Friday, August 28, 2015

Sewing To Empower

Hello friends!

Today I want to reintroduce you to Jen, a.k.a. Daljeet, my lovely childhood friend who co-wrote that long-ago drafting series for children with me

Drafting Better

and whose own drafting and garment-making skill I cannot say enough of. 

This is the Jen who got me started in drafting and garment sewing at the tender age of 13 (as well as shoes, but that is another story for another day). This is also the same Jen with whom I go fabric and notion shopping in Singapore whenever we make a trip back to visit Mum and Dad, and whose impeccable Mandarin Dress was featured in the 2011 Fabric-by-Fabric One Yard Wonders book. 

And this is the Jen who lives in Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia, where she runs a custom-tailoring business, produces small-batch samples for designers and has a fashion line to her name.

This is also the Jen with whom, were we living in the same country, I'd co-author a drafting book someday. We'd talked about it, yes - a long time ago. But, you know, life and small children and education and business and sewing don't leave much time for writing, especially something as technical as drafting. Our minds dream things. . . but our hands change diapers. Motherhood is possessive that way.

But let me tell you briefly about Jen's latest labor of love - to set up a training and sewing workshop to teach foundational drafting and sewing. Her vision and goal: to equip and apprentice women in her community to sew for themselves and make a living with those skills. Upon completion of the relevant courses in her workshop, these students can do either of two things. One is to continue under her tutelage to learn intermediate skills. The other is to become a paid apprentice within her own company, or be referred for employment in other socially-conscious designing businesses in need of trained employees.

While this training "school" is open to all, some of the training spots are reserved as free opportunities to empower women-without-means to learn a skill that will potentially give them more options for employment and self-sustenance. Jen plans to work with orphanages, foster homes and other community institutions to nominate interested and suitable candidates for these opportunities.

She's started an Indiegogo (like Kickstarter) crowdsourcing campaign to fund this vision - you can read about it here. There you will find more info on this program, donation how-tos and other practical ways you can support her - donating drafting software or sewing machines, for instance. Please spread the the word for us!

Here is a link to her Facebook page, where she posts updates on her business and this newest venture. Thank you, all!


  1. That sounds amazing. What an incredible idea and what an incredible woman! Thank you for sharing and inspiring ^.^ I really hope this gets off the ground.

  2. Thank you for bringing this cause to my attention! This is such a worthwhile thing, and I got way more than I gave in terms of warm, fuzzy, good feelings this Friday!

  3. So exciting! When we lived in South America and Central America my mom taught a few women to sew and gave them sewing machines, and I know it transformed their lives.

  4. Our minds dream things. . . but our hands change diapers

  5. Wow, I wish I had a way to do this, because I have 3 sewing machines I would donate, these are ones I picked up at good will, so there not the prettiest, but they work, and I would love to give them to her cause.


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