The women used paper sacks from Tororo Cement to practice using the sewing machine along with a few small scraps of fabric. They’d obviously learned to use the sewing machine but the idea of using a pattern and pins seemed foreign to them. We began by looking at a finished girly dress to examine the intended outcome and we talked about how to get there. Then we reviewed the girly dress pattern instructions and proceeded through those instructions step by step.
The concept of laying the pattern on the fold and cutting two pieces simultaneously was confusing to the women. As we progressed, however, they began to see how and why the pattern must be cut in this way. Pinning the pattern to the fabric was another new experience. Placing pins so that the scissors could freely cut around the edges or so that the sewing machine could continue without stopping was another complex task the women mastered after some time.
I sat with the first daring woman as she sewed the dress, again following the instructions step by step. Machine control was a challenge given that the manual pedal doesn’t easily allow for slow stitching. Practice, practice, practice. Once the whole process was finished they were so proud…they oohed and ahhed over the surprising result. Tasked with as much practice as they could muster, I look forward to delivering more machines and seeing the progress they’ve made in developing their skills with the machine.