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Sewing for Social Inclusion - Croatian participants' perspective

Between 15th and 23rd November 2021, in a small Polish village called Murzasichle, an enthusiastic group of young people from all over Europe gathered to participate in a training course called "Sewing for social inclusion". Also, among them, four of us were from Croatia. :)

During the training, we had the opportunity to learn the basics of sewing, upcycling, and making creative projects, all in the context of social inclusion. The education was divided into two main parts - the theoretical part about social inclusion, in which we learned about using various methods - discussions, presentations, acting and games; and a practical part, where we had the opportunity to learn the basics of sewing and even make our own, tangible product. That part of the project was also our favorite part. We started relatively modestly, dividing into two groups - total beginners who have never seen a sewing machine in their life and those who know the basics. Along with the organizers, those who knew the basics helped the other participants learn how the sewing machine works, how to operate it, how to thread the thread, how to fix basic problems, and some safety basics - so that our fingers do not become part of the sewing creations.

Armed with basic knowledge, we started to create the main project according to the template of the education leader - a drawstring bag. One of the goals of the training was for each participant to successfully make their own bag according to the template. One of the goals of the training was that each participant will successfully make their own bag according to the template. That goal seemed very distant to us at the beginning. However, the enthusiasm that soon arose among all of us resulted not only in the fact that each of us had his/her own bag, but also that most of us decided to go above and beyond and incorporate our own creativity into the design, so that in the end, no two bags looked the same. The previously mentioned "upcycling" was involved in the whole story as the source of the materials we worked with. Before our arrival, the organizers of the education contacted local trades that work with various types of fabric (tailors, furniture upholstery, etc.) and took over from them the remains of materials that would otherwise end up as trash.

Compared to most of the training courses we participated in, this one definitely stood out for its practicality because we had the opportunity to learn a skill that is also useful in our private life, and we also learned how much work is behind each piece of clothing we wear. The special feature of this training was the enthusiasm that manifested itself in the fact that many sewed their own projects and experimented every day until late at night, far beyond the official end of the day. Those who have participated in any Erasmus+ project know that it is not the usual "program" after dinner and the official end of the day.

Along with sewing, sewing and even more sewing (!), we also managed to find some time to take pictures of our creations, so in the following photos you can see what we did. Oh, and also, we had a private fashion show wearing our extra pieces we made through the week, along with pieces bought in Polish second hand shops we visited or which we got in a clothes swap event organized as a project activity - both promoting sustainability in fashion, in the spirit of the whole project. It was a pretty cool and dramatic showcase where we had the opportunity to walk the runway like real models and at the same time, proud designers. We can say that the project "Sew the future" will definitely be sewn in our hearts forever. :)

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