In a Mission studio, eight young women, part of the Turning Heads Sewing/Fashion Program, work diligently. They learn the basic skills of sewing and fashion: measuring, marking, cutting, pinning and sewing. There are two levels of instruction: intro and intermediate. Friday nights in the same studio the Turning Heads Girls Sewing Cooperative meets. Five or more young women handcraft lavender eye pillows, market their product and also sell the pillows. The activities of all the groups are fun, rewarding and demand hard work and focus. Our class curriculum gives the students accessories and garments to take home, and because our cooperative is successful, the members also have profit (after material cost) to share.
Turning Heads began the Sewing/Fashion Program for highrisk young women from SF in the spring of 2005. We recruit students from local high schools and San Francisco’s Juvenile Probation Dept. Most of our students come from Bayview Hunter’s Point and the Mission. Currently we are in our fourth cycle of classes.
In November 2005, several young women who had successfully completed our introductory sewing and entrepreneurship training class formed the Sewing Cooperative to handcraft products and market them. The lavender eye pillows are the first product. The teen members complete all aspects of production and marketing. We are thrilled because they are selling. The co-op members and Turning Heads staff are hopeful they will soon expand and be able to offer other products.