MAGIC CITY SEAMS
The Sew-Op competed in UAB’s 2015 Community Health Innovation Awards and was awarded $13,000 to develop a sewing training that prepares trainees to take on piece-work and small-batch manufacturing jobs. Under the name, "Woodlawn Sewing Training", we completed the pilot in December, 2016 and four trainees became proficient enough to produce ten soft-goods therapy tools for UAB's Acute Care for Elders unit at UAB Highlands Hospital. The trainees worked on sewing machines donated by the Wisconsin-based organization, The Sewing Machine Project. We procured an ELEVATE grant through Alabama Power Foundation to continue the program in 2017 and 2018. We've worked with NEST (New York-based non-profit committed to ethical production of artisan goods), West Elm, and Molly Green Boutique. The program continues to evolve and we have high hopes for 2020.
THE MARCH QUILTS
Each year the Sew-Op picks a different theme of human or civil rights for this community art project and facilitates sewing sessions with partners such as the Birmingham Museum of Art, UAB’s Department of Art and Art History, The Birmingham Public Library system and more. In its inaugural year, the project celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery marches and made three quilts from the 461 blocks that were submitted by participants. 2019 marked the project’s fifth year and we honored unsung heroines of Alabama in line with the state's Bicentennial. To date, we've collected over 1,050 blocks from participants and made ten quilts.
Quilting Activity Resource Kit teaches elementary-level math fundamentals through sewing and the principles of art such as pattern, shape and color. After presenting as a finalist during Design Week Birmingham’s 2015 FEAST, the Sew-Op began raising funds to implement the idea. The Sew-Op partnered with the team at The Modern Brand, Co. to develop QUARK’s print components and QUARKs have been available for purchase since mid-2018. For every QUARK sold, we donate one to a Birmingham City School student. We continue to test the kit with students, making adjustments and selling QUARKs in local stores and online. We hope this product will become a solid income generator for the Sew-Op.