Online threads: virtual garment sewing group launches at Greenpoint Library

Brooklyn Public Library’s Greenpoint branch is launching an online garment sewing group on April 27.
Photo by Acacia Thompson

A Greenpoint librarian is launching a monthly virtual garment sewing group, fostering a community of needle threaders who enjoy making their own clothes.

Brooklyn Public Library’s “Greenpoint Sewical” will debut on April 27, offering a gathering for novices and master seamstresses to share tips about the craft, according to the organizer.

“It’s an opportunity for people to show what they’re sewing, what they’re working and on and sewing with,” Acacia Thompson, who works at the recently-renovated Greenpoint library.

The monthly sessions — which will start virtually but eventually pivot to in-person at the Norman Avenue branch once it’s safe to do so — will be a space to talk patterns, techniques, tools, sewing resources, and iron out tricky stitches.

“It’s really satisfying and amazing hobby to have, but it is one that needs support because it’s such an intimidating craft,” she said. “It’s always great to have a community to kvetch about issues they’re having.”

Unlike more popular pastimes such as knitting and crocheting, sewing garments can seem daunting to get into, according to Thompson, but she says the payoff is worth it.

“You make more long-lasting garments and you make something that you created and wanted, so you’ll have a lot more ownership than something you bought at a store,” she said.

In order to help locals fix their frayed clothes, Thompson also wants to launch mending workshops as soon as the north Brooklyn book lender can safely accommodate in-person events.

Thompson is the Greenpoint library’s environmental justice coordinator, tasked with organizing programming and education at the branch, which last year finished a $20 million upgrade funded in part by payments from Exxon Mobil for the 1950s Newtown Creek oil spill.

She said DIY clothes tie into environmentalism by avoiding the wasteful fast fashion industry. 

“Once you create your own clothes you think more about supply chains, the environmental impact, and social responsibility of fast fashion,” she said. “To be in control of your own wardrobe … it empowers people to create something that they want.”

“Greenpoint Sewical” at Brooklyn Public Library [Virtual via Zoom. Register at www.bklynlibrary.org/calendar/list]. April 27, 5:30-7 pm. Free.