Janine: "My daughters, aged 5 and 7, took a semester sewing class with Amelia
this past spring. They learned a lot and loved it. Amelia was great at
finding projects suited to their age level and that appealed to their
creativity. I am now putting together a class with my friends so that
Amelia can teach the adults how to sew!"

Deb: "My granddaughter worked with Amelia on a couple of sewing projects and loved both the projects and Amelia!  Amelia is very knowledgeable and imparts that knowledge with ease.  She is wonderful with children, creative and fun.  We would definitely take another class with her."

Nicole: "My girls loved your sewing class! They were so proud of the items they created and they appreciated having a choice about which projects they worked on - like the doll clothes. It was great that the class was small so there was plenty of individualized instruction and help. They continue to sew at home and look forward to taking classes again very soon. Thank you so much."


— After moving to Delmar from New York City last year, Amelia Dombrowski wanted to send her mother a gift that lasted.

A costume designer who began offering sewing, craft and fashion classes to children last spring, Dombrowski got the idea to make flowers out of fabric and send them to her mom.
“I was someone who lived far away from my grandparents, and my kids live far away from their grandparents,” said Dombrowski. “I wanted to find a way for kids to be able to interact with older people in a meaningful way.”
Dombrowski said her mother had often worked in nursing homes and suggested having kids, possibly from her classes, make the flowers to give to local seniors. A friend then connected Dombrowski with Julie Levin, leader of Bethlehem Girl Scout Troop 1209.
With the holiday season approaching, Levin decided to hold an event for her own Girl Scout troop where Dombrowski would teach the girls how to make the flowers. The girls would then deliver them to local senior organizations in person.
Soon, word spread about the event and more Bethlehem Girl Scout troops wanted to join in. Eventually, girls from nearly all 50 troops within the Bethlehem Girl Scout community wanted to participate.
“It’s one of the first times we’ve all got together,” said Heather Rutski, leader of Troop 1936 and Bethlehem Girl Scout Community chairwoman. “We use to be three separate communities that never interacted with each other.
Because there was such a large interest in the event, Levin decided to include other activities. While the older girls were taught how to make the fabric flowers by stitching together pieces of felt, others made holiday cards to send to soldiers stationed overseas through the American Red Cross’ Mail for Heroes campaign.
As “admission” to the event, girls were asked to collect old children’s clothes from members of their family. All of the clothes were then donated to Mary’s Corner, an organization through Ladies of Charity of the Diocese of Albany, which provides food, clothing and toys for infants and toddlers.
“Helping other people is the Girl Scout way,” said Levin. “This is event being so large, I never could have imagined. I didn’t think on a Saturday we would get so lucky.”
There are nearly 200 Girl Scouts within Bethlehem’s 50 troops. More than 100 girls participated in the event, and Levin said she hopes more activities will be planned for all Girl Scouts townwide.
The girls plan to deliver the homemade flowers throughout December.

Interviewed by Marcy Velte, Spotlight News
link to article:

— To costume designer Amelia Dombrowski, cultivating the imagination is an important building block in a child’s life.
     With two young kids of her own, she understands their need to create unique materials that aren’t mass produced, and she strives to help innovate their perception of reality.
     “My son is going through the typical phases and right now, he is in the superhero phase,” she said of her 3-year-old, Declan. “He loves Spider Man, but doesn’t really understand who he is or that he’s a part of a million-dollar marketing campaign. He just wants superhero things and I think a lot of kids can come up with ideas for what they’re into in a much more unique way than what a toy company could create.”
     Dombrowski said her family moved to the area in October, and the classes are a way for her to continue to use her skill set outside of the typical theater setting.
     “I’ve been doing theater since I was a little kid,” she said. “My mom would help with costumes and dad would help build the school’s sets. I come from a handy background.”
     Dombrowski received her undergraduate degree in film studies from Northwestern University and went on to obtain her master’s degree in design from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. She later worked on Broadway on such productions as “South Pacific” and Xanadu,” and has taught sewing and costume design courses at the Professional Performing Arts High School in New York City.
     The sewing class will introduce the concepts of working with a needle and thread, the idea of sewing and how to make small items out of cloth. The children will create items like finger puppets, planet mobiles, stuffed animals and a drawstring bag. The crafts class will see students making a different project each session. The crafts are designed so kids can make the object and then add embellishments later depending on their different skill sets. The projects include backpack keychains, a superhero class in which kids make their own capes and a class making stuffed people out of felt, along with matching clothes. 
     In a world filled with television, the Internet and video games, the crafts are meant to engage students in a hands-on activity at a time when learning practicable skills, like sewing, is on the decline. The classes can also help kids to form their own sense of style or personality if they are drawing inspiration from their own heads, instead of items that are mass produced.
     “It can also be very meditative,” she said. “Sewing is a very repetitive action. It forces you to sit and focus, and once you get the stitch down, it is very calming.”
     Eventually, Dombrowski hopes to offer themed classes for children’s parties.
     "It’s a nice environment to be in with your friends,” she said. “They can make their own tea sets or stuffed animals, and these are things that friends can share together.”
     Dombrowski is also planning to offer special sessions before Halloween and Christmas for parents on how to make their own Halloween costumes for their children and how to make homemade Christmas stockings.
     “I just want people to know they don’t have to spend a lot of money in a store and buy something everyone else has,” she said. “They can make their own unique gifts, or create imaginative items for themselves.”

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