Community Activator Katie Hughes amongst some of the 20 sewing machines and overlockers donated to the Tahunanui Community Centre following a story in Nelson Weekly last month. Photo: Brittany Spencer.

‘Phenomenal’ response to call out for sewing machines


A shout-out for sewing machines from the Tahunanui Community Centre has led to a “phenomenal” response, allowing the centre to grow its sewing classes.

The call out was made a few weeks after a sewing course for beginners was established by Margie Norriss-Brown and Katie Hughes at the centre.

The demand for the course made the classes difficult to run on one or two machines, so Margie approached Nelson Weekly to see if it could put the word out for some unused sewing machines.

The response, she says, was “incredible”.

“We got so many. I couldn’t believe it and it was not just sewing machines either, we got an over locker, cotton, scissors, ironing boards and materials. We were delighted.”

Jacqui Irwin, of the Tahunanui Community Centre, says some of the machines were of top quality, meaning the sewing classes will have enough machines to cope with their “steady demand”.

“We had a phenomenal response, we thought if we got half a dozen it would be enough, but we got a lot more than that. It’s really exciting and it’s enabled us to use just the very best of those machines and allowed us to loan others out to families who don’t have a sewing machine.”

She says among the people who donated were people whose eyesight or hand mobility had deteriorated.

“One man, who had recently become widowed, donated his late wife’s machine and he got a real buzz out of knowing that it was something that was going to be well used.”

The sewing courses, which teach people the basics of sewing so they can repair and alter clothes, is now held twice every Tuesday and experienced sewers have come forward offering to mentor.

“It’s such a heart-warming thing to be able to put the word out and have people respond,” says Jacquie.

The Sew it Up classes are held twice every Tuesday. For more information, contact the Tahunanui Community Centre on 548 6036.