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by Alexia Johnston

Sewing is back in vogue as younger South Canterbury residents take it up.

The number of people wanting to learn the craft has been growing in recent years as young mums, teenagers and primary school children sign up for classes across the district.

The Timaru Sewing Centre is among businesses offering classes, both during the day and in the evening.

However, demand was still so great it had prompted owner-operator Linda Butler to establish a Saturday morning class from this term.

“It just keeps increasing, the demand for dressmaking classes in particular,” she said.

“It is definitely still growing from last year.”

The growth was in people returning to the classes term after term and the flow of newcomers.

Adding the Saturday class had “dramatically” reduced the backlog of people wanting to join a class this term, but there were still waiting lists in terms 3 and 4.

“In term 3 overall we’ve got 13 in the back-up and in term 4 there’s about six.”

There were eight people in each class.

It was likely the store’s relocation to Stafford St last year had prompted more people to join the classes because they were offered on the ground floor, Ms Butler said.

Previously, students had to carry their sewing machines up a flight of stairs.

Sewing lessons had also been dropped from Timaru’s T-Tech education classes, further limiting the options available to young children, she said.

She had since added a holiday sewing class for children aged 12 or under to fill the void, which had so far proved popular, Ms Butler said.

Children taking part during the last holidays were taught how to make a small pouch with a zip.

“We want to do more of that for the coming term, during the school holidays, over three- to four-hour sessions,” she said.

“We just really want to encourage the next generation of sewers. Unfortunately, not all the schools are offering sewing, so it’s a gap we want to fill.”

The Pin Tin in Geraldine is also meeting a need among sewers.

Sewers – both learners and those more experienced – meet at the store for regular sessions.

Store owner Lisa Pilgrim said some of those people were confident sewers, who used the sessions to work in an environment with like-minded people.

Others wanted to learn more about the craft and build on their expertise.

Retail assistant Rhona Hartley said there was definitely a growing number of young mums who were getting into sewing for the benefit of their children.

While some were turning to YouTube for instant workshops, many were still visiting the shop for advice, Mrs Pilgrim said.

The resurgence of sewing was a sign of the times, she said.

“It’s an eco-friendly thing to be doing.”