County Extension Office hosts sewing camp

Sewing machines and equipment filled the room at the Chilton County Extension Office on Thursday. (Photos by Anthony Richards)

Sewing machines and equipment filled the room at the Chilton County Extension Office on Thursday. (Photos by Anthony Richards)

For the second consecutive summer, the Chilton County Extension Center and Alabama 4H held a sewing camp at its offices in downtown Clanton.

The class consisted of 10 students from ages 9-13 and was structured for beginners, even though some had also attended the class the previous summer.

“We’re always having things that are tearing, so mending is a big part,” volunteer Paula Blevins-Russell said. “This is a step in that direction.”

Blevins-Russell has been sewing for the past 50 years and is now just trying to pass along the lessons that she learned over that time.

She was one of several volunteers that helped provide assistance as instructors with the event.

This year’s projects included hand sewing a coaster on Tuesday and machine sewing a bookmark and an apron on Thursday.

“You can be a little more creative and personal with the hand stitching,” 13-year-old Madison Chrishon said.

The summer sewing class participants show off their apron designs.

The summer sewing class participants show off their apron designs.

As part of the experience, the children learned how to sew on a button.

“They see what they can do sewing and they get fired up about it,” Blevins-Russell said. “They end up going home wanting to make gifts for everyone.”

Audrey Armstrong, 10, attended the class for the second straight year.

According to Armstrong, since last summer she has made pincushions, a chew toy for her dog and several other small novelty items.

“I like it because it makes me relax,” Armstrong said. “One of my friend watches me sew and said that she wants me to teach her.”

The Chilton County Extension Office continues to introduce the community with the opportunities to learn new skills.

Initiatives such as the sewing camp are continued steps in developing a self-sufficient future generation.

“It’s about showing them the basics and getting them inspired,” Blevins-Russell said. “It really is quite simple, but you just have to get that initial fear.”

Another camp will be held two days next week for those with a little more experience or the opportunity to continue to build on what they learned during the first week.

“These are practical lessons that can save money and that they can taking with in their lives,” Chilton County Extension Coordinator Gay West said. “Making a product your hands is important at their age.”

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