For many, sewing starts and stops with a hastily made apron in home economics class, but Norquay School sewing instructor Lindsey Lichty is determined to keep her students committed to the craft.
Lichty, along with Norquay community support worker Marlene Wood, leads The Fine Art of Sewing Club, teaching students in Grades 4 to 6, as well as their parents and guardians, hand and machine sewing.
And the sewing doesn’t stop after classes are completed.
"When they do (graduate from the club), they get to take a sewing machine," said Lichty, who has taught at Norquay for three years.
"That’s the whole intent. I wanted each person that goes through the program to have a sewing machine to take home with them."
Consequently, Lichty is always on the hunt for more machines. She said she’s received machine donations from individuals, as well St. George’s Anglican Church and the Canadian Tire in Southdale. She’s also received product donations from Fabricland and Staples.
A former employee of Brother International in Ontario, Lichty knows sewing machines inside and out, cleaning and maintaining the donated product herself. Any repairs she can’t make are done at Modern Sewing Machine Co. (1419 Main St.).
Lichty, who says she started sewing around age eight or nine, said knowing your way around a needle and thread is empowering.
"You can repair clothing, so it keeps your costs down, and you can be inventive and design your own clothes," said Lichty, who also teaches sewing to continuing education students in Louis Riel School Division.
"You can also work for companies that require sewers, from car manufacturers to fabric stores. Not only that, it’s also a craft and a hobby as well."
Unfortunately for Norquay School, Lichty is moving to Ontario in June to be with her family.
"I don’t want to see (the sewing program) die, but in order for that not to happen, someone needs to pick up the slack when I’m not here," Lichty said. "If another sewing enthusiast would like to help out with the program that would be super."
Lichty said leaving Norquay won’t be easy.
"It’s been a learning experience for me as much as it has been for the children," Lichty said. "The kids are amazing. Sometimes they have issues they have to deal with, but they rise above them and do the best they can."
For more information on The Fine Art of Sewing Club or to donate a sewing machine, phone Norquay School at 204-943-9541 or call Lichty directly at 204-253-8080.