Want to do your bit to support breast cancer survivors across Dubai? Craft Land is holding a ‘Sew Pink’ event on Friday October 19 and Saturday 20 – and the good news is,you don’t even need any sewing skills to lend a hand. Over a period of 24 hours, split into two 12-hour workshops, volunteers will pile into the Town Centre mall on Jumeirah Beach Road: their task is to assemble unique cushions for those who have had surgery, designed to make them as comfortable as possible. The idea is that they sit over the shoulder like a handbag, providing cushioning for scars to protect them from being brushed against or irritated by the person’s arm, or a car seatbelt.
Jennifer Haack is the brains behind the scheme, which is now in its second year, and kindly offers to take me through the steps required to make a cushion. Fortunately, cushions are one of the easiest things for a novice seamstress to make – even if you’ve never set a foot on the pedal of a sewing machine, you can still pitch in. During the event there will be separate stations for each stage of assembly, including tracing the pattern onto fabric, cutting fabric, machine sewing, stuffing and finally hand-stitching the final seam closed. ‘There are actually fewer sewing jobs than everything else,’ Jennifer explains.
Volunteers can also sign up to pack goodie bags for the volunteers, other donations and, more importantly, the bags containing the cushions – the cushion bag itself will eventually be used by a woman to store her surgery drain. The finished cushions will be distributed by doctors including Dr Houriya Kazim, one the UAE’s leading breast surgeons and founder of breast cancer support group Breast Friends, to her own patients.
Now it’s my turn to do my bit. I begin by tracing the outline of the cushion onto my two pieces of fabric (pink, naturally, featuring a print of hundreds of tiny breast cancer ribbons). The pieces are then pinned together, pattern-side in. Once I’ve managed that without any major incident, I cut out the pattern and pin my ribbon in place to form a loop and a loose thread, which will make up the shoulder strap.
It’s then over to the sewing machine to run the needle and thread around the edge and create a seam, leaving a hole for the stuffing, which will be sealed by hand-stitching. Stuffing is a surprisingly time-consuming job (probably the lengthiest of them all).
Last year, with 400 volunteers, the team managed to make 300 cushions and bags, despite only aiming for 120. This time they’re aiming to make 300 again – though experience has taught them to make sure they’re armed with enough materials to make 400. There’s a real push for volunteers between the hours of 6pm and 10pm, so if you’re one of the city’s many more nocturnal inhabitants, those slots surely have your name on them.
To volunteer, email Jennifer Haack at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the shop to sign up in person. The event runs Friday October 19 and Saturday 20, 10am-10pm. Craft Land, Town Centre, Jumeirah Beach Road (04 342 2237).
More community groups
Dubai Ladies Bridge Club
Bridge is a challenging card game, and this club is open to ladies of all ages.
Dhs250 for annual membership, Dhs20 per session. Dubai International Women’s Club, Jumeirah (050 656 1300).
This club holds monthly meetings.
Annual membership Dhs50, Dhs30 per meeting. Wed 10am-noon. Town Centre, Beach Road (04 342 2237).
The club uses Twitter to discuss book choices. Follow @TwitBookClub.
Free. Third Sat of the month at Wild Peeta, Dubai World Trade Centre, www.twitbookclub.org.