While sewing has a craftsy, homespun appeal, it’s not as affordable as the Etsy army makes it seem. Before you even jump into the knitting craze (is knitting still trendy?), you can be out hundreds on a machine, classes and fabric, which tends to cost a whole lot more than complete outfits you buy at discount stores. Solving all of these problems is the Brooklyn Sewing Collective, a group for enthusiasts and amateurs alike that meets at Brooklyn LaunchPad on Franklin Avenue in (where is this people: Crown Heights or Prospect Heights?). Sewing can seem like a daunting task for those with a crushing fear of manual labor, but here, machines, instruction and materials are all free and the vibe is chill. Here are five more reasons why we think the collective is great.
But we already said that. The sewing group meets every other Tuesday. (Schedule is available on the Brooklyn LaunchPad website.)
2. The amenities
Brooklyn LaunchPad is a great venue in its own right, with lots of events beyond the Sewing Collective. It’s A/C-cooled in the summer, heated in the winter, offers free Wi-Fi and provides unique perks like a popcorn machine. If all the sewing builds up an appetite, the LaunchPad’s prime location on Franklin Ave. puts you within a block of neighborhood eateries like Dutch Boy Burger, Franklin Park, Sweet Basil, The Candy Rush and Chavela’s.
3. The equipment
You’re more than welcome to bring your own machine, but the group provides four donated for shared use. There are also bins of fabric for you to forage through.
For those a bit more advanced, the collective also has two sergers. For those not in the know, a serger is an overlock sewing machine that cuts the edges of the cloth as you feed through it. They are used for edging, hemming, and seaming, a good example being the stitching you find at the bottom of practically every t-shirt you own. These machines retail for $200 – $300 each.
4. The Expert Advice
Resident sewing guru Kate Schlieben also teaches a looming class at a private school on the Upper East Side, and teaches private knitting classes to children. She suggests beginners start off with simple projects like pillow cases, tote bags, or mending projects. If you have a question or need help threading a sewing machine she’s your gal.
5. The community
Ultimately the strength of the collective isn’t Kate, or the fact that it’s free, but rather the camaraderie between its members. If you feel you need constant hands-on instruction this is not the place to go, but if you’re crafty enough to figure some things out on your own with a helpful push, you too can join the collective.