As part of the Making in Michigan Libraries project, we’ve been traveling the state of Michigan this summer for multi-day professional development workshops. On the evening of the second day of the workshop, we host a small MakerFest in the library. We have some variation in what we bring to each workshop. Lately, we’ve had a sewing machine at MakerFest, and we’ve noticed some really interesting things happening:
- This finding isn’t new, but it remains consistent over the years: boys and girls visit the sewing machine in equal ratios. Sewing a bean bag — our gateway activity — welcomes kids of both genders.
- Moms often talk to their kids about how there is an unused (or, in one case, a never-opened Mother’s Day gift!) sewing machine at home that they’ll need to get out to keep the sewing going.
- Moms occasionally sew alongside their children, waiting in line for their turn at the sewing machine. (Dads do not.)
- In one town, one of my teammates overheard a mother saying something like, “My mom sewed but never taught me.”
- With some parents, conversations start about how someone sewed clothing for them when they were growing up. We realize that there was a time when sewing one’s clothes was less expensive than buying new.
What I’m starting to realize is that the sewing machine represents more than a new machine to explore. It’s a station that connects people back to their families.
What in your space provokes family stories?
Image: “Sewing Machine Precision” by venturaartist on Pixabay.com. Public domain.