So many places to sew in Winnipeg


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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 20/07/2022 (323 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

When front-line healthcare workers needed face masks early on in the pandemic, Winnipeggers started turned on their sewing machines. Countless people — groups and individuals — dusted off old machines or invested in new ones as the city united to sew the thousands of cotton masks required. It was a labour of love to protect those who were putting themselves at risk to care for patients.

Local sewing and fabric stores couldn’t keep up with the demand and sales of the cottons used in mask production soared. It was an easy transition to go from sewing masks to sewing totes, clothes or stuffies especially when long lockdowns meant workplaces were closed and little else was open. Delays in receiving online orders of every type caused many to get creative and refashion little-worn garments or old fabric scraps. Sewing is a great stress-buster and just like baking sourdough bread and knitting, it soon became a pandemic “thing.”

If you don’t have a sewing machine but have pants you want to hem, alterations you want to make or mending to do, where can you go?

In one of the rooms located in the ideaMill at the Millennium Library, there are sewing machines and various other crafts tools.
In one of the rooms located in the ideaMill at the Millennium Library, there are sewing machines and various other crafts tools.

There are four free-to-use sewing machines in the ideaMILL on the third floor of the Millennium Library downtown. The collaborative workspace, which opened in 2018, is staffed by library assistants and open during regular library hours. The up-to-date sewing machines in its craft room were donated by the Friends of the Winnipeg Public Library (, partly from sales at their tiny but wonderful gift shop in the library lobby. You will need a library card to book time on one of the sewing machines or on the ideaMILL’s quilting machine. Thread, needles and encouragement are supplied but not instruction.

Winnipeg Sews is located on the second floor of the South Osborne Xchange building (421 Mulvey Avenue East, unit 203) and offers a two-hour long community meet-up night once a month. For a $10 fee you can drop by and use their machines, including a serger, for two hours while you mix and mingle with other sewers. Find more info at

What better way to see amazing handiwork done by the local sewing community? Marshall Fabrics will be re-opening at 1500 King Edward St. soon and its grand re-opening extravaganza will be held there on July 28, including a fashion show with local sewers showing off their creations. It will be followed by a week of contests, giveaways and more. Keep checking their updates on social media for more info.

Anne Hawe

Anne Hawe
West End community correspondent

Anne Hawe is a community correspondent for the West End. She can be reached at

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