The Art of the Tent

 In Camp Notes

The Lost Art of Sewing

A sewer at work

When we bought a small, defunct hosiery mill in Western North Carolina 1945, the art of sewing absolutely permeated the area. Our defunct mill turned into a thriving factory. Other cut-and-sew businesses, however, weren’t so lucky. Many business offshored their textile facilities. Hundreds of textile workers lost their jobs, practically overnight. In recent years, we’ve made it our mission to revive the art of sewing for which the area used to be known.

That’s why we’ve partnered with over twenty other WNC manufacturers to launch a free industrial sewing program for local sewers. Through this program, students will learn sewing terms, fabric structures and type, and how to read tech packs. They’ll also learn basic sewing skills and techniques for industrial straight stitch, coverstitch, and overlock machine.

“It starts with folks knowing that there is a career in this, and secondly, that it can be pretty lucrative and satisfying. Every day, you get to see your products come to life by using your hands and the machines. I think all of this is important to understand for kids and for students” – Lauren Rash, via Asheville Made

A sewer's materials     The finished product

Collaboration Is Key

Industrial sewing machineDesigned to equip students for a career in sewing post-graduation, the courses will follow a curriculum developed by the Maker’s Coalition and Industrial Sewing and Innovation Center. Free to all incumbent workers, the courses are also open to all non-employed individuals for a nominal fee. To keep participant costs low, all materials and tools will be provided. The courses will also be taught in both English and Spanish.

Collaboration has been key to getting this partnership off the ground. COO Lauren Rash, the catalyst for the program, helped bring together the backing of over twenty WNC manufacturers. She also helped bring together funding from the Carolina Textile District and the support of Blue Ridge Community College and AB-Technical Community College. 

“As a region, we’ve lost many of our sewing skills. And we feel it is important to bring the craft back to the area where so many cut and sew businesses are setting up shop. Diamond Brand Gear recognized the need for workforce development and approached it in a collaborative effort to help the sewing community at large.” – Lauren Rash

A sewer at work     A sewer's materials

Lauren recently got to discuss the passion project with Asheville Made. The feature takes a closer look at the impetus for the program. It also explores the area’s return to its sewing roots.

The next course will be offered in the spring at AB Tech. Interested in learning more or applying? For more information out to register, please email Lauren Rash at