Sew On

Apr 20, 2023

Dana Casadei, Media Relations Specialist

Margot Parr exuded pride while she greeted and then introduced members of the Angela Hospice sewists as they sat together in the Angela Hospice Chapel, going around the room and discussing who they were and how they came to the group.

There were Jane and Mike Cuba, a husband-and-wife duo who work together to create patient gowns — primarily men’s, which is appreciated by all because they’re even more challenging to create than the women’s gowns. Kathryn Trudeau sat in the back row, looking humble when Margot announced she had made over 200 pillowcases since their project began, and who currently had two more completed ones with her. There was Carol Marshall, who also sews pillowcases, and is a costume maker for local theaters. She became involved after a friend, an Angela Hospice volunteer, referred her. Seven other members were around the room as well, each discussing what got them to this moment they were sharing.

Down the hall from where the group sat, the pillowcases and gowns they make each month were on their way to bring comfort to patients as they lay their heads on comfy pillows, and families too, seeing their loved ones in a gown that’s been made with care, a personal piece just for them.

“I remember sitting at the reception desk just a couple of months ago, and someone came up and said, ‘Can I buy the gown that my aunt is laying in?… It has a butterfly, butterflies are my aunt’s favorite thing, and it’s just given her such peace, to have this butterfly on her,’” Margot told them. “So you never know… whatever you do makes such a difference to some of the people who really appreciate it.”

The group of 12 was only a small representation of the sewists, a group mixed of Angela Hospice and community volunteers, all at varying sewing skill levels. Since 2019, Angela Hospice and community volunteers have worked in tandem as part of the sewist group, their sheer desire to help bringing them together.

“I hope we can continue to do this, it’s such a personal touch,” Margot said.

Word of mouth was how the group was able to grow to its peak, which was about 50 members. A friend would tell another about the project they had worked on, then word of the sewists would continue to spread, and bring more and more people in, all who wanted to help in any way they could at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of them were even family members of Angela Hospice employees.

“For me, it was just a real blessing to be able to have something that I could do during a pandemic and to feel like all of us, I think all of the volunteers were making a difference. That was really important,” Margot said. “I think anyone who had a connection and had an ability to sew a straight line volunteered.”

In that first year, with their mask project, the group was able to create thousands for staff at Angela Hospice, becoming the first line of defense for staff. This project also led to what they’re doing now: creating gowns and pillow cases.

“After generating the connection with so many volunteers who wanted to continue to serve in a way that matched their talents, she proposed this idea,” said Teri Schmitchen, Angela Hospice Director of Integrative Therapies & Volunteer Services. “I knew any project that Margot took on would have a deep impact on those we serve.”

Margot took charge after that, purchasing materials, patterns, butterfly appliques. She even had special Angela Hospice clothing tags made.

And while the group has decreased in size slightly over the last few years, now focused solely on creating patient gowns and pillow cases, their creations haven’t slowed down any. Since the group’s inception they’ve made approximately 796 pillowcases and 535 patient gowns.

There’s no stopping them.

“I hope we can continue to do this, it’s such a personal touch,” Margot said.

Are you interested in becoming an Angela Hospice volunteer? Read more about the volunteer program here. 

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