Apparel, Fashion & Retail | News & Insights

Immanuel Baptist association is held together by the skills of its members

Published: October 16, 2021
Author: Manali bhanushali

Immanuel Baptist Church members Paula Kilgore, Janice Konemann, Margie Reynolds, Susie Ragsdale, Sharon Fisher, and Suzy Sweitzer have been meeting regularly for the last three years to make apparel and other things for those who need it. The remainder of the products on the tables have been wrapped and will be shipped to the Appalachian Mountains later this month. Sewings for Mission members had always known they were making a difference, but the full magnitude of it didn’t sink in until they saw a mission report from Haiti.

Despite the hundreds of garments Ragsdale and other Sewings for Missions members have contributed to, one one dress stuck out.
During their three years of collaboration, the ladies of Sewings for Mission have used their many skills to create clothing and other things for those who need it. Sewings for Missions, a mission of Immanuel Baptist Church, began when Janice Konemann announced an initiative to make cushion covers for Kosair Children’s Hospital after learning of the need while her grandson was there. “The Lord has truly blessed us with people bringing us fabrics, buttons, and elastic. “Fabric is incredibly costly to acquire,” Konemann explained. “When they realised we needed little T-shirts, they started bringing them in.” They find out you require it and show up with it. We’re at a loss for words. The Lord has been very generous to us.” According to Margie Reynolds, it is via these gifts that “someone who can’t engage in something might feel as if they’re a part of it.” And the group is spreading that goodness by making use of everything they receive in some way. Excess fabric is wrapped around thread, scissors, pins, and stitches for sewing kits that are placed in Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.

Jump ropes made from old T-shirts will also be placed in the shoeboxes. Bags are made from old garments or textiles fashioned with their own patchwork or doll patterns. They’re manufacturing burp pads and receiving blankets for the first time, “just because someone brought us in the materials,” Konemann explained.
However, most of their work is on children’s clothing, including sweaters, dresses, tops, pants, capes, nightgowns, vests, hooded shirts, lounge pants, shorts, and skirts. T-shirts are combined with pants and shorts, so that each child receives a top and bottom when possible.

“Whatever we have, we find a way to make something out of it.” “There are a few items that come in that are difficult to make a pair of trousers or a dress out of, but we can not let much go to waste,” said Konemann, who is known as the boss lady or the EMT when a sewing machine breaks down. Paula Kilgore, Sharon Fisher, Suzy Sweitzer, and Molly Frazier are the other members of Sewings for Missions. Each contributes a unique skill to the Immanuel Baptist Church basement, where the group meets on a monthly basis. Fisher is the stringer, threading elastic or ribbon through pants or pillowcase dresses and purses. Sweitzer works as a presser. The cutters are Kilgore and Frazier. The seamstresses are Konemann, Reynolds, and Ragsdale. Along with assisting others, the group spends time in community, something they missed after taking a year off due to COVID-19, including some stitching at leisure. “We sit here and talk and sew,” Konemann remarked, as Sweitzer pointed out that they all need tickets — notably Fisher, Konemann, Reynolds, and Ragsdale — at the rate they’re working.

Members of Sewings for Missions, however, have found the experience beneficial regardless of their background.

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