Aitutaki women put a pin in it

Wednesday May 27, 2020 Written by Published in Outer Islands
Viriama Tangianau in a beginners’ sewing class in Aitutaki. 20052627 Viriama Tangianau in a beginners’ sewing class in Aitutaki. 20052627

There are big smiles and excitement all around: one woman jumped for joy at making a pin cushion; another was pleased to be able to put a zipper on a garment instead of elastic.

Women from different backgrounds are learning to sew in Aitutaki – but no men!

Cook Islands Tertiary Training Institute tutor Nelisa Jeffries said a lawyer, a jewellery maker and a grandmother were among the five women attending the course.

The five never would have mingled had they had not been in the same class – but now, they’ve created a little network of friends and will continue through to the advanced course.

“I was excited to see that people are interested in learning how to sew; I enjoy sharing my knowledge and watching people grow a skill and take it to the next level.

“The class was so focused at times I had to check if anyone was there, no breaks were taken as they were determined to complete what they were making.”

The women were only supposed to sew a pin cushion, curtains and a bag – but they learned so fast they made a pair of shorts, a skirt (with zip), pillow slips and cushion covers.

Many have recommended the course to their friends and it was a huge achievement, as they hadn’t touched a machine since leaving school, she added.

Jeffries didn’t realise there were people out there who had a sewing machine, but never used it and didn’t know how to thread it.

“Overall, I am pleased to see that this skill will help people sew and maybe sell their wares at the markets to get an income. This is an exciting time for learning.”

Women on the island wanted to learn something practical, and sewing was at the top of the list.

The purpose is to give women a space where they can mingle and learn something and make their own clothes, and to provide an avenue to earn an income in the future from a new skill.

“It was really quite impressive.”

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