Mary

“Growing up, my mother used to make my clothes for me. She would create dresses for special occasions like Christmas or Easter. This was always the norm for me. It wasn’t until my 13th birthday that I asked my grandmother if I could buy a dress from a shop. However, the clothing items from the shops just didn’t fit the way I wanted them to. So, I still had to make alterations once I arrived home. It was around this time that I decided to learn to sew for myself. I preferred making my own clothes, and at the age of 14, I even made dresses for myself and my cousins.
After I got married and had my daughter, I started picking up sewing again and expanded my skills and knowledge. My daughter was a dancer, and as you can imagine, the costumes were expensive. That’s when I began making them for her. Eventually, I started creating costumes for the entire dance group. As my son grew up, I would often have to alter his trousers since he was tall. When he got his first job, I even made suits for him. I used to consult my aunt for tailoring advice, although I mostly learned through trial and error and from the library, as there was no such thing as Google back then.
Managing a household made it easier for me to work from home. I never planned to run a business from home; it just sort of happened. I built a client base, which gave me the freedom to experiment with various textiles, such as knitting, although sewing will always remain my primary passion.
I joined the Amy Foundation in 2019. A long-time friend of mine, who is also a staff member, asked me to join as a sewing facilitator. I was hesitant at first because I wasn’t sure if I would fit in, but I haven’t left since that first visit. Initially, the programme was more craft-oriented, but after talking to the students and learning more about what they wanted from the course, we were able to adapt it to their needs. Additionally, I suggested introducing knitting to cover the time during loadshedding.
I truly enjoy my role as a sewing facilitator. Teaching students how to sew and everything else that it involves, such as working with different fabrics, brings me joy. I can’t leave this world with all my knowledge, so it’s satisfying to pass these skills along to the next generation. I find pleasure in working one-on-one with the students and witnessing their progress throughout the programme.”

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Mary

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