Carrying on, despite COVID

By Marla Fletcher and Sonja Vermeulen

When onsite sewing classes were shut down in early March, EcoEquitable’s Sewing for Jobs program was profoundly affected. Students were just halfway into their semester, and no one knew when the classes might resume.

One of our dedicated teachers shares her experience — and solution. Sonja Vermeulen writes:

“In March everything changed. Classes ended, and I was wondering how my class (Sewing for Jobs — Garment Construction) was going to be able to move forward. My husband and I decided to make videos for the class to watch on Facebook. It was a voyage; not as easy as was thought, but we persevered. [The 30-odd videos cover everything from choosing the right pattern and sewing basics to inserting a zipper and shirt and dress construction, in 15- and 30-minute instalments.]

“I wanted so much for my students and was concerned that, with the school’s closure due to COVID-19, they might not get as much as they could have had.

“We resumed in-class sessions in September, and today I was blown away.

“Hope came in, and has made a skirt exactly the way I had shown her. She originally did not want to follow my suggestion, but then had a big turnaround. Her skirt was perfection!

“Mariella came in and showed me her knit tops. They were all amazing, and high-end quality.

“Josiane is consistently moving forward. She is very serious about learning, and has a lot of potential.

“Amina has made an amazing blouse, which fits her so well and was expertly stitched. She also made several pieces at home.  

“Halimo sewed her waistband onto her garment and it was impeccable, miles better than her first attempt. She understood exactly what she needed to do; she also completed a shirt.

“Lisa is doing amazingly well. She is making a very complicated jacket and pants, and she has persevered.

“Charlotte has learned so much too. She has not been able to come to class because she has a young child learning at home. Nevertheless, her projects are moving along.

“While Marta has not been able to come in for these last few classes, during the time we were together she learned what the standards are for quality clothing.

“As a teacher, I am so very proud of my students. Despite the pandemic, they have all worked very hard and have learned so much.” 

Thank you to the Ontario Trillium Foundation and all our funders for their ongoing support, generosity and patience.

Sewing for Jobs Graduation

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