A little about Sew TO Women's Collective
The Sew TO Women's Collective aims to support local women facing barriers to employment who can work from home and earn money. Our goal is to create long term, stable and fairly paid for the women of Thorncliffe and Flemingdon Park.
Empower and support local women in the community who can work from home and earn money.
Enhance their sewing, entrepreneurial, English language & other skills.
Provide an inclusive and welcoming physical and virtual meeting place for the community to create new friendships, gain income, learn new skills about sustainable refashioning, reusing and mindful sewing.
Support mental health in the community.
TNO-The Neighbourhood Organization has, for the last few years, been working to kick off a sewing collective. We had been thinking, preparing, and planning. The COVID19 crisis galvanized us into action.
TNO-The Neighbourhood Organization, in collaboration with the Thorncliffe Flemingdon Sustainable Sewing Group, Flemingdon Community Support Services, Cathy Richards Foundation and Green Neighbours Network launched the Sew TO Collective Community Mask Making Project in April 2020. The objective was to respond to the challenge by Michael Garron Hospital (MGH) for East Toronto sewers to make 1,000 masks per week. These face masks were intended to go to folks across Toronto to help communities stay healthy.
TNO’s Sew TO Collective made an initial commitment to donate 2,000 masks to MGH within four weeks and sewed and delivered over 3,000 masks to Michael Garron Hospital by May 2020. TNO also received fabric donations from textile stores, businesses and various individuals and groups. In the process, the project provided employment for 28 people during the crisis, diverted material from landfill, and supported the health of the community.
After the initial successful results, the group agreed to grow and expand the sewing initiative into an ongoing project called the Sew TO Women’s Collective. The sewers wanted to keep going. They could not stop! Just doing this project has brought great comfort to the sewers who are glad to be part of something bigger and brighter they wanted to continue to make a difference.
TNO and other partners —involved with the initial phase— now constitute the Sew TO Collective Advisory Committee. The committee regularly meets to help the sewers with marketing, capacity training and in streamlining the ordering and delivery system. The group also aims to connect the sewers with advisors who can help them to get ready to launch, review or provide feedback on their plans, and/or work with them to identify sources of capital.
Our materials are made from prewashed, previously loved, and generously donated fabrics. We reduce, reuse, & upcycle!