Afterschool Program Teaches Children the Lost Art of Sewing
A lost art for large segments of the population in the high-tech 21st century is sewing, but over the past six years Kim Mulcahy has been doing her part to change that trend.
Mulcahy is the founder of Sew Happy, a company she established in 2011 that has introduced elementary and middle school students to the joys of sewing and how it can be a practical, creative and highly cost-effective activity as well.
So, when a button falls off a shirt or there’s a small tear in a sleeve, there may be a new generation that won’t need to run to the tailor, but instead bring out the thread and needle and fix it themselves.
“Kids think you pay someone to do that,” Mulcahy said. “You see, that’s all wrong. It’s just a button, it’s not rocket science. You need to get the thread through the needle, right? But the way the things have gone, we think we pay somebody to do that.”
Entering this school year, Mulcahy has now organized afterschool sewing clubs in 67 public and private schools throughout Westchester and Fairfield counties, including Mount Kisco Elementary School, the Chappaqua School District elementary schools and World Cup Gymnastics. She has brought her program to a few schools in Manhattan as well. The program includes the basics of traditional sewing, from threading the needle to tying the knot and stitching.
Later this month she’s launching a new afterschool program in Mount Kisco – a sewing machine class for children 8 to 14 years old. The 90-minute class, which starts on Sept. 28, will run on Thursdays for 12 weeks (except for Thanksgiving Day) at the Mount Kisco Methodist Church, located at 300 E. Main St., starting at 4 p.m.
Mulcahy said she likes to cap her classes at 12 students, but will run the sewing machine class with as few as four children. It is $540 per student for the 12 sessions.
“We’re not cheap, but at the same time we’re not like hockey or dance or something,” she said.
Mulcahy never intended to open a sewing course company, but it grew out of circumstances. Several of her friends, who had never learned to sew, asked her to teach them. After that, an enterprising Mulcahy thought that maybe there was a market in offering sewing classes.
Most adults weren’t interested but Mulcahy was in for a bit of a surprise.
“I found that people were signing up their kids,” said Mulcahy, who learned to sew from her grandmother in her native England and fell in love with making her own clothes as a teenager. “They didn’t want to learn themselves.”
She approached the Milton School in Rye, where her daughter was enrolled at the time, and started her first afterschool club there in 2011. In the years since then it’s continued to grow. The expense of most of the school programs are picked up by the PTAs, she said.
In addition to the afterschool programs, Sew Happy offers individual workshops, private lessons and summer camp sewing programs.
For more information on the programs and classes offered, visit www.sewhappyusa.net.
Martin has more than 30 years experience covering local news in Westchester and Putnam counties, including a frequent focus on zoning and planning issues. He has been editor-in-chief of The Examiner since its inception in 2007. Read more from Martin’s editor-author bio here. Read Martin’s archived work here: https://www.theexaminernews.com/author/martin-wilbur2007/