Kingsport Times News Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Community Sunday Stories

Sew Crazy works to meet community needs by hand

May 16th, 2014 11:00 am by Amanda Marsh

Sew Crazy works to meet community needs by hand

Each month, a group of selfless sewers gather together to create items needed by the community.

They quickly generated 200 mastectomy aprons for breast cancer patients and 90 stuffed animals for Woodridge Hospital. A new project is introduced at almost every meeting.

Donna Horowitz founded "Sew Crazy" almost four years ago. The name is more than a good pun, it's an identity.

"By trade I am a seamstress" Horowitz said. "It's kind of ingrained in me, an obsession. That's where the name came from."

Horowitz keeps a stock of donations in her home that range from rolls of fabric to stuffing, thread and used sewing machines. She combs through the items to determine what the next project will be, but sometimes Sew Crazy is asked to make certain items that are in low supply.

"We work solely from donations," Horowitz said. "We've been very fortunate, but I try to pass the word and let people know that anything they donate will be used, even the scraps."

Sew Crazy sets a small goal for itself with each new project, but seems to always exceed it, Horowitz said. It's not always about the number of items Sew Crazy donates, the quality and creativity matter, too.

"Anytime we make stuffed animals, each one comes alive with personalized buttons and trims," Horowitz said.

When Sew Crazy made wheelchair bags for the Crumley House, some quilted and embroidered them to create true works of art. The group uses bright, cheerful fabrics to fashion mastectomy aprons and they make colorful jumbo-sized stockings at Christmas.

Recently, Sew Crazy formed a partnership with another not-for-profit group that is responsible for the production of the outdoor drama "Liberty!" held at Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area in Elizabethton.

"They needed caps and don't have money to make them historically accurate," Horowitz said. "They had the fabric, just needed sewers."

Sew Crazy will make about 85 caps for the "Liberty!" production. Meanwhile, Horowitz is already planning for the next project.

In May and June, Sew Crazy will make infant burial gowns for premature babies.

"We tend to go from light-hearted to something serious and needed like this," Horowitz said. "It's a chance for us to reach out into a different community. Everything goes back to the mission statement."

When Horowitz started Sew Crazy, she was sure to form a mission for the group. It has helped them continually meet the needs of the community and touch people's lives.

"Our mission is two-fold -- education and giving back," Horowitz said. "We sew charitable items for our immediate area and we educate others to expand the love, passion and history of sewing for the next generation."

In following its mission to educate, Sew Crazy completed two sewing projects with local Girl Scout troops and has taught sewing classes at Girls Inc. of Kingsport.

Sew Crazy invites all ages and levels of sewists to join the group. Since Horowitz teaches sewing classes regularly, she is patient with new sewers and says almost every project offers tasks as simple as cutting patterns out of fabric.

"We have proven to become more than just a sewing group," Horowitz said. "We are a band of friends who fellowship and have become an important part of one another's lives.

Sew Crazy meets the third Saturday of each month from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, 201 E. Watauga Ave., in Johnson City. On occasion, meetings are held at other locations.

The group is free to join and attendance fluctuates from 10 to 15. Horowitz says Sew Crazy is very low key and has a wonderful potluck lunch at each meeting.

For more information about Sew Crazy, visit www.sew-crazy.org or call Donna Horowitz at 423-434-0424.

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