, 2014

Students learning to sew during
Boys and Girls Club summer camp

by Lisa Hinton-Valdrighi

Malaysia Smith, 12, and Khalin Harding, 11, said they’d never used a sewing machine before Monday, but that didn’t stop the two girls from making beautiful leopard print totes.

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Cathy Hemans, owner of Cathy's Unique Pursuits, assists Malaysia Smith with her sewing project. Photo by Lisa Hinton-Valdrighi

Smith and Harding attend summer camp at the Boys and Girls Club of the Northern Neck in Kilmarnock and recently had an opportunity to take a sewing class from Cathy Hemans. Hemans, owner of Cathy’s Unique Pursuits on Irvington Road in Kilmarnock, has teamed up with the Boys and Girls Club to offer sewing lessons on Mondays and Tuesdays for two hours each day through the summer.

“I try to keep it pretty simple so everybody can get a little taste of sewing but have an end to the project,” said Hemans. “I want them to have something to take away.”

Hemans works with only two campers at a time and the children come for two days. They can finish a project, either a tote or hat, in the four hours allowed, said Hemans.

So far, she’s worked with eight children and will continue to offer the lessons through the end of the summer camp program.

The students have been 9-13 years old and most have never sewn before.

Malaysia, a seventh-grader at Lancaster Middle School, said she’s stitched by hand but never on a machine. Hemans pulled a crooked seam out of Malaysia’s tote for the young lady to give it another try.

“You can make a lot of mistakes, but you can always correct them,” said Hemans. “It’s never going to be exactly perfect but close is always good.”

Hemans and her husband, Tommy, moved to Lancaster County in 1997. She opened Cathy’s Unique Pursuits in June and sells handmade purses, totes and handbags, along with women’s clothing and accessories. Hemans owned a salon which included a boutique prior to moving to the Northern Neck. Tommy is a board member of the Boys and Girls Club.

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