Monday, 2 June 2014

Saturday 24th May - Sustainability and Dress a Girl Project

Well, the May meeting certainly came round quickly - I don’t know where the weeks go. It was the start of the school half term holidays so we had a few members away, most noticeably Ann James - this was the very first meeting that Ann has missed since we started, so we felt her absence!

We were joined in the morning by the lovely Gaye Wilmot from Solec ( Gaye talked to us about current developments in sustainability and what we can do to make our own homes more sustainable. It seems that one of the best options for homes and businesses is to swap to LED lights, although I was very interested in the water heating systems too - a hot bath for free! (Well, not free, you pay around £4000 in set-up costs, but it would work out free after 10 years or so.) We enjoyed a good debate about why governments aren’t pushing for sustainable energy resources and opting for fracking instead, and why the monetary incentives and ‘green deals’ are so complicated. Before long we had worked up a hunger and it was time for lunch. As ever, lunch was scrumptious.

Then it was time for El Presidente's Sweat Shop! We had originally planned to have a go at making our own pair of knickers, but at the last meeting it was decided that we should get the sewing machines on the go and attempt to make some pillowcase dresses for the ‘Dress a Girl Project’. When Andrea first mentioned the project a few months ago, we were all very moved by the charity's tag line ‘Every girl deserves a pretty dress’.

It was decided that it would probably be best to work in small teams to create a manufacturing line / sweatshop. We started with the wonderful 'hot press' girls Katherine and Sarah, pressing all of the fabrics ready to be cut up and sewn. Lynn and Kieren were busy cutting up the pillow cases, opening up arm and neck holes. Then it was on to Kate, Jayne, Audrey and Trina working the machines and working their magic.

Margaret was busy threading the elastic from her never ending supply of elastic - where did she get it all from? Val and Maureen threaded the straps and checked overall quality before passing the dresses onto the embellishment team led by Barbara and supported by Trish, Lynn, Pat, Sarah and Andrea. Then there was Clair on the teas and coffees, all encouraged and chivvied along by me.

After the success of previous sewing workshops we had initially thought that we might complete four or so dresses, so we were thrilled to complete no less than fourteen dresses! Clair was sent back to the kitchen and Audrey was allowed to have a slice of her own birthday cake to celebrate. All in all, a great workshop.

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