Founded in July 2018 by Lisa Woolfork, the project grew from the wake of her trauma as an Black Lives Matter-Charlottesville organizer in the summer of 2017. She was locked in the church across the street during the white supremacist torch march and attack on August 11, 2017. The next day, she was at the deadly intersection of the car attack on August 12, 2017.
During that devastating summer, Lisa lost her sewing community as well. The white sewists and quilters she had known for and sewed with for decades rejected her–bitterly, abruptly, and completely–when she tried to bring her whole self as a Black woman and activist into what she thought was her community.
That taught her that not only does racism present itself even in communities where Black people are welcome on the surface, but that Black women need spaces where we can convene and connect as our whole selves.
Since 2019, Black Women Stitch has held in-person events in the Charlottesville, Virginia area that center Black women and share the gift of sewing. Thanks to generous donations of money, materials, in-kind gifts, and volunteer time from our supporters, we keep the barriers to entry as low as possible.
In-person activities and events are still on hold, but join our mailing list to be the first to learn of our sewing education, sewing meet-ups, and other sewing events.
Join us for weekly chats on Instagram Live. We address topics of interest, current affairs, and answer questions about sewing, building racial equity, Black activism, and dismantling white supremacy.
Our online chats are Black centered and available for anyone on IG who is interested in sewing and believes that Black Lives Matter. Whether you love the idea of creativity and self-empowerment through making your own clothes but have never tried sewing or you’re an established sewist who made yourself a wardrobe a fashionista would envy, we’re your sewing and activism community.
If you’re new to sewing or have only worked on basic projects before, our sewing studios are a great place to improve your sewing skills or start to learn how to make your own clothes, accessories, or housewares. If you’re an experienced sewist, consider joining us at our next sewing studio to share your skills and meet fellow Black women, girl, and femme makers.
In July 2019, we offered a Pop-Up Sewing Studio, which brought 20 sewing stations and sewing instruction in skirt making for 40 students in the Charlottesville area. Thanks to a SOUPgrant from New City Arts, 20 of these students received scholarships.
The STITCH PLEASE podcast fills a prominent niche and need for Black women sewists while educating all listeners about issues of consequence in the lives of Black people. The podcast discusses sewing in detail, including sewing tips and hacks, how to design your own clothing, and Black fashion, along with antiracist conversation that affirms and centers Black women, femmes, and girls.
Even though sewing and making has been central to the Black experience in the United States and African American women have built businesses, supported families, and expressed their creativity with sewing, the needle arts of sewing and quilting have a long history of minimizing, erasing, and silencing Black women. Institutions, including sewing institutions, have tried to exclude Black women, but this podcast puts African American women who create and sew in the center of the discussion.