By Vera Fisk – 10th Grade, Pittsburgh Obama Academy
The Carnegie Library in Oakland holds tons of activities for students of all ages. Every Tuesday and Wednesday in the summer, teens have the opportunity to learn an array of skills and knowledge through “The Labs.” Sometimes the workshops are themed during one month, and other times the workshops have no correlation. July happens to be fashion month at the main library.
The weekly fashion workshops teach a range of sewing and design skills. Each week, attendees will learn a new skill and make their own original pieces. The teens are also welcome to use the sewing equipment for an independent project.
During the first week of July, there were two sewing workshops held. The first lab on July 7th was called “Sewing Machine Basics,” in which teens learned how to prepare a sewing machine and practiced sewing on the machines. The second workshop on July 8th was teaching how to make “T-shirt Bags.” This project was very simple and allowed those who attended to learn the basics of sewing if they hadn’t already. The other goal of the project was to teach kids new ways to recycle by using old t-shirts to make new tote bags. They gave teens the option to use the no-sew method to create the bags, by cutting strips at the bottom of the bag and tying them together.
Only one of the attendees at the T-Shirt Bags workshop, Arhan, had been to the Sewing Machine Basics workshop. Ironically, he was reading in the library and mistook the sewing machine for a 3-D printer. He ending up staying for the sewing workshop and liking it so much he returned the next day. He also plans to return for future fashion workshops.
Another attendee, Emily, also joined the workshop that day with her little sister. It was her first time coming the one of the Labs, but she already had an extensive amount of sewing experience. While she isn’t specifically interested in fashion, she loves to sew and make costumes for cosplay. Even though she had prior experience, she had never made a t-shirt bag before. She also wishes to return for later workshops.
There are plenty of Labs besides fashion at the main library as well as Carnegie Library locations all over the city. Some of the other workshops are for cooking, gaming, Photoshop, etc.
To find out more about the CLP Labs, click here.