Dealing with Sewing Donations
I'm definitely someone who doesn't like to waste anything.
I hate throwing food away that I didn't get a chance to make or eat.
I love that I'm able to take articles of clothing in my wardrobe that no longer work for me and make adjustments so that I can wear them again.
When I no longer need something in my home I will donate it or just put it on my stoop so someone else can have it and use it.
Throwing something in the garbage is a last resort for me whenever possible and the same holds true for sewing machines, fabric and sewing supplies.
It's true I have a passion for old things and I have a pretty decent collection of vintage sewing machines and sewing tools and supplies. And yes they look wonderful in my studio.
But the same rules apply for me when it comes to working sewing machines, fabric and other crafting supplies that I can use or my students can use.
If you're a sewing teacher or have a sewing business I'm sure there's no shortage of people reaching out to you to donate fabric and sewing items. It's one of the perks of the job of you're into that sort of thing.
BUT the downside is that it can be a lot of work to accept donations like this and maybe you've accepted them in the past and no longer have the time or energy to do it.
I get it, but I encourage you to take the extra time to accept these donations because even if it's something you don't feel you can use, maybe you have students who can?
Just recently I accepted an older model sewing machine donation from someone moving overseas. I was able to offer this machine to someone who came looking to take sewing lessons with her daughter on a toy sewing machine.
When she wasn't happy to hear that I wouldn't give her a sewing lesson on this toy machine (that we all know isn't even a real sewing machine) I let her know I have a perfectly good working sewing machine I would love to give her. She could sign up for lessons on THIS seeing machine that will work much better then the one she'd originally inquired about.
I truly feel it's our duty to connect the existing sewing machines that people don't want with people eager to learn how to sew. Yes this can be a pain in the butt. But I truly believe it's part of our job as sewing instructors to make sewing accessible to anyone who wants to learn.
The same goes for fabric. If some calls or emails about having a lot of fabric that they'd like for us to have, I never say no. I know that even if it's not something I'll be able to use in my studio, I have access to an entire network of sewing students who most definitely could benefit from free fabric.
And a lot of times most of the fabric being donated is extremely useable. We will keep it around the studio and use it for our kids classes. It brings people great happiness when I tell them that the fabric of their that was always *intended* for great things will have a high likelihood probably of being made into shorts or a dress by a budding fashion designer!
Yes it's going to take some time to go through the fabric. Yes you'll have to take the time to pick it up from the person donating it. Yes some of it might be dirty or not great quality. But knowing that this fabric is going to be put to good use and it's not going to wind up in a landfill helps me to sleep better at night.
And if I simply don't have the time or energy to deal with a donation at a certain time, I will direct this person towards an organization that can use it like a school art program or charitable program in my area that needs art supplies.
I encourage all of you to take the extra time to not blow these people off and accept the donations when they come your way. Our planets waste is growing exponentially each day and as sewing teachers if we can eliminate even a little, isn't that worth it?