Going to the dogs: fabric scraps replace table ones for shelters

Mic Pickard, of the Village of Tall Trees, cuts fabric into strips that will be used for the stuffing of dog beds during Sewing ‘N More’s Wednesday meeting at El Santiago Recreation Center.

The members of Sewing ’N More don’t waste a square inch of fabric, even the scraps.

Those items take on a new life to become the stuffing for pet beds.

Mic Pickard was cutting these leftover fabrics into thin strips during the group’s Wednesday meeting at El Santiago Recreation Center.

“I’m the dog bed lady today,” said Pickard, of the Village of Tall Trees.

If the fabric is a heavier material, Pickard will cut that into smaller pieces, while most fabrics will be cut to around 4 inches long and 2 inches wide.

From the fabric that has been donated to the group, members make everything from zipper bags and drawstring backpacks to stuffed toys, pillowcases and pet beds.

“We have generated a lot of dog beds,” Pickard said.

Once the beds are completed, the group, led by Lois Rose, donates them to local animal shelters.

Besides preparing for the dog beds, others have taken different types of random quilt squares to find the right patterns for an overall quilt.

Once the tops are completed, Rose will attach the backing and the batting to complete the quilt.

Rose has been stockpiling the group’s handiwork because many of the groups they donate to, such as the Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranch, have plenty of those items.

“By the end of the year, if we don’t give them all out, we can give them as Christmas gifts to the needy,” said Rose, of the Village Santo Domingo.

Pickard, who had been a part of a community of sewers before coming to The Villages, joined Sewing ’N More about three years ago. One of her favorite things to make is embroidery and home deco items such as aprons.

“(Group members are) very creative, and they’re different from each other,” she said. “I’m learning about new tricks and new tools. Everybody’s brains are easy to pick. They’re willing to share.”

The group normally features demonstrations from members, as well as a show-and-tell portion for the ladies to show off what they have been making.

Villages residents of all levels of quilt-making abilities are welcome to join.

“Nobody knows everything, but everybody knows something,” Rose said. “Some come in without experience, and we have others that will chip in and help out.”

Rose jumped into the world of making quilts after moving to The Villages and taking a class at the Enrichment Academy. She noticed a lack of sewing groups up in the northern portion of the area, so she started one at El Santiago about four years ago.

The group has about 60 members, but before the coronavirus shutdown, about 20 to 25 would show up.

“It’s a great group of ladies,” Rose said. “They’re all wonderful and helpful. Just a joy to be with them.”

Since the pandemic, the group has had anywhere from three to seven people come to the weekly sessions.

Rose has postponed any demonstrations, instead letting the members work on their own or putting on quilt tops.

Sewing ’N More meets 1 p.m. Wednesdays at El Santiago Recreation Center. For information, email Rose at lois.a.rose@gmail.com.

 Staff writer Michael Fortuna can be reached at 352-753-1119, ext. 5273, or michael.fortuna@thevillagesmedia.com.