New instructor leads Yesler sewing program

By Thesvy Cashen

Seattle Colleges

A steady whirring mechanical noise fills the air of the community room at Yesler’s Epstein Opportunity Center each Wednesday and Friday as the

Camille Steen

Camille Steen

Industrial Sewing Class is once again in progress.
Shiny sewing machines and fabric are spread along the tables facing the large bank of windows overlooking Fir Street. Despite the construction work and other outside distractions, the students are totally focused on the sewing tasks in front of them.
These students have joined the free Industrial Sewing Class which provides an introduction to working in the professional garment industry. Students in the class receive the following:
Hands-on training in sewing methods
Practice speaking English as a second language
Exposure to a workplace setting
Assignments that help build a portfolio for showing at job interviews
A certificate of completion from Seattle Colleges
The sewing program was established by the Seattle Housing Authority in 2014 in partnership with Seattle Colleges. Over 70 residents have participated — many have applied their sewing skills to benefit themselves financially.
Deborah Vandermar was the program’s Instructor and Curriculum Developer until January 2018; she now holds the position of Executive Director of the Makers Coalition. Despite her new position she remains vested in the ongoing success of the students in the Industrial Sewing Class.
Camille Steen replaced Deborah as the program’s new instructor. She has extensive experience as a designer and product development specialist for several sewn products companies in Seattle and is the co-author of the textbook, “Technical Sourcebook for Designers.”
Those who are interested in participating may visit the Epstein Opportunity Center, 120 8th Ave, on Wednesdays or Fridays between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., email or call 206-355-6712 for more information.


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