Students are cut from same cloth Interest in sewing draws children to Severna class

September 19, 1996|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

Alexandra Brown, a child of today's video-game, videotape culture, is enticed by the old-fashioned hum of a sewing machine.

"I just love sewing," said the pigtailed 10-year-old from Millersville. "I would choose sewing over watching TV anytime."

The fifth-grader at St. John the Evangelist School is one of three girls who picked up needle and thread yesterday and stitched elastic hair bands called scrunchies at the Community Center at Woods in Severna Park.

The girls are enrolled in KIDSEW, a program run by Cindi Gallagher. The program, which costs $40 for a four-week session, introduces children ages 8 and older to the seemingly out-of-fashion but always useful skill of sewing, said the 38-year-old mother of two.

"A lot of the high schools are phasing out sewing, and sewing itself is fading," said Gallagher, who learned to sew as a fine arts and theater design student at Catholic University in Washington.

"But this is a way that the children, through sewing, can express themselves and have a skill throughout their lives," she said.

Gallagher said the elements of sewing -- measuring, cutting and piecing fabric -- help children develop problem-solving skills. And it can help save money in the long run. A dress that costs $90 in a store can often be made at home for about $25, she said.

Only three girls have enrolled -- one of them is Gallagher's 7-year-old daughter, Moira -- but Gallagher just started advertising the course this week.

"I'm really encouraged that I have this many with registration open only since Monday," she said. "Once we get the word-of-mouth around, it will fill up."

Students who have completed one session may enroll again and work on harder projects, she said.

One mother who was at the center picked up a registration form and pledged to enroll her daughter.

"I wish I had learned to sew," said Roseann Jamison, whose 12-year-old daughter, Lisa, is using an old sewing machine at home. "She can make her own T-shirts and stuff like that. And this is something to do that would keep her out of trouble."

Yesterday, Alexandra, Moira and Kristi Truver learned some safety tips about the sewing machine: "Keep your finger away from the needle when rewinding your bobbin or while sewing. You want to sew your fabric, not your fingers," Gallagher said.

Then, they made some scrunchies.

Kristi, who was sewing for the first time, said she was tired of "sewing" pictures on cards.

"I thought that if I learned how to do this, I could do a little bit more," said the 10-year-old fifth-grader at Oak Hill Elementary School.

Gallagher said she tries to keep her students' interest by allowing them to select what to make -- favorites are flannel boxer shorts or denim vests -- rather than telling them to make, say, an apron.

"It inspires creativity," she said. "It's hands-on and very participatory, and there's no lecturing. I think that gives them a sense of pride that they can complete something that they started."

For information about the four-week sessions, call 647-8374.

Pub Date: 9/19/96

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