Sewing with Brother

Sewing and Embroidery powered by Brother International

Thank you for your donation Brother International!

Donation by Brother

Brother International generously donated 4 Project Runway Limited Edition Computerized Sewing Machines, a 1034D Serger (edger) and an Persona PRS100 embroidery machine to the Dresner Foundation Soul Studio last summer. Several artists have learned sewing skills on the donated machines and have produced purses, scarfs, pillows, mug rugs, bracelets and more. The finished products are then displayed in the gallery and sold to the community. Thank you Brother International; your donation has made it possible for several artists to learn new skills and to push themselves to create more art with those skills.

Artists at work

There is a gentle murmur of excited people around 10am in the Dresner Foundation Soul Studio. The artists are all exiting the regular morning meeting and are headed to their places in the studio to get started with their work. The art program is in the second week of a new schedule, where artists are immersed in a medium for an entire month to get a more thorough experience.

Artists Devorah Newman and Adam Egrin are assigned to sewing projects and their volunteers, Ginger Pringle and Bonnie Laker, are assisting the artists with getting the machines ready to go. Bonnie is threading one of the Brother sewing machines with black thread for Adam’s project and Ginger is applying a line of blue tape near the needle on Devorah’s assigned machine. As she waits to get started Devorah discusses her project and her first time sewing. “I am making a light violet pillow because I had too much room left on the baby blanket I made.” Devorah explains, “I haven’t sewn before and I’m enjoying it. I find it challenging to keep things lined up sometimes, but that’s why she [Ginger] is putting tape on my machine.”

Devorah Newman and Ginger Pringle applying tape to sewing machine

Devorah Newman watches as Ginger Pringle places a piece of tape as a line guide onto her sewing machine.

Creating new pieces from old projects

The Fiber Arts studio has several looms for weaving and both Adam and Devorah are using their time on the sewing machines to create new pieces out of weaved projects.

Adam and a sample bracelet

Adam Egrin holds up an example of the bracelets that he is working on.

“I’m working on bracelets that are made on memory wire. It was my first time weaving and I made a seven inch scarf that I will be cutting into bracelets. The studio wanted to sell bracelets in the gallery and I was like, ‘hey, I like it and I’ll do those.’” Adam explains. “I chose to make each one have a different design and some of the designs I had multiple threads in one, to make one thread. I made sure to have sparkle thread in each section of the scarf so every bracelet will have some sparkle.” He says excitedly.

Bonnie Laker sewing on Brother machine

Studio volunteer Bonnie Laker demonstrates a two handed sewing technique

Bonnie has finished threading Adam’s machine and she has started sewing a few stitches on the thick scarf. She speaks to Adam to explain what she is doing, “So, the only thing I’m going to tell you about these is that they are very thick.”
“So go slow.” Adam finishes.
“Well, do you see how my fingers are? See how I’m pushing? You need to push the material so that it’s not getting stuck under the needle.” Bonnie demonstrates the pushing motion on the scarf.
“Oh, I see.” He replies and he takes his place on his machine.

Learning the basics

Devorah is also sitting in her place behind her sewing machine and ready to get started by stitching a ribbon into the edge of the blanket. She has lined up her work along the blue tape that Ginger placed there. As Devorah starts sewing, Ginger talks about her experience with donated sewing machines. “I have been sewing since I was ten years old, but I have never sewn on Brother machines before. So far, I really like them. I have a different kind of machine at home, but I have enjoyed these.” She watches Devorah’s progress and stops talking to help her artist, “We need to straighten this up just a little bit.” She explains patiently to Devorah, who stops the machine and straightens her material before starting up again.

Devorah Newman sewing with tape guide

Devorah Newman sewing to complete a baby blanket with matching pillow set.

“They are easy to operate and threading the machine, you have to be careful with that. You need to be sure that you don’t skip any steps. We want the artist to have a satisfying experience and if the machine is threaded incorrectly then they are going to have trouble.” Ginger says. “Brother makes it easy.”

Adam has been listening while he works and adds, “That’s something really nice about these machines, they have three speeds. So, when you are just learning, it’s great because you won’t have the machine run away with you. I like the buttons and display on the side here that explain the different stitching options. It shows each stitch and how you can use it. I can understand it and it makes sense.”

Adam likes the stitching options

Adam Egrin sewing stitches on a scarf to create bracelets.

Bonnie, Adam’s volunteer for the day, chimes in with, “Also, the self threader, I love the self-threader! When the artists are brand new to sewing, that’s a nice feature.”

Strides in stitches

“I’ve definitely noticed an improvement from the artists since they first got started. Devorah has picked up very quickly on this. We use a guide here and it makes it so much easier and she’s able to keep it right on the guide and now I’m not having to help her at all, which is great! Adam had never sewn before last week and he’s doing great too!” Ginger explains.

Adam adds, “Having these machines gives us more versatility because some of the things you can’t do by hand, well you could, but it would take a long time. It also makes stitches that are much stronger than you could do by hand.”

Photo of weaving project in need of rescue

Bonnie shows an example of a weaving project in need of rescue

Bonnie shows off an infinity scarf that she helped to rescue from the discard pile. “This was a first attempt on the loom for one of the other artists. There were a lot of strings and it was very uneven, but thanks to the sewing machines, it now looks like this.”

The rescued infinity scarf

The finished infinity scarf

“That’s a really good thing about having the machines right here.  We are able to take a piece of weaving that you might look at and say, ‘Ok, what are we going to do with this?’ Then we can run it through the machine and turn it into that. Now we can sell it and the artist will make a commission off of her work. So that’s really really neat.” Ginger finishes.

The Dresner Foundation Soul Studio & Gallery are open weekdays from 11am-3pm stop in to see the artists at work and visit the gallery to see their latest works and merchandise.

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