Magic City Seams

About Magic City Seams

The Sew-Op competed in UAB’s 2015 Community Health Innovation Awards and was awarded $13,000 to develop a sewing training that prepares trainees to take on piece-work and small-batch manufacturing jobs.

The Sew-Op called the program Woodlawn Sewing Training and ran the pilot through November 2016. Four trainees became proficient on sewing machines donated by the Wisconsin-based organization, The Sewing Machine Project by making pillows, shoulder bags and pajama pants. These four trainees then made ten therapy tools for the Occupational Therapists (OTs) of UAB Highlands' Acute Care for Elders unit. The OTs developed a prototype of a tool for use with patients with dementia which our Woodlawn Sewing trainees used to produce the ten therapy tools.

Thanks to a successful pilot, the Sew-Op received funds through AL Power's ELEVATE granting process to train twice as many people in 2017. Thanks to the vision of the AL Power ELEVATE staff, we were able to incorporate a real-life client - again - as we were commissioned to produce 50 table runners for the AL Power ELEVATE conference. As part of the ELEVATE grant, a second year of funding is provided if a matching funder is procured. Thanks to a match from EBSCO, Inc., we ran a third year of Woodlawn Sewing Training during the spring of 2018. A team of two product designers, a prototyper and the Sew-Op's program manager developed a line of pillows and quilts and pitched the product line to West Elm, who will carry the products as part of West Elm Local in the fall of 2018.

Fall 2018 saw the start of another series of trainings for Birmingham-area residents who were interested in learning to sew in order to take on small-batch manufacturing jobs. Because the scope of the program has expanded, we changed the name from Woodlawn Sewing Training to Magic City Seams. Stay tuned for more info about this skills-training program that provides economic opportunities to those who seek flexible work.