Communities Lifestyle Locally Made

Spotlight On: Let’s Sew, MadCo!

Becca Lane, Vicki Fox, Camela Klein and her husband Jason working on making pillowcases for the shelter children housed by My Sister’s Place

By Emma Castleberry

A passionate sewer, Karen Governo Ingraham had often heard friends and neighbors say sewing was a skill they’d love to learn. Knowing that the teaching and learning of this skill would be a wonderful way to foster community, Ingraham founded Let’s Sew, MadCo! (LSMC!) in August of 2023. “The dual purpose of the group is to help people learn how to sew without any economic restrictions and to create a sense of community,” she says. “We have free patterns and fabric that has been donated by community members, and there are a couple of sewing machines available to lend out.”

Karen Governo Ingraham and Vicki Fox fill stockings

The response has been enthusiastic, with the nearly 300-member group reflective of a broad range of skill levels and not limited to just sewing. “The members include quilters, embroiderers, darning and mending, apparel creators,” says Ingraham. You also don’t need to be a resident of Madison County to participate. “One of the guiding tenets of our group is that anyone and everyone is welcome.”

Another tenet of the group is quarterly service projects. In December, LSMC! sewed and filled Christmas stockings to donate to various area organizations, including the Madison County foster system and the Salvation Army. Earlier this year, members made pillowcases to donate to children who were staying at the shelter affiliated with nonprofit My Sister’s Place. “We wanted them to have something that is theirs alone, that they can take with them when they finally have a home,” says Ingraham.

The May service project will support Madison County Animal Services with leash slides—pieces of fabric embroidered with the words “Adopt Me” that slip onto the leash. Member Bailey Nickerson of Fortune Fly Embroidery is going to sew the text onto the fabric before the group members sew the slides. “I love that children are seeing their parents participating in these projects, so that maybe it will normalize the concept and foster the idea of community service in the next generation,” says Ingraham.

The historic Mars Hill Anderson Rosenwald School

The group is open to men and they attend meetings, but there is a certain sisterhood element that has become crucial for many of the members. Angela Moser, who has been sewing since she was four years old, found out about the group on Facebook. “I joined because I love any kind of sewing and enjoy mentoring new sewers or quilters,” she says, “but it is important for women to come together to uplift and teach each other. It’s about renewing a love of sewing in all its forms with friends. It’s a positive affirmation of and for women in a supportive community.”

Camela Klein showed up at a LSMC! meeting in January with her sewing machine, still unopened and in the box. Group member Vicki Fox worked with her to unpack it and explain the parts of the machine, and taught her the basics of sewing. “I’d always wanted to learn to sew, but didn’t know how,” says Klein. “I was greeted so warmly. The group is very supportive and educational, and the members help beginners and experienced sewers alike.”

The group currently meets monthly at the historic Mars Hill Anderson Rosenwald School on the second Saturday of each month from 2—4 p.m. This summer, LSMC! will also host meetings at a new nonprofit store in Mars Hill: Remnants ThriftnSew.

“LSMC! is important to the community because it is a way for residents to learn and pass on skills,” says Ingraham. “Before technology exploded, sewing was considered a vital life skill. It was a way to clothe your family, create gifts and pass down knowledge. In our own small way, we are keeping those skills alive and hopefully passing them on to the next generation.”

The Anderson Rosenwald School is located at 225 Mount Olive Drive, Mars Hill. For more information about the group, find Let’s Sew, MadCo! on Facebook or email

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