Riley Gibbs, 10 and Avery Gibbs, 8 hold up placemats they created for the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center during a sew-in created by Girl Scout Jessic Nilsen for her Girl Scout Gold Awar Project at The Centre in Canyon Country Sunday afternoon. Cory Rubin/The Signal

Girl Scout teaches sewing and helps charity

Though sewing and home economics may no longer be a classroom staple, 17-year-old Girl Scout Jessica Nilsen is doing her part to make sure the art of the needle is not lost.

On Sunday, Nilsen hosted her third and final community sew-in event at The Centre with the Santa Clarita Valley Quilt Guild as part of her Girl Scouts service project.

“I knew I wanted to create something that would benefit the community, I’ve always loved sewing and I saw a bunch of different groups that needed service projects,” Nilsen said. “I decided I would help teach people a new skill while making things to benefit the community rather than making them all myself.”

Using fabric donated by the Quilt Guild, Nilsen and other volunteers created placemats, neck coolers, and quilts for the Bella Vida senior center’s home delivered meals program and the SCV Veteran Center. Originally, Nilsen set a goal of 40 placemats but by the beginning of the day Sunday, she already had more than 50. She also did not think she would be able to donate any quilts, but she and the volunteers were able to complete five full quilts.

Jessica Nilsen holds up a quilt and a neck cooler created as a part of community sew-ins for her Girl Scout Gold Award project to benefit the SCV Veteran Center, the SCV Senior Center and The Painted Turtle. Cory Rubin/The Signal

“I chose placemats because I thought they would be easy for new people to learn,” she said. “This event has been super successful and we’ve had new people come and learn how to create cool projects. I loved seeing people’s reactions when they completed their first sewing project and especially that it’s going to a great place. Several first-time sewers came up to me and said they wanted to keep learning about it, and one little girl told me she was going to save up for a sewing machine.”

Carol Carter, community service member for the Quilt Guild, said she loved how the event was a good introduction to sewing for people of all ages.

“You can really see the need in the community for events like this and the response has been wonderful,” Carter said. “There’s no place around here that really has sewing classes. Sewing is becoming a lost art and I’m glad to see someone young like Jessica taking an interest in something that I’ve been doing my whole life.” 

Ten-year-old Riley Gibbs came out to the event to show her support for a fellow Scout.

“I think it’s good to learn how to sew so that you can sew things for yourself and don’t have to rely on other people,” Gibbs said. “My favorite part of this event is knowing that I’ve helped out and my favorite part of sewing is seeing the final product and the pride of knowing what I accomplished.”

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