Cameroon Task Force

Sewing Workshop

I fell in love with large print African fabrics about 30 years ago on a trip to Washington DC where I saw women walking down the street wearing dresses created from fabulous material that I’d never seen before. Colors were purposefully bright. Patterns were intentionally huge. Dresses with matching head wraps were audacious in design and the use of color was inspiring. In a plaid skirt and turtleneck sweater my style paled in comparison. I loved African fabric first time I saw it and I’ve been chasing it ever since.

My Story

(Barbara Knapp)

Autobiography –   The Kribi sewing project started for me one night when I was working at home on African fabric bags to sell at the SJUMC Craft Sale. (All proceeds from the sale supports the Nurse’s Aide Training Center we are creating in Cameroon.) I was sewing bags from the beautiful fabric I bought in African markets in 2010. The women there make dresses and shirts, but there were no bags made from the fabrics I love, so I started making them myself. That’s when hit me…. I ought to share this skill with the women in Cameroon. This is one of the poorest countries on earth, bags would be pretty inexpensive to make and could be sold in the marketplace. I tried to talk myself out of this several times but the seed had been planted. I explained my vision to Cathie who agreed, it was a good idea.

Sewing Blogs

(Years - 2017, 2015, & 2012)

Sewing 2017

Sewing teachers received 20 days of specialized training from Barb Knapp. These tailors are using their skills to teach dozens of apprentices – creating new jobs. Sewing supplies delivered for the Vocational Training Center included 2 professional-grade sewing machines, 100+ patterns, a dressmaker’s mannequin, and other materials.

Sewing 2015

Based on our belief that women can use beautiful African fabrics to sew items that can be sold in local markets, the Kribi Sewing Project was established in 2012. Selling items at a fair local price, the money earned would be welcome income in this country with many needs and few resources.

Sewing 2012

French is the primary language in Kribi and I don’t know any French. So, it’s very convenient that Butterick, and Simplicity patterns are printed English and French. I cut out the French instructions and pasted them over the English ones. Nancy Clifton (Team Cameroon, 2010), a retired French teacher, translated my instructions for putting zippers into bags. Taking supplies for the school and medical supplies were our highest priority, so I took the originals of each to Africa and made the day of a local business when I had 20 photo copies of each set of instructions printed.

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