Sewing Kindness, a Legacy

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UpholsteryHello dear friends of First Fridays, it’s TJ from Studio Mailbox here to bring you your monthly dose of sewing humor.  This year I’m rolling out a campaign promoting Random Acts of Sewing Kindness or RASK for short.  I hope it will catch on so please allow me to update you on what’s been happening!

My Grandma came for a visit and before she got her shoes off she plunked her old serge machine onto my table.  Clearly it wasn’t going to be all fun and games. Grandma was in town!  (OK, I admit I begged her to bring her machine so I could play with it.  Bless her heart, she humored me).

Do you guys remember my friend Christa?  The one whose dog shredded her couch like it was cheese? (If not get up to speed with the first RASK post).  I conned Grams into stopping over to see how bad the damage really was.  Grandma said, “oh that’s nothing! I thought the dog had eaten an entire cushion!”  Suddenly Grandma was on her back under the couch asking for a Phillips screwdriver.  I didn’t worry until she wanted to upgrade to a razor.  Next thing you know she was slashing at Christa’s couch removing the reclining foot rest.  Holy crap.  I am not kidding.  “It’s already ruined!” she assured me as she ruthlessly hacked off the material that was connecting it to the rest of the couch.

The next morning Grandma was already in my studio having commandeered the cat’s paw.  By the time I had brought my kid to school she was engrossed in the project.  I had to leave for a ribbon cutting ceremony and when I returned several hours later there was a neat stack of reupholstered couch pieces on my studio table.  The staple gun was hot and smoking.

In the meantime I had listed my first Craigslist ad.  Nobody ever warned me about the skills required for that!  Since I’ve committed to making random acts of sewing kindness I listed a bag of patterns that were taking up space in my closet.  Little did I know that placing an ad in Craigslist under Arts+Crafts requires a degree in psychology, business management and zen Buddhism.  The first lady who wanted them was hard of hearing.  I have no problem with the elderly or deaf community (I can sign with the best of them), but this lady was also lacking manners.  The second lady seemed really keen on a bag of free patterns but also wanted them delivered on a silver platter.  The third lady was wonderfully helpful, even taking them time to explain Craigslist etiquette and encouraging me to hang in there.  When the second lady never showed to pick them up, I got a hold of the helpful lady.  We made a plan for the drop and sure enough she arrived exactly as planned.  I sent a quick thank you up to the universe and promised never to place another Craigslist ad again.

Learning to sewThe next morning Grams and I headed back to Christa’s to reattach the newly covered footrest.  It was go time!  The hardest part was getting the dang thing back onto the framework of the couch.  Christa contorted herself above us waving her iPhone at strange angles until we had enough light to get the screws secured.  Then Grams and I worked together jamming things into place with the staple gun.  When it was all said and done Grandma had a burning question for Christa, “Show me how you turned your phone into a flashlight!” And there they were, two ladies swapping technology secrets.

When we came home I already had an email from the Craigslist lady that I had connected with the evening before.  It turns out she has a history of refurbishing vintage machines because she’s the Sewing Machine Maven!  Not only that but she invited me to the Worlds Largest Textile Garage Sale. (Umm, yes please!)  Does anybody else in the area want to come?

All of a sudden from the other room, Grandma exclaimed, “Oh my gosh!”  I figured the time had come where she finally ran her hand through the sewing machine.  Turns out she had just opened the thank you card Christa had slipped her which contained a generous tip.  This sewing kindness thing is really coming full circle.

Check out this extra shot of my Grams getting her hands on her great-grandson after school.  Just another day in the life of making sure kids can run some fabric through those feed dogs.  That happens to be the same machine I used to practice on!

Random Acts of Sewing Kindness

TJ from Studio MailboxTJ Goerlitz is a mixed media artist who pretends to be a seamstress whenever possible.  Come connect with her on her site, Studio Mailbox,  in Facebook or in Pinterest.  Join her on the first Friday of every month where she shares her latest sewing tales with the readers of The Sewing Loft.




TJ @ StudioMailbox
Tari “TJ” Goerlitz is an artist who has spent the majority of the last decade living and working in Europe. Since her relocation to the United States you can usually find her at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts where she explores Letterpress printing as the latest component to her mixed media work which is a fusion of photography, printing, sewing and journaling. Connect with TJ while she shares her creative journey online at Studio Mailbox.
TJ @ StudioMailbox

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  1. So sweet! I once sewed up ripped cushions on my roommates free couch, but that was just so they wouldn’t rip anymore. I love your story!

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