Traci Gillespie, a librarian at Swigert International School, lives so close to Swigert she can hear the school bell. With so many kids in the neighborhood, Gillespie decided to start a side business, Sew Creative, teaching kids to sew, both by hand and by machine.
“I teach them a skill, and then we do a project,” Gillespie explained. “I thought there would be more interest from the girls, but I actually had parents asking about enrolling their boys so I try to make it very open to both.”
Gillespie offers machine sewing for kids 8 and older and hand-sewing classes for kids 6 and older.
“I get a feel for the class and then base it (the project) on the class,” she said. “We’ll make a variety of stuff. The younger ones are too young to be on the machine if it’s not one-on-one. We did a doll and a kid’s skirt to wear in hand sewing. It could be by machine if an older child, or a child who has done it before.”
In winter camps, the children made lounge pants that everybody is wearing. They aren’t just for girls. In January, classes will start making tote bags, and summer classes will include drawstring bags and blankets. Gillespie provides the materials, and the children take their projects home with them.
“The first project sometimes is making coasters that they can give for presents, and we sometimes make stuffed animals,” Gillespie said. “I teach them to sew on buttons and other basics.
“It’s very relaxed. We have a good time,” she said. “They have to take their time and be patient. They all work on the same project, but they all have their unique style. It’s great to see that.”
Classes starting in January will include Mondays and Wednesdays from 4:15–5:15pm., Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4–5pm and 5:15–6:15pm. Swigert students can walk to Gillespie’s home from school with her. She will give them a snack and then the class will start. Classes aren’t limited to Swigert students. Each class accommodates only six children. Each student has a sewing machine to work on. Children also can attend weekend workshops for two hours on Saturday or Sunday.
“Right now we’re looking forward to summer,” Gillespie added. “We’re trying to think about summer camps when the project is a fashion class like putting together a skirt or embellishing a shirt, putting more design into it. We’re discussing patterns, and they may make their own pattern. It’s more about clothes.”
Parents can arrange private sewing parties for their children. “At a recent party, kids made a tooth fairy pillow that showed their personalities. The best thing was that one of the girls at the party lost her tooth that night.”
At Sip ’n Sew events for adults, Gillespie provides the wine while attendees chat and make a pillow.
Gillespie lives in Stapleton with her husband, John, and their two daughters, 5-year-old Julia and 9-year-old Avery.
For class information for children and adults, visit www.sewcreativestapleton.com. To contact Traci Gillespie, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 859.321.1817.