FabMo Profiles - Marge & Grateful Garment
Our mission at FabMo is to keep valuable materials out of the landfill and to make them available to the creative community for reuse. In a series of blogs we’ll bring you stories about members of our community who use FabMo materials to help and support individuals and other organizations with what they create.
Marge Gordon - FabMo Volunteer Coordinator and Tireless Sewist for Grateful Garment
We couldn’t start with a better example of impactful work than what our Volunteer Coordinator Marge Gordon is doing with her team, FabMo materials, private donations, occasionally her own money and many, many an hour of quality time spent with her sewing machine.
Read on to learn how Marge supports Grateful Garment one pair of pants, one tunic top and one blanket at a time.
And, by the way, as a first ever for a FabMo blog, I recorded the interview I did with Marge and made a podcast out of it. Don’t ask how many hours it took me to download and relearn the software, cut and slice and edit and adjust volumes - but now that it’s done, I hope you’ll give it a listen and enjoy it.
It’s not a fun, cheery cause Marge is dedicating her time, passion and substantial energy to, but an incredibly important and often overlooked one. When rape victims seek medical attention and evidence for rape kits is collected, the victims have to surrender their clothing. The traumatized victims now have no other clothing than the gowns provided by the clinic which tend to be made from paper. Imaging going home after being raped, traumatized and wearing nothing but a paper gown. Adding insult to injury doesn’t begin to describe the humiliation the victims must feel.
This is where Grateful Garment comes in: the not-for-profit provides sexual assault victims across 45 California counties with outfits that they can wear to go home.
From Fabric Puzzles to Garments for Rape Victims
Marge got involved with Grateful Garment because she had a problem to solve: at FabMo we occasionally get unfinished garments that somebody started and never finished and it became Marge’s job to take these “fabric puzzles” home and to finish them. 27 finished outfits later Marge started to wonder what she should do with them. A fashion show at the senior center only temporarily addressed the issue - the 27 outfits came back and Marge faced the same question. What to do with them?
Another FabMo volunteer suggested she check out Grateful Garment. The rest is, as they say, history. Once Marge discovered what Grateful Garment does, she not only found a home for the 27 completed outfits but also started sewing more.
The SewMo Team
What started as a solitary effort expanded soon and now Marge has a team of eight women who sew for Grateful Garment regularly. Once a months they meet at FabMo - the event is called SewMo - to make simple tunic tops and pull on pants.
But it doesn’t stop there. Some of the women take back homework and continue sewing at home. The monthly output is now at 30 outfits and counting.
Tops and pants aren’t the only things that are needed, one woman on Marge’s team makes tote bags so the recipients of their clothing donations have something to carry their stuff in, a couple others make small zippered pouches for the medication people receive.
Then the founder of Grateful Garment Lisa Blanchard reached out to Marge about another dire need: when police breaks up sex rings and rescue the victims, sometimes children, these poor kids have nothing and nowhere to go. Grateful Garments provides them with a blanket, pillow, a backpack, toiletries and pajamas. So Marge got into making blankets as well.
It is deeply saddening and sickening at the same time to face the reality that it is necessary to sew outfits and blankets for sexually abused kids, yet, this happens and Marge and her team do what they can to provide help and comfort by adorning the blanket with a pretty detail or carefully putting finishing touches on the little pouches they make. Something to let the victims know that they are loved and not forgotten.
Everybody Can Get involved
If this blog got your attention and you want to help out: please do not hesitate. You don’t need to be an expert sewer, in fact, some of the women now working with Marge had never done any sewing before they joined. Marge will teach you!
Or if you are like me and like making stuff but every last friend and family member already has a handmade tote bag and a bunch of zippered pouches - please don’t stop making them, but make them for Grateful Garment.
To make this super-easy for you: here is Marge’s email, she asked me to provide it so people can reach out directly and get in touch with her.
Marge’s email: firstname.lastname@example.org - and yes, it is ymail, not gmail, I double-checked
And now, please excuse me, I have to go digging through the garage, there must be a box somewhere with more pouches that I can give Marge. But before I go:
here is the link to the Grateful Garment webpage
and here is the link to the direct download link for the interview is here and the Permalink is here. The interview is about 20 minutes and you can listen to it while cutting some fabric for tote bags :-) (to come shortly)