Sew Much Love

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Ginny Anthony

The Unexpected Ways that Sewing Brings People Together 

By Kerry Baldwin

I recently sat down with Ginny Anthony, the founder of Sew Much Love, to talk about the history of the group.

It was 2019 when Ginny had an idea. “I read something about a group that was making clothes for little girls and sending them overseas and I thought, why can’t we do this but keep them in our own community?”

“I had a lot of fabric and I thought I’ve got to do something useful with it.” Ginny had a conversation with Fr. Joe, receiving permission to start a new group at Our Saviour and then went to the Mandarin Food Bank to see if they could use the clothes. “They said ‘most definitely’ and that’s how we got started.”

Initially, it was difficult to find members but Ginny put out the word at the San Juan del Rio Catholic Church and two people joined, Kathleen Pendley and Mary Ausley. Other members from Our Saviour included Nelle Walker and author Kerry Baldwin. “So we had 5 people and we were turning out clothes.” 

“Kerry, you came when we needed you the most but it was so funny because you didn’t even know how to thread a sewing machine!”   

That was true. I purchased a sewing machine years prior but I didn’t know how to use it. I started my “practice retirement” in the spring of 2019 and told myself I was finally going to learn. When I saw the announcement in the church bulletin, the timing felt perfect and I was thrilled to be doing this for little girls.  

People think they need to be experienced to join Sew Much Love but I was not at all. Ginny and the rest of the crew taught me a lot and I knew I was starting to do well when Ginny stopped yelling at me. 

Having members from another church has been rewarding too.

Both Kathleen and Mary love coming to Our Saviour on the Friday mornings that the group meets. For them, the kitchen of the FLC has become their sewing home away from home. Per Mary, “You can tell that this place has been filled with so much love over the years. It is so peaceful here - you can actually feel the Holy Spirit seeping out of the ground. I just love coming here.” 

Kathleen remembers seeing the announcement for Sew Much Love in her church’s bulletin. “I sent an email to Ginny and when she called me back she said “We would love for you to join our delightful little ministry!” and I thought “I want to do something delightful!” so I joined. 

Kathleen has been an integral part of the Sew Much Love group and a friend to Our Saviour ever since. As a former educator and excellent seamstress, she was a huge asset volunteering in the sewing room during the 2022 Created for a Purpose, helping to keep the kids, and Kerry, in line. 

Sometimes sewing brings unexpected inspiration.

Brothers Glenn and Mark Davis recently said goodbye to their elderly mother, Dot Davis, who was a former member at the Church of Our Saviour. After a funeral in late September, the brothers got to work deciding what to do with her effects - an entire household of memories. One of Dot’s passions in life was sewing and she had a room dedicated to the craft, filled with fabric, lace, trims, zippers, etc. Glenn reached out to Our Saviour and was connected with Kerry to see if the Sew Much Love ministry could use any of the items. 

After meeting with Glenn and Mark and identifying an SUV-full load of donations, unassuming Glenn remarked at how happy he was that his mother’s things would be put to great use through ministry. “You can’t see it but I am actually jumping up and down inside right now!” 

Dot’s fabric, trims, buttons, and lace included a fair amount of Christmas-related items prompting the Good Lord’s message to Kerry: “Use Dot’s things to make Christmas ornaments for visitors to the Live Nativity so that her legacy can live on throughout Mandarin! 

And so, the Sew Much Love group, including our newest members (Diana, Shelly, Gillian, Marcia, Mary Ellen, and Antonella) will be shifting the next few weeks from clothing to Christmas ornaments thanks to Dot, her sons, some inspiration, and perhaps a little bit of Christmas magic!

If you would like to learn more about joining or supporting Sew Much Love, contact Kerry Baldwin at kerrycbaldwin@netscape.net.

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