project leader
Emily R
(Garfield Park)
latest update rss
A Long Overdue Update

the project

Community Fabric believes everyone needs a creative outlet, no matter who they are or where they live. We're a newly formed nonprofit that offers sewing classes to youth in and around Chicago's East and West Garfield Park. We're starting small with a pop-up sewing workshop for up to 10 kids on Saturday, September 16th. The participants will learn sewing basics and walk away with a garment they've created themselves. 

I have a simple website set up for kids to enroll:

If all goes well, we'll offer these workshops regularly. We'd love to eventually open a community space for kids and adults that offers daily open shop hours in addition to classes in knitting, macrame, screenprinting, weaving, quilting, and more.

the steps

Step 1: Reserve a room (ideally for free).

Step 2: Purchase sewing machines, fabric, patterns, and supplies (donations welcome!).

Step 3: Find up to 10 kids who want to sew.

Step 4: Rope in some adult volunteers.

Step 5: Buy food.

Step 6: Sew! 


why we're doing it

Hi, I'm Emily. I created Community Fabric because I want to share my love of sewing with others. You learn a lot about yourself sitting in front of a sewing machine. Sewing encourages you to think about the story your clothing tells about you, why you're telling that story, and what other stories you might want to tell. It connects you to people all over the world and to people many generations back. It builds up your grit. It teaches you to notice tiny details. It occasionally makes you do math. It sometimes makes you scream. It often tricks you into meditating. It convinces you that with a little research and a lot of trial and error, you can figure out just about anything.

Community Fabric exists to help others experience all of this, particularly people who might not otherwise have the opportunity due to cost or other constraints. 


Disbursed budget (9.18.17):

RAISED = $1,465.00
less ioby Platform Fee  $35.00
less ioby Fiscal Sponsorship Fee (5%) $66.20
less ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $39.72

Original budget:

Breakfast and lunch for each kid: $200 ($20 x 10)

2 yards of fabric per kid: $200 ($20 x 10)

Sewing machines: $200 ($100 x 2)

Sewing pattern per kid: $100 ($10 x 10) 

Tools (scissors, fabric pen, measuring tape, pins): $100 ($10 x 10)

Project Subtotal =  $800
ioby Platform Fee  $35
ioby Fiscal Sponsorship Fee (5%) $40
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $24
Total to Raise on ioby = $899





A Long Overdue Update

Hi Everyone, 

The sewing is finally happening! After struggling to find a venue for a several weeks, I connected with the after school program at Breakthrough Urban Ministries in East Garfield Park, and they invited me to be part of their program. Starting this week, I'll be teaching sewing on Tuesdays and Thursdays through the end of the year. The organization has nine sewing machines for the kids to use, which is surprising and amazing, so I'll be using the ioby funds to purchase fabric and sewing patterns for now. I'll use the rest for future sewing workshops. More updates to come soon. Thank you for making all of this possible!




Serious Gratitude and What's Next

I have serious gratitude for all 17 of you who have gotten me more than two-thirds of the way to my fundraising goal and helped me meet my "friends and family" goal of 15 donations before I share the effort far and wide. Expect more hugs than normal when I see you next. 

New shout outs to: Anonymous 3, Becker, Stanley R. (hi dad!), Tina, Geoff Smith, and Liz C. Thank you thank you thank you.

My next step is to introduce the fundraiser on Facebook. If you have time, please share my post on your feed. It will be more powerful if you add a note about how you know me, why you donated, and why you think others should give. I've been coached to be direct and ask for specific actions, so I'm sharing that piece of advice with you. :) Obviously, share on Facebook in whatever way you wish, which may be not at all.  

In terms of the workshop itself, I'm working on securing a location in Garfield Park. I had my heart set on the Garfield Park Fieldhouse, but they want $130 per hour for a space, so that's out. Garfield Park Conservatory has meeting spaces, so I'll try them next. If you have other ideas on locations, please let me know. I plan to also try the Nichols Tower in Homan Square, but that's not very CTA friendly and not in Garfield Park. 

I also have feelers out for sewing machines. I have ISO posts on CraigsList and Nextdoor (thanks for the tip, Gretchen!), and I have reached out to some people selling their machines to see if they would consider lowering their price or donate them to me. No bites yet, but it's early.

I'll keep you posted as the workshop takes more shape.

Again, thank you for your help and support! 








I Can't Stop Smiling

In less than 24 hours you brought me nearly halfway to my fundraising goal. Thank you, thank you, thank you:





Anonymous 1 


Colleen & Pip

Anonymous 2 




This is where photos will go once we build flickr integration


  • Viki Van Arsdale
  • Barbara French
  • Helen Robinson
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Marissa
  • kate keleman
  • Amy See
  • Anonymous
  • Mashelle T.
  • Stephanie M.
  • Marcella
  • Molly F.
  • Eileen and Tim Clark
  • Ali
  • Kristen
  • High school track teammate :)
  • Kristina Saccone
  • Sarah L
  • Neil Dixon Smith
  • Melissa A Ulbricht
  • Ashlee
  • Anonymous
  • Bob Z
  • Anonymous
  • Michael Halpern
  • Liz C
  • Geoff Smith
  • Tina
  • Stanley R.
  • Becker
  • Anonymous
  • Colleen Egan
  • Jessica Miller
  • Anonymous
  • Colleen & Pip
  • Hillary
  • Anonymous
  • Gretchen
  • David
  • Lee D.
  • Jeff W.
  • Christina Webb - ioby!