Riding a bike, learning to skate or read or sew? Chances are you had a tentative beginning – facing your fears, perhaps experiencing failure – until you grew your capability and, with it, your confidence. Learning a new skill changes everything! It’s a launching pad to building self-esteem, creating opportunity and realizing dreams.
That’s what Sewing Seeds does – we stitch dreams into reality via sewing machines, through teaching practical sewing skills.
Some of our program graduates will use those skills to extend the family budget by mending or making their family’s clothes, others will take in small projects for a modest income or sew for the tourist trade, others become the uniform supplier for their local school districts and some, like Sewing Seeds’ founder, Sylvia Rempel, develop thriving businesses, employing and training others.
Sylvia arrived in Canada as a non-English speaking immigrant and self-taught seamstress and went on to build a multi-million-dollar clothing enterprise. Sun Ice drew international attention as the official supplier to the 1988 Winter Olympic Games, held here in Calgary. Now, through the work of Sewing Seeds, Sylvia is building skills, confidence and independence in students here at home and around the globe. Sylvia is proof-positive that retirement doesn’t require a rocking chair!
Internationally: Sewing Seeds partners directly with in-country organizations. Our partners supply the physical facility plus housing and support for our trainers. Sewing Seeds provides the sewing machines, the trainers, a proven sewing curriculum and the fabrics, tools and projects the students will complete. Depending on demand, Sewing Seeds will return to offer intermediate and advanced programs.
The goal, always, is to ensure sustainability as locals develop the capacity to teach future generations of students.
Domestically: Sewing Seeds operates the Calgary Sewing Centre. The Centre serves as a gathering place for Sewing Seeds volunteers and donors, a warehouse and assembly point for the shipment of supplies to our global schools and a teaching centre for training new program teachers.
We continue to expand our local reach with sewing training programs for new immigrants to Calgary and at-need students via referral from local social service agencies. We are also responding to requests to support the rebirth of traditional sewing skills in the Indigenous community.
Come join us at the Calgary Sewing Centre, the coffee pot is always on!
Read “Her Stories” of amazing Sewing Seeds graduates on our website.
Sewing Seeds has programs here in Canada and in Sierra Leone, Peru, Mexico, Ukraine, Haiti and Guatemala.
Thank you Calgary, Sewing Seeds will ensure that your gifts of time, talent and treasure stitch a path to self-sufficiency for our graduates, one stitch at a time!