Life after Sew Simple: An alumni’s journey amidst COVID-19

Life after Sew Simple: An alumni’s journey amidst COVID-19
Cover Photo by Sladjana Karvounis

Paris (not her real name) joined our Sew Simple workshop at the start of the year. However, Paris and Elisa's paths crossed before the first session of the workshop even started.

Discussing the details of Sew Simple with her through WhatsApp, Elisa learnt that Paris was on a flight from France to Singapore and would be transiting through Doha. At the same time, Elisa was returning from the UK and would transit through Doha as well. It turns out that they were on the same flight! It seemed like a small coincidence at the time, and Elisa would never have realised how the theme of distance and closeness would resurface again, and again, on our journey with Paris.

Sew Simple meets Paris

Paris had been living in France for years and made frequent trips back to Singapore. The reason for crossing the skies was to take on the role of a caregiver for her ageing mother. It meant that she would have a month in Singapore this time, enough to attend all four sessions of Sew Simple. She saw the workshop as a chance to pick up a new skill set, to create a personal holder for the water bottle that she always carries with her.

Paris was a riot to have in the workshop. She reacted to everything so expressively and was always looking for a better and quicker way to do things. Unfortunately in sewing, sometimes the only method available is long and winding. When you hear squealing during the workshop, it was probably because Paris realised she made a mistake.

What made the sessions most memorable was her chemistry with our instructor, Auntie Kim Hua. Auntie Kim Hua peppers her instructions with a bit of English, but generally, she was most comfortable when speaking Mandarin. Paris, on the other hand, hadn't spoken Mandarin in a long while. The result? Their interactions were a mix of universal body language, broken English, broken Mandarin, along with a smattering of Chinese dialects.

Sewing masks in France

Paris homemade mask in France (flat)

Paris kept in contact even after she returned to France. The COVID-19 situation was rapidly worsening, and masks had become a necessity. It was during this period that her inquisitive nature during the workshops paid off. We were so impressed that she navigated the technicalities and figured out the kinks of sewing her mask on her own. 

Elisa recently received this message from Paris:
"Hello Elisa! Just wanted to write to thank you and teacher for the precious sewing class as I am practising what I have learnt as I sew the mask from home. Take care of yourself and lots of love to both you and teacher."

It really struck a chord.

Paris homemade mask in France (opened up)

We're glad that sewing for Paris went further than the workshop and had become an essential skill, especially during trying times. Moments like these help put in perspective the potential impact we each can have, and it keeps us going!

Sew Simple is temporarily on hiatus until the current COVID-19 situation settles down, and our Singapore government determines that it is safe for the community to gather again. Meanwhile, we wish you a safe and meaningful time at home with loved ones!

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