Sewing For Jobs
What It Is
Sewing for Jobs is an innovative sewing training program designed to be a bridge to sustainability for people in need. Our classes reflect the diversity of our society – bringing together women from across the world who want to build a better life for themselves and their families. At EcoEquitable we believe that community, inclusion, and confidence are the cornerstones of active engagement. Sewing for Jobs encourages students to look beyond the barriers they face and begin to build the life they want to live.
Sewing for Jobs focuses on skill building through hands-on experience and lessons taught by highly skilled sewers. Over ten months participants are taught the foundations of professional sewing in a supportive community where they are encouraged to vocalize their needs, be themselves, and explore opportunities previously unknown to them. They gain access to mentorship, one-on-one language tutoring, social activities, and other skill and knowledge building courses they identify as priorities.
Through Sewing for Jobs EcoEquitable actively promotes sustainable business practices – using only recycled fabrics and textiles for garment construction and home décor – showing participants that you can have a big impact with few resources.
How It Works
Sewing for Jobs I: Foundations of Professional Sewing
The first level of Sewing for Jobs is designed for beginner sewers. There is no sewing experience required – only a desire to learn. By the end of this four-month course students should be comfortable with professional hand stitching and seams, domestic sewing machines and sergers, reading patterns, installing zippers and will have knowledge about fabrics, textiles, and their various uses.
Sewing for Jobs II: Professional Garment Construction
The second level of Sewing for Jobs is designed for those with some sewing experience including level I students continuing through the program. By the end of this four-month course students should be comfortable with garment construction including skirts, blouses, pants, dresses, lining, fittings, commercial pattern alterations, and design. The focus in this program is professionalism in sewing; students are also introduced to the multi-faceted sewing industry in Ottawa and are encouraged to begin thinking about where they want to bring their newly acquired skills.
Sewing for Jobs III: Additional Support
Sewing for Jobs III is designed for graduates Sewing for Jobs II. What makes this course different is that graduates are able to decide as a group what additional skills they need to succeed in this industry. Through this consultation with students a month-long program is developed offering additional courses such as Alterations, Industrial Sewing, resume writing, interview preparation, and more. In addition, students should have identified an employment goal in three streams: Industrial Sewing, working for a designer or working for themselves.
Why It Works
What does sewing have to do with integration and employment?
Many people wonder why EcoEquitable focuses on sewing. In a world of low-priced, fast paced fashion sewing as a skilled trade seems obsolete. But, like any skilled trade, sewing is a way of accessing one’s innate ability and creativity. For people who face barriers to employment their belief in themselves has often been diminished over time. When people are excluded from the labour market they often become isolated from society in many other ways. While sewing is often seen as a solitary act it has a long history of bringing women together. We encourage collaboration in our classroom so that success in sewing becomes a group effort. Sewing for Jobs brings people together in a supportive community to access, explore, and celebrate the ability of each person.
When people are able to seethe physical accomplishments of their work they gain confidence. When their work is celebrated they feel supported. And when they feel supported they feel hopeful about the future. These are the stepping stones to sustainable, dignified, meaningful work.