a library in shining armour

The obvious outcome of taking up dyeing as a serious hobby, is of course, ending up with loads of dyed fabric. I really wanted to use my pieces to make something. There was just one tiny problem…I didn’t know how to sew. AND I don’t have a sewing machine!

That’s when the Alameda County Library came to my rescue. Yep, a library that has the tools, equipment and the coaching required for sewing-newbies like me!

Sewing Circle notice at the Alameda County Library

For the ‘Sewing Circle Saturdays’ initiative, Alameda County Library has invested in eight new sewing machines, basic sewing kits, ironing boards etc. You can register for the classes and bring your own machine or opt to use the library machine. The program is run by sewing enthusiast and librarian Barbara Telford-Ishida.

Currently, there is one master class each month, taught by the talented Jennifer Serr from The Sewing Room. Jennifer has been in the fashion industry for a couple of decades and she is also the owner of Bonjour Teaspoon Patterns, a sewing pattern company. What I love about Jennifer is her patience and her big smile. I can only imagine how it must be teaching a group of eager beavers (from diverse ethnicities) with barely any sewing experience.

Jennifer Serr at the sewing machine

The remaining three Saturdays in the month provide an opportunity to practice what you learnt at the class or work on your own project. In the first class, I was introduced to Sewing 101 >> the basics of a sewing machine, winding a bobbin, sewing straight and curved lines etc.

Sewing Practice Sheets

However, by the end of the class, I’d made a small drawstring pouch!!

Red drawstring pouch made at the class

After one more master class on a  zippered pouch and a couple of practice sessions, I was finally able to make my very own indigo dyed pouch. Yay!!

Handmade indigo Arashi Pouch

A special shout out to the Sewing Circle volunteers – Kathy Steel-Sabo, Kathy Vennemeyer and Christine Collins. These kind women contribute their time and effort to promote the art of sewing. Ladies, much appreciated!!


<< To find out more about the Sewing Circle and other events offered at the library, click here. Below – Barbara, Jen and Christine at a class >>

Barbara, Jennifer and Christine at the Sewing Circle


2 responses to “a library in shining armour

    • Thanks for the encouragement Jan. True, the zipper pouches are really nice once you make ’em but those metal zippers sure give me a hard time.I guess practice makes perfect, so I just need to stay at it!


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