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Observed each year on June 13, National Sewing Machine Day is day set aside to commemorate the invention of the sewing machine. Allowing for increased efficiency and productivity, Gandhi himself even called it “one of the few useful things ever invented.” Officially patented by Stephen Singer in 1851, the invention fundamentally changed the production of clothing so much that it's difficult to imagine a time when everything was sewed by hand.

While it may no longer be a necessity, sewing can be quite the social activity. Join us for a free program at one of our library locations and spend some time working on a project of your own under the guidance of an instructor. From Sewing 101 at the Pemberton Library to I Sewed It!, at the Delanco Public Library, these programs cater to various age ranges and experience levels.

Recently, we talked with Marsha Rodan who leads a sewing program held at the Burlington County Library. Originally, sewing was not her hobby. “My mother thought I didn’t have the patience,” Marsha said lightheartedly. However, as she gained more experience with the craft, she not only discovered sewing was her thing, but recalls wanting to use her skills to help others. “I taught my kids how to sew, and hope to one day teach my grandchildren,” she said.

Now, Marsha leads Sewing With Marsha, a sewing program held intermittently at the Burlington County Library. The three-hour program is a great opportunity for adults to come to the library and work on projects. “We do table runners, bags, pillow wreaths…” Marsha said. For those not as experienced with sewing, she also teaches fundamentals, such as straight stitching and threading a machine.

In addition to lending itself to home decor, Marsha’s program also helps those in need. Recently, participants in her program designed and sewed a variety of pillowcases to donate to a local children’s hospital. “They loved that project,” she said. “Most of them took their pillowcases home in order to work on them.” For those who participated, the project was a fantastic opportunity to not only refine their basic sewing skills, but to give back to the community.

To learn about upcoming sewing programs at BCLS, check out the events calendar. The library system also has a variety of books about hand sewing, machine sewing and other crafts available! Check out some of our titles below.