5 reasons to love BK Sewing Collective

Amy working on her tote bag. Photos by Aulistar Mark.

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.

1. It’s free!

But we already said that. The sewing group meets every other Tuesday. (Schedule is available on the Brooklyn LaunchPad website.)

The fabric bin

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.

One member made this stuffed animal from scratch

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.

The Brooklyn Sewing Collective is located at The Brooklyn LaunchPad, 721 Franklin Ave., in Prospect Heights. Brooklyn Sewing Collective Facebook Group.


  1. Jgoslow

    It’s on the border – though depending on who you ask it’s either crown heights or prospect heights.  If you wanna be safe and give the neighborhood a shout-out, call it Crow Hill (it’s old name being re-birthed of late).

    • Aulistar Mark

      While I was there the group managed with just 3 to 4 machines functioning. They have around 6 machines that have been donated so far, but can’t give any promises on when they’ll all be in working condition. 

      Sharing is part of the communal experience though :)

  2. It’s Crown Heights.  This debate is insane.  And Crow Hill is not being re-birthed “as of late”, it’s a group of 10 people (at most) who for 25 years have been attempting to call it that.  

    Launch Pad is an amazing place run by amazing people.  

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