Debbie Smith discusses the construction of heirloom textiles with campers.

Debbie Smith discusses the construction of heirloom textiles with campers.

Have you ever wondered how a sewing machine actually works or why quilts are warmer than blankets? Children from Natchitoches were pondering questions like these as they participated in NCPTT’s first “A Stitch in Time: Heritage for the 21st Century” sewing camp. On July 7-11, NCPTT offered the week long summer camp focusing on sewing heritage. The camp was offer for children ages 9-17.

The emphasis of the camp was to connect participants with skills commonly used in the past to create heirloom textiles. Twelve children immersed themselves in hand and machine sewing. They made cigar box sewing kits, needle books, pin cushions, pillowcases, quilts and comfort dolls. In addition to their new sewing skills, participants learned about changes in sewing technology – from early crank and treadle sewing machines to modern computerized ones. They studied embroidery methods used to decorate needle books, quilts and pillowcases. They also learned how to care for their family treasures. By creating modern versions of heirlooms, participants could connect to their own personal family stories.

Three instructors were employed to introduce and teach concepts such as: hand sewing, machine sewing, sewing safety as well as the history and preservation of needlework.

Campers discussed their creations during a public reception on the final day.

Campers discussed their creations during a public reception on the final day.

Participants attended regularly and completed all of the projects. One participant said, “I thought this camp would be boring but it is fun”. Many participants came to camp early eager to work on their projects.

NCPTT plans to repeat “A Stitch in Time: Heritage for the 21st Century,” in the July of 2015. Check our website in the Spring for more details.

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