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High School Gratitude

March 6, 2009

I recently went through my boxes of fabric and patterns in the garage and filtered out 72 patterns to get rid of and a lot of great fabric – some really cool “vintage” stuff, if you call the 80s vintage these days. I couldn’t give this stuff away – literally. I tried. No one wanted it. Or so I thought, until my friend Mermaid suggested my local high school.

So I did.

I dropped off all the patterns today plus two large white garbage bags full of all kinds of fabric – cottons, home dec, knits, sheers, etc.

While I was there, I got a chance to talk with the sewing teacher. I was surprised at how young she was. I don’t know why I figured she’d be older, but she couldn’t have been more than 28. Anyway, she told me that yesterday she had received a call about the fabric and patterns (from my daughter, who I asked to do the footwork for me because I was working) and she told her class that someone was donating fabric and patterns and apparently her class was so excited, asking when they would get to see them.

They were all delighted to get this stuff. Seriously, delighted.

What I didn’t realize – maybe because I live in a nice suburban neighborhood and the houses surrounding the high school (not mine) are huge and affluent – is that these kids can’t afford the fabric and patterns. (I guess perhaps the “economy” impacts even the McMansions on the hill too.) When these kids were told about their class or projects, they’d ask the teacher, “Do you have any patterns? Do you have any fabric?”

Well, now they do. And if I can’t sell the rest of the “nice” fabric I have to sell, then it’s going straight there.

Moral of the story #1: If you have fabric that even your local sewing groups don’t want, consider donating to your local high school. They need it far more than someone who already has a stash. The high schools don’t have funds for a stash.

Moral of the story #2: When you (the generic you) hang on to stuff you’ll likely never use – or because you think maybe someday you will – you are depriving others of the joy and satisfaction of making use of whatever it is you are hoarding and you are depriving yourself of experiencing the gratification of witnessing someone else’s joy in the same things that give you joy.

Moral of the story #3: I’m going to give more stuff away more often. That felt really good today.

  1. Mary permalink
    March 7, 2009 6:15 am

    That’s really great Claire! It’s nice to know that the supplies are going to kids who are genuinely excited and it will help them develop a love of the sewing arts. I’m sure they were delighted to get the vintage stuff because retro is in and this is authentic fabric. I’m so glad that home ec is still being taught. I was afaraid it was a dying art that had been cut from the school budget.

  2. March 7, 2009 6:20 am

    Mary – it is exciting. I remember learning to sew in school, in England, and I took off from there. It probably is one of those things that will be first to be cut from the budget, but I’m going to do what I can on my end to support this school – even if my girls are 10 years past graduation age. Consider it my way of paying to use their track for walking/jogging! Hahaha.

  3. March 7, 2009 9:23 am

    Yay!! i have no doubt that the patterns and fabric will get used. teens can be so creative, making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. i need to go thru my stash and come up with a box for my local high school. so happy my suggestion made you and a school happy. 🙂

  4. March 7, 2009 10:23 am

    I keep meaning to do this…and then get stuck when I realize I’m not home during the day and no one is around on weekends. I will have to follow up and take a morning or afternoon off and get this accomplished! Thanks for reminding me!

  5. March 7, 2009 10:42 am

    In my area the high schools cut these programs long ago. As a teacher in public schools, I can assure you that even gifts of barely used pencils, paper clips and paper are real gifts. I recieved some of these things this year and now that our school’s budget has been ax murdered, I’m incredibly grateful. I would have been grateful anyway, but I am especially grateful now. Gifts like fabric and patterns really do help keep these programs going.

  6. March 7, 2009 10:47 am

    What a great reminder. Now I know what to do next time I clean out the cupboard (fabric cupboard that is). g

  7. March 7, 2009 1:05 pm

    First, I love the new blog look. Did WordPress finally get more designs? Or did you design the background.

    I love that you gave away all that fabric. I have been trying to give away some photo stuff and film and no on wants it. I’ll now think about a poorer high school. Thanks for the idea!

    • March 7, 2009 8:58 pm

      GG – I got the background from Cutest Blog on the Block and edited the CSS myself. I only wish I could have designed it myself!

  8. March 8, 2009 6:53 am

    That is so true. Never even thought about it like that! Good for you LM!!! Way to brighten someone else’s day!!

  9. March 8, 2009 8:10 pm

    Really? I wonder if I can spice mine up like this. Great job! And thanks for telling me how you did it.

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