Learning how to sew changed my life. It was the first time in my life that clothes actually fit me. By adding hems, darts and elastic, suddenly it wasn’t my body that needed to change, it was the clothes. Having this essential skill changed how I see myself and helped me accept my body.
For the past two years, I have facilitated free weekly fashion design and sewing workshops for residents at Lotus House Women’s Shelter in Overtown, Miami. Class participants hone their sewing and fashion design skills with weekly activities: making tote bags from button-up dress shirts, upcycling t-shirts into cute wraps and adding drawstring details, dying textiles, fashion sketching, mood boarding, bikini making and more. The residents bring in their own garments and learn how to repair and alter them, bringing a newfound confidence to themselves and their bodies. And they learn about sustainable upcycling using materials from the Lotus House Thrift Store in Wynwood and donate fabrics. The sessions culminate in a runway show and photoshoot where Lotus House guests model self-styled outfits along with their own upcycled garments.
Lotus House’s mission is to advocate on behalf of women, youth and children experiencing homelessness, to raise awareness of their special needs; inspire innovative, holistic solutions that truly break the cycle of childhood abuse, domestic violence and homelessness; and advance service driven research and enlightened public and social policies for greater understanding, social inclusion and resources for women and children experiencing homelessness.
Through these fashion design and sewing workshops, the women and youth experiencing homelessness gain confidence, life and trade skills and are empowered to envision themselves in new ways.
Funded by Miami, FL (March 2023)