Sharing Skills & Smiles: PPL’s First Sewing Class


PPL’s First Sewing Class at Canadian Terrace

The residents of PPL’s Canadian Terrace Apartments recently came together to celebrate the success of their first sewing program, a 14-session class taught by volunteer Ann Rhea. Ann brought significant expertise to the role through her past experiences as a tailor, the owner of a bridal design company, and a textiles instructor at MCTC and Hennepin Tech. After women in the building expressed interest in developing (or learning for the first time!) sewing skills to create and repair clothing for themselves and their families, PPL made it possible. Hodan Hassan, the building’s Services Coordinator, worked with the women of Canadian Terrace, Ann, and PPL’s volunteer program to set up a space, create lessons designed to meet the skill levels and interests of each group member, and bring in donated sewing machines, fabric, and tools from the community. Many of the residents are English language learners, so one woman would interpret while others used gestures and laughter to communicate, and they even taught Ann a few words of Somali.

The class was a great success! Residents learned all the skills necessary to make pillowcases and bags, and they also brought in their own clothing to re-hem and make minor repairs. Not only did the residents benefit from the skills they learned and the projects they created, but Ann was glad to have the opportunity to use her sewing skills for the benefit of others. As she noted, “The women I worked with are an incredible group. Their smiles, laughter, wonderful attitude and work ethics were totally rewarding. I have learned so much from them and have truly enjoyed every minute of it.”

sewing class

At the celebration, everyone enjoyed sambusas, tea and treats. They shared their projects and thanked Ann for teaching them skills they will continue to develop and use in daily life. A follow-up program is in the works for Fall 2016! As Ann said, “the sewing class we created together proves the importance of women from all backgrounds working together to find a common interest, and as a result, everyone’s life is enriched.”

Love to teach? Have a skill you’d like to share with our adult or youth residents?

Contact Volunteer Program Manager Julie Huck at 612-455-5111 / 

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