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Sewing for Success: One Stitch at a Time

    The stitches of “Sewing for Success” were first sewn when Robyn Newton embarked on a mission to teach the art of sewing to those eager to learn.

    While volunteering at Rotorua Curtain Bank, Robyn noticed the high number of curtains being brought in, both old and new, due to them not suiting the giver. Prompting her to take action, Robyn says, “I decided to teach anyone who wanted to join me and learn to sew, then hopefully they would go on to sew for themselves or create jobs or work for others.”

    A grant from Rotorua Trust facilitated the leasing of a dedicated studio space. Robyn describes how the studio was suggested by the Arawa Trust, who brought their first piece of equipment, an overlocker. The studio’s influence and abundant natural light create an ideal environment for sewing. This well-equipped space has become the hub for their operations and has already propelled four students to launch their own sewing businesses.

    “Joining the Threads of the Community” is a mission statement encapsulating the initiative’s commitment to empowering people through sewing. Those who join the program experience a transformation as they grasp the fundamentals of sewing, “it has proved itself in many ways. It has been very exciting how students have blossomed once they grasp the fundamentals of sewing,” says Robyn.

    Among success stories, one student is preparing for a professional photoshoot featuring their self-designed and sewn garments, while another is focused on showcasing a men’s clothing line on the runway. Spanning even further across the realms of sewing, Robyn describes how one student is venturing into the realm of sports bags, crafting them from repurposed vulcanised rubber.

    Looking ahead, Sewing for Success aims to continue its current progress. Robyn comments, “We are on track and making good progress. Our goal is to support even more students in building confidence and business skills while also promoting the consumption of New Zealand-made products.”

    The initiative strives to continue building students’ confidence and business acumen, all while promoting the consumption of New Zealand-made products.