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Dahlgren School Club Teaches Heirloom Skills

Students enjoying learning to make quilts

Dahlgren ES/MS
Dahlgren NSF | May 25, 2018

Dahlgren School students display a lap quilt they created to donate to a wounded warrior.
Dahlgren School students display a lap quilt they created to donate to a wounded warrior. | Photo: By Barbara Wagner South Potomac Pilot

Every Thursday afternoon, a group of students at Dahlgren School gathers in Susan Marchette’s classroom to practice skills that aren’t often taught in a school setting for students anymore — sewing and quilting. Marchette has been a quilter for more than 35 years and enjoys sharing those skills as the club sponsor with the students in the Quilting Club. Several of the students have worked diligently on a patriotic lap quilt that they will donate to a wounded warrior program.

“We worked on the lap quilt to teach them how to sew straight lines with the sewing machine,” Marchette explained.

In addition to learning basic sewing skills, the students have learned how to do patchwork quilting and applique, along with important fabric cutting tips and tricks. As skill levels progressed and quilt pieces came together, the students’ enthusiasm has grown for the craft.

“They have been so excited about the club that they have brought in their friends as well,” Marchette said.

“My friend Victoria told me about the club, and it sounded like a lot of fun,” fifth-grader Sabel shared. “I love quilting and sewing now.”

“I like that even if we mess up, we’re not done, we can take out our stitches and keep trying,” Victoria said.

The club started with five middle-schools boys at the beginning of the school year and has since grown to include upwards of 15 students interested in learning valuable sewing skills and how to use a sewing machine. Marchette has provided three of her sewing machines and the club was able to find a sturdy used machine at a local thrift shop in King George.

“Normally we have four machines going,” Marchette said. “None of these students had ever had experiences with a real sewing machine and they have done so well.”

If you have a working sewing machine you no longer need, you can reach out to Marchette at Dahlgren School and she and her busy quilters will certainly put it to good use!

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