American Sewing Guild Provides Fellowship and Fun

by | Apr 2024

Stitch and Chat Woodbury welcomes East Metro residents to discuss their latest projects and feel inspired to create a new one.

Stitch and Chat Woodbury welcomes East Metro residents to discuss their latest projects and feel inspired to create a new one. Photo: Chris Emeott

Brenda Oseland has been sewing since she was 8 years old, but the Stillwater resident never found friends that shared her enthusiasm for sewing until she joined the American Sewing Guild (ASG). “I needed to find my tribe,” Oseland says. “I certainly found my people at ASG.”

Oseland has been a member of the Minneapolis-St. Paul Chapter of the ASG for 15 years. The ASG is a national organization of sewing enthusiasts that provides opportunities for activities, communication and networking surrounding sewing. In addition to the national organization, there are local chapters, neighborhood groups and specialty groups. The Minneapolis/St. Paul Chapter is one of the nation’s largest ASG chapters; within that chapter are 14 neighborhood groups including the Stitch and Chat Woodbury, which Oseland has been a member of since its inception.

Pam Zimmerman is the leader of all of the Twin Cities neighborhood groups, including the Stitch and Chat Woodbury group. She learned about the group from a local sewing shop seven years ago. “I went, and I really liked the group,” she says. “They welcomed me.”

Stitch and Chat Woodbury meets the third Friday of every month at Jerry’s Foods on Hargis Parkway. There, members work on their individual projects, pick up tips and tricks, learn new techniques and make lifelong friends along the way. The group has around 25 members ranging in age from their 30s to their 80s. “We’ve expanded a lot in the last year,” Zimmerman says.

The diversity of the group is a great asset. There are garment makers, quilters, embroiderers, bag makers and upcyclers among their group members. With everyone bringing different interests and skills to the table, the group is an excellent resource for those looking to learn something new, solve a problem or take their own projects to the next level.

Meetings often feature a Show and Tell segment, where members can highlight their current sewing project. “It’s very inspirational,” Zimmerman says. “You get to see a lot of what people are working on.”

All abilities are welcome, but Zimmerman says it helps to have some basic sewing skills. From there, members are happy to help others expand their skill set. “I have never been a quilter,” Oseland says. “But I made my first quilt top in a Mystery Quilt class offered by ASG.”

Oseland has also been inspired by the upcyclers in their group. “They help me see new possibilities to recreate what I already own or items from thrift shops,” she says. “A bedspread can become a fabulous coat or dress.”

Mary Lou Morris joined Stitch and Chat Woodbury two years ago. The White Bear Lake resident says she wanted to connect with fellow sewing enthusiasts in the area. “I was also interested in their service sewing projects,” she says.

“We do a lot of charity work,” Zimmerman says, noting that they donate items that they make, including mittens for schools, bags for the homeless and flannel pieces for NICU incubators.

Never were they busier than at the outset of COVID-19 when face masks were at a premium. Oseland says that their chapter stitched more than 32,000 masks to donate to medical facilities and nursing homes. “Our members are givers,” Oseland says.

With more than a dozen neighborhood groups, there are plenty of options for those interested in joining ASG. Oseland says the ASG encourages potential members to check out several neighborhood groups to find a good fit. Members pay a national fee but enjoy many benefits, including access to online classes and project libraries and discounts for sewing products and services.

“It is a great thing to carve out time for the things that give us joy,” Oseland says. “That is what joining ASG has given me, sewing joy.”

American Sewing Guild
Facebook: American Sewing Guild, Minneapolis – St. Paul Chapter
Instagram: @asgmsp


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