Mary Coonan is a sewing tutor with a waiting list!
An experienced designer, she tutors in The Donahies Community School on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights. That’s not all! She also runs classes there on Wednesday afternoon. And on Saturday morning and Saturday afternoon. Whew!
“When the recession hit, people began to look at knitting and sewing again – about making and repairing things,” says Mary, who trained at The Grafton Academy of Dress Designing in Dublin. “Then, the likes of Aldi and Lidl started to sell sewing machines and wool at cheaper prices and that made sewing and knitting more visible and manageable for people.
“And, because sewing isn’t taught in schools now, a lot of people find they can’t do the basics, like sewing on a button.”
Now, people are into upcycling and recycling – and also love the social aspect of a night class. “We have people of all abilities in the class – you can go at your own pace and see how others have progressed as well. Not only that, but a lot of people say they forget everything when they come in, so it’s a lovely way to destress. No matter how bad the day, you’ll forget it when you start sewing!”
Mary always insists that people take time to enjoy the tea break. “Again, that unites the group and I get a chance to chat to people individually, so I get to know them.”
And there’s a great sense of achievement – “we do small projects that they complete in two nights, so you could have five things completed at the end of a ten-week class.”
Some of the items produced in the sewing classes at Donahies Community School