A week of sewing for our blind veterans

12 January 2018 15:30

Did you know your ‘over locker’ from your ‘Singer’? Our sewing bee veterans certainly do after attending the recent Sewing Week at our Llandudno centre.

Six blind veterans at Sewing Week in our Brighton centre showing off  their snowmen designs
Carol on the left along with other blind veterans who attended the week.

Our blind veterans got the chance to learn the basics of machine sewing, discuss design ideas and create objects including stuffed snowmen, shopping bags and bottle covers. Along with this, our beneficiaries had a day trip to purchase all necessary supplies from the nearby Abakhan Fabrics for their own personal designs.

One of the blind veterans who attended the week was Carol Davies, 67, from Skegness. Carol hadn’t sewed for over 50 years: “I haven’t sewed since I was at school when you worked the sewing machines by hand.”

“I’m not one for sewing, knitting or stuff that keeps me still for very long because I’m a blind veteran bowman. I do archery and I like outdoorsy stuff, but I thought I would try something new. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it actually.”

Decorative shopping bag made by blind veteran Carol Davies at Sewing Week
A shopping bag, designed by blind veteran Brian Bailey and stitched by Carol during the week.

At the beginning of the week, Carol learnt how to thread the machine: “An Art and Craft Instructor sat with me for ages as I can’t see what I’m doing and it was brilliant. At the end of it I could thread the sewing machine and fill a bobbin up, using really close magnification.”

Photo of two lady blind veterans at sewing week holding their snowmen designs

As well as being creative and learning new techniques, Carol says another highlight of the week was meeting new people. “It’s great interacting with the other people. It’s just the banter you know, it was good fun. We had a laugh.”

“You’re meeting nice people and listening to some of their stories. You talk about your background and your life which I find is really interesting.”

Decorative shopping bags made by blind veteran, Carol Davies, at Sewing Week.
Glittery bags designed by blind veteran, Wendy Kane.

Putting the skills acquired to good use, Carol hopes to start making chest guards for archers, using a machine at home. As she is the Secretary of the British Blind Sport Archery, she will have the opportunity to sell these online at a cheaper retail price. Reflecting on the week overall, Carol says: “I really enjoyed it and I’m hoping to go back for another course so I can learn the ‘overlocker’.”

Decorative snowmen made by blind veterans at Sewing Week

Carol usually visits our Brighton centre three times a year to take part in archery, a sport she loves. One of those occasions will be next month followed by summer visits in June and August. A beneficiary of our charity since 2009, Carol says Blind Veterans UK “makes a real big difference to your life”.

“It’s an amazing charity and it’s a really good support. It’s like being part of an extended family. You meet people and make a lot of good friends but all of it wouldn’t be possible without all the staff who work so hard.”