Sewing Seeds of LoveSewing truly is a life skill that enables us to help others while helping ourselves.
For the last 5 years, I have been living my dream. After sewing for over 30 years, I fulfilled my lifelong desire to open a sewing studio. Now I teach all types of sewing and quilting to students ranging in age from 8 to 108.
The studio is an extension of my family home. The walls are made of golden-colored cedar planks. Large windows wrap around the room, allowing much natural light to flood inside. While sewing, my students have a scenic view of lush trees and an old stone wall that runs throughout the property. In the morning, it’s typical to hear the birds chirping and see deer roaming within this wooded setting. If you were to peek into my studio, you would see smiling students engaged in creative activity and you would hear the purr of sewing machines at work. Those occupying the studio would be sipping warm cups of tea, and others would be ironing in rhythmic motion, as their laughter and conversation would fill the air. It’s an idyllic vision, I know.
This scene changed unexpectedly last year, though. All businesses were ordered closed to protect the safety of residents within my state, which was near the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic. I fully supported this decision, but my dream studio was no more.
Still, I kept in virtual contact with the sewing community and my students, and I began sewing masks for frontline workers and organizations in need. This turn of events also gave me time to think about our recent new world and the current state of sewing in the world. Anyone who has ever thought that sewing was not an important life skill, take note: Sewing enthusiasts far and wide have reached out to exercise their know-how in this crisis by creating masks for our communities and for frontline heroes.
Sewing truly is a life skill that enables us to help others while helping ourselves. It is therapeutic and functional. During this pandemic, many of us needed something to comfort and ground us. Nothing can do that better than the tactile joy of working with fabric. Sewing provides a way for us to relax and serves as a coping mechanism, helping us to feel useful, have a purpose, and be in control.
During our difficult days of the COVID-19 pandemic, creating masks became a needed service. Those who knew how to sew jumped in, including many of my students. Others decided this was the time to learn. It was my joy to help everyone navigate their sewing machines through cyber instructions, emails, and other forms of communication with today’s technology.
Together, this group of new and more experienced sewers created functional items. With thoughtful fabric choices, many masks also became works of art. Somehow, wearing a mask became less intimidating and elicited more smiles and less fear, as we could perceive the personalities of the people behind these masks. I have seen masks made of fabric prints of safari animals, puppies, and celestial stars—to uplift the spirits of others.
Although my studio remains closed for the time being, my sewing community remains alive and open. I am proud to be a part of this endearing group. Sewers are a cohesive group of creative souls. They are also a selfless bunch, paying good forward as they sew seeds of love—one mask at a time.
Renee Pasquale sews from Wappingers Falls, New York. Visit her website at