At Make Mee Studio we love living and working in Lewisham, and we’re passionate about getting everyone sewing and creating. You’ll often find us out and about in the community running events and workshops for adults and children within the borough. Running more projects in the community has been something we’ve wanted to do but often funding, resources, and time have been barriers to getting involved.

In 2018, we met 999 Club CEO Tim Fallon at a Responsible Business Week Community Conversation, run by Lewisham Local. Hearing about the work 999 Club do cemented the thoughts we had that a sewing workshop could be beneficial to the homeless service users, through mending and the therapeutic qualities of sewing and crafting. We decided to volunteer at the shelter to see if it is something people would be interested in doing regularly.

Tell us more!

The sewing and creative sessions happen every month at the 999 club, with the aim to give people a chance to learn something new, have a creative outlet and also fix or repair things that are broken.

We take along a sewing machine, equipment and some ideas for projects for people to make from scratch.  It’s quite an open session that is accessible to different abilities, from complete beginners to experienced sewers. Sometimes attendees will join with items that need repairing which we help with, or others want to make new items from the ideas we’ve brought along. We’ve got a lovely selection of  fabrics that have been donated that we use for the workshops, but we are always on the lookout for more!

We’ve been running almost monthly since last June. It’s often a mix of people who have been before and are keen to come back and make something new as new attendees, who are new to the shelter.

What are you most proud of?
It’s amazing to give people who have never even threaded a needle before the chance to be creative, make something with their hands and leave with a useful finished product. One of the regulars who has been to multiple sessions is a  lovely lady called Irene who is a fashion designer. She loves being creative and chatting about sewing and helps others too.

What do the attendees say about the sessions?

It’s amazing to receive the feedback on the sessions and see that it makes people feel good about themselves as well as the social aspects.
I came today because:

Depressed and trying to focus”

To do something for fun/quick/easy (enjoyment).”

Learn something new.”

I enjoyed the session because::

  • Interesting activity.  I am very isolated and used to do singing workshops, but haven’t done them for 4 years.  So I was happy to be part of a group. It reduced my isolation, sewing and talking to people.
  • “Relaxed/easy to see the task could be complete.”
  • Having fun.  I learned how to use a sewing machine.”
  • “Speaking with others”
  • “I feel really good.  I feel elated. I feel proud—this is the 2nd bag I’ve made.  I feel so good inside. Really happy.”

What will you do in the future?

It would be amazing if we could find funding for a bigger project if that is something the service users and 999 club would like to do. Perhaps working on a professional skills training or a larger creative project. We’d also like to work with other groups within Lewisham.

What advice do you have for other businesses wanting to give back to the community?

Just go for it! Tell everyone, bounce ideas around, ask questions and get out there and see who and where might be a good fit for your organisation. It’s something we’ve wanted to do from the outset of Make Mee Studio and we weren’t sure how to get involved, how to fund projects (something we’re still working on!) and who would benefit from it. But the more people you meet and talk to, the more you find out and things fall into place.

Jaime – Make Mee Studio co-founder

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