patterns, and starting to feel a sense of purpose that could only come from God. And, along the way, I was getting to know Jason and Cinnamon, and learning about their involvement with Sew Powerful.
Each time I read a newsletter or checked the Sew Powerful website, I was inspired by the Sew Powerful stories and felt compelled to help support them. Sew Powerful was a charity that was so cost-effective that nearly every dollar donated and every minute spent benefitted the girls of Lusaka, Zambia. And it was all sewing based! Eventually, I began to see that sewing a purse or two for Sew Powerful offered me a beneficiary for my sewing that was bigger than my interests, long-range, and deeply rewarding. Something I had a bit of talent for could be a huge blessing to someone else! It was a life-changing moment for me. Being the bargain shopper that I was, I already had several tubs of fabric on hand, plenty of buttons and embellishments, and since I was retired, plenty of time.
I dug in and made purse after purse, experimenting with the pattern pieces and various trims, adding buttons, bits of lace or ribbon, and combining fabrics. The hours flew by, and the purses stacked up. I added custom machine embroidery designs to make the purses unique. Whenever there was a cute print in the fabric, I would duplicate a machine embroidery design for the front flap. I wanted the purses to be something special for these girls who had so little. As I stitched up each one, I tried to imagine the sweet girl who might eventually own it. And then it struck me: God had given me a long-range, deeply rewarding purpose to match my interests and fill my time!
When the opportunity arose to become more involved with Sew Powerful, I was eager to help. I’d had a bit of experience with administration in my career path, so stepping up to a role as regional coordinator was not too far-fetched. I had lots of ideas for promoting Sew Powerful and was delighted to give my time to something that would be such a blessing to others. I don’t know what the future holds, but I do know WHO holds it, and I am so thankful that God led me to use my interest in sewing to serve the poorest of the poor and to impact the future. And, if God allows, I pray that my efforts will bless them even more than God has blessed me.