Nimble fingers sew for needy, teach skills

See why these Lents ladies say that sewing is not a lost art. Learn why they’re willing to share their skills with others, without charging for it …

Nancy Tingley shows one of many hats their sewing group has created from leftover quilting materials.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Every week, during the “Tuesday Morning Sewing Group” at Lents’ Pilgrim Lutheran Church, ladies gather to put needle and thread to cloth, to create all kinds of goods.

“We enjoy one another’s company,” said group’s coordinator, Nancy Tingley. “But we’re inviting neighborhood people to come and learn how to craft and sew.”

With so many out of work, Tingley said, she sees a need in the Lents Neighborhood and beyond for people to make their own clothing and blankets. “We do this because we want to help the community.”

Sewing group volunteer Paula Mackey threads a bobbin before starting a new project. “I enjoy making baby things the most,” she confides.

It’s clear that sewing isn’t a “lost art” at this get-together. “With help from among the four main members of our group, someone can come and learn how to make quilts.  They can make hats, knit hats, and learn almost any kind of fabric-craft skill.”

And, Tingley added, since there is a lot of table space, it’s the perfect place to cut large bolts of fabric – something that can be difficult, in a smaller home.

Nowadays, when so many goods are store-bought, learning fabric crafts does more than simply save money, Tingley observed. “It’s a great feeling of accomplishment, to see your loved ones using or wearing items that you’ve made by hand.”

Seamstress Carolyn Tubbs is already at work – and says she looks forward to passing on her skills to others.

No reservations necessary. You’ll find this group crafting on Tuesday mornings from 10 a.m. to noon in the basement.

By the way: With winter weather staying around, if you know a family that needs warm hats, stop by the church. They’ll share their cheerful hand-made hats, for free.

Pilgrim Lutheran Church is located at 4244 SE 91st Ave, one block north of Holgate, facing SE 92nd Avenue. For more information, e-mail

© 2012 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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