11 Oct Learning How to Sew Blind
A blind person learning how to sew puts a new spin on the term blind stitch. I want all my students to learn to sew but it really is up to the individual. If they want to do anything, I want to find a way for them to do it. Astonishingly, I have had many students who want to learn to sew. Therefore, to set up a class, I went through lots of legwork and work and work and there will be more work in getting permission for this, but it is worth it. A class is set up where I teach the students adaptive methods.
We start with needle and thread. You can get a self-threading needle at any fabric store or online (go to self-threading needle). They made these special needles for people who had difficulty putting thread through the eye of a needle. Well, they are perfect for anyone who cannot see. Use a thimble at first also, so the child can poke the needle through the material and be able to feel the needle coming through without drawing blood on the other side. They will get to the point where the thimble is no longer needed, but to begin with, is a great tool. The basics are learning how to hem pants and sew on buttons. For practice, we take a piece of fabric and just start sewing buttons on, then when they are ready they usually have buttons they need re-sewn on their own clothes. The lesson allows them to now be able to fix their clothes.
Then we move onto the sewing machine. You can go to any sewing store and also buy a needle threader, which enables the blind person to easily thread their own needle–you can get one the size of a dime and very inexpensive to very fancy, costing much more, all work well. Next, I braille a large 11 x11 paper with lines from top to bottom: The student practices putting the sheet of paper in the sewing machine and lining up the braille line with the needle. They practice sewing the braille line repeatedly until they can sew a straight line. It does not take long. Once they have mastered that, we move onto material and a pattern. Depending on capability, it may be pillows or a skirt or vest pattern. They gain enough skills so they know if something rips, they can at least repair it.
I have had girls go onto jewelry making and design, making beautiful beaded necklaces' and bracelets. It is all a matter of attitude. If you want to do it, there is a way.