Walnut Creek/East Bay Chapter

Community Service

Community Service

Giving back is a vital part of a full and rewarding life. Nothing is more fulfilling than using your skills and passion to contribute to the quality of life of others in need within your own community. Throughout the country, ASG has become synonymous with sewing acts of kindness.

Rema Jones has been our Community Service Chairperson since 2019.  We have many worthwhile service opportunities, and Rema does a great job of selecting which ones we can take on as Chapter projects.

Our next Community Service Sew In is Saturday, June 20, 2020, when we will be making walker bags. Kits will be provided – all you need to do is show up with your sewing machine and a few notions.  See our Events Calendar for the most up-to-date information, or reach out via our Contact Us page.


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Cynthia Cirino started our June 2018 Community Service Work Day by showing us the projects we could choose to sew.

She created storyboards for each item.  Keep in mind that Cynthia did all the cutting for kits for each item, printed the directions for each, and then spent the rest of the day cutting more bolts of flannel for more receiving blankets.  (editor: Go, Cynthia! You Rock!)

Last year the Contra Costa Regional Medical Center’s Newborn Layette Project put an article in some newspapers about us and would like to do it again this year. She will include a shout out to Trader Joe’s, Togo’s, Safeway and Nob Hill who donated food for lunch.

Projects were as follows:

  1. receiving blankets and wash clothes for the babies at the Contra Costa Community Regional.  Completing about 100 of them was our goal.
  2.   was placemats for Meals on Wheels based in Walnut Creek.  They don’t have as many routes as the Vallejo one and said they don’t get as many donations.  Special thanks to Cynthia Wheeler for donating pre-quilted material.
  3. Microwave bowls which will also go to Meals on Wheels. Cynthia Cirino cut all the batting and fabric for this sandwich.

Jan Driscoll talked about the dog beds she makes for the animal shelter.  Once again she requested that we not only save our scraps but to cut them into smaller pieces of no more than 5 inches.  Also no string or threads or really thin pieces.  The reason is that the beds do get washed and then bigger pieces and strings create lumps and knots inside the beds.

Tally for the day: 77 receiving blankets, 13 wash clothes, 1 place mat, and 25 dog beds.

Jan Driscol contacted grocery stores for donations, providing a healthy, delicious meal, at no cost to the workers.

Below is from 2017

Jan Driscol and a few members got together about a month ago and made animal pillows for the “Bay Area Animal Rescue Crew” in Concord. Then, with donations and help from ASG Sewers (mostly Concord NG), 9 beds were completed and donated yesterday January 5, 2018.  BAARC was very appreciative of the donation.

Of course, Sweetie Pie tested them out as I piled them on the floor when completed.We cut, sewed, and stuffed about 3 dozen beds from fabric scraps.

The Walnut Creek Chapter of ASG has partnered with the Contra Costa Regional Medical Center.  They have a newborn layette project that has been in operation for over 30 years. Their auxiliary group provides a layette to every new mother and their infants born at the Center in Martinez.

On June 24, 2017, the Walnut Creek Chapter of the American Sewing Guild gathered to participate in an annual day of community service.  The members created 94 flannel receiving blankets, 3 knitted blankets, 4 tied fleece blankets, 1 terry cloth blanket, 1 knitted washcloth, 8 terry cloth washcloths, 10 small fleece blankets and 65 flannel washcloths!  Lunch was provided through generous donations from Safeway, Sam’s Club, and Trader Joe’s.  All of these items were donated to the Contra Costa County Hospital in Martinez.  This is the second year the ASG Chapter has focused on providing materials for the hospital’s newborn layette program.

Here is a year-round community service opportunity that allows you to share your love of sewing by making and donating quilts to those in need.  Attached is a pattern for a quilt top that you can use to cut using your scraps.  In addition, if you attend one of the Chapter’s program events, kits are cut and ready to take home.  You are able to work on the quilt top and then return it to a monthly program, when it is completed.

For more information on cutting and/or assembling these easy quilt tops for donation, please feel free to contact the Community Service Coordinator, Cynthia Cirino, at (510) 435-8381 or via email at CynthiaCirino@gmail.com.  Thank you!

Community Service Quilt Pattern

Power Bags: 2020 Community Service Project

Posted by on Oct 23, 2020 in Community Service, Programs | 0 comments

Power Bags: 2020 Community Service Project
Four Power Bags
Four Power Bags

From the Sew Powerful Website: In Zambia it’s the common cultural practice in both poor urban and remote village areas that girls stay home when they are on their period. This is because they don’t have a reliable product solution that they can afford. To avoid the risk of social embarrassment–they stay home. Disposable products are not the solution because there is no garbage collection, and the cost is an impossible barrier to overcome. A well-made reusable product that replaces their traditional method is the best solution.

For our 2020 community service project, we took several opportunities to make bags together, even though we are sheltering in place. The first time was our monthly sit and sew zoom meeting. We downloaded either a beginning pattern or intermediate pattern up the patterns from the website and cut out a purse using our own fabric.

Our community service chairperson, Rema Jones, cut out thirty bags using fabrics from her own inventory and fabric donated to the chapter. The next opportunity to make bags together took place during our monthly zoom meeting. We had picked up the kits earlier from Margaret Caley’s front porch. Rema projected the directions, and we all shared expertise to make the bags. In each pattern is a page to copy and print where we can write a special message giving advice or words of inspiration.

These bags have multiple pockets and are not mindless projects. The challenge to make them correctly and embellish the purses made them worthy and enjoyable projects for us to complete.  Some of us watched several videos with instructions on how to make the bags on the So Powerful Purse Project website or YouTube.

An interesting note is that many mothers of the girls who came home with the bags took them for their own use. Now the organizers make sure each girl’s mother has a bag.

As of this date, the chapter made 55 bags to send to Zambia. Along with the bags, it’s heartening to think about how many days of education we are supporting young women to complete.

Four more more power bags
Four more more power bags out of 55 completed.

Face Mask Shortage, can we help?

Posted by on Mar 27, 2020 in Community Service, Sewing Opportunities | 0 comments

Face Mask Shortage, can we help?

The following is a letter from our Chapter President, Diana Hotelling,

The shortage of protective face masks for health care personnel is being widely reported. With COVID-19 concerns still in the forefront of our minds (and lives), the pressing question is: Is there anything we, as makers, can do to help?

There are strong opinions on both sides of the conversation. Fabric masks won’t protect the wearer from droplet inhalation … Any barrier is better than no barrier …

Several resources are now popping up to help makers know what types of masks might be helpful, and where they can be donated. A few days ago, both Wooden Gate Quilts (on their Instagram feed) and Dublin Sewing Center (via an email to customers) put out information on mask making and donating.  I reached out to both organizations for permission to distribute their links with this email but did not hear back.  If you’re on Instagram, you can find a link on Wooden Gate Quilts’ profile, and Dublin Sewing Center has a link to their email blast from their Facebook page. I hear that other local organizations are also making information available, including the Valley Stitchers and The Sewing Machine Shop, so keep an eye on your email if you’re on their mailing lists.

In addition, ASG national headquarters sent out a very informative email last week, with a link to the WeNeedMasks.org website launched by ASG’s webmistress Janice Blasko.  The site has mask sewing instructions as well as a list of locations needing masks.  Since the launch, several California locations have self-listed as needing masks.

I’m including links to two additional references that might be of interest: a  recent blog post by the Craft Industry Alliance, Should Makers Sew Fabric Masks for Healthcare Workers?  and the CDC’s Strategies for Optimizing the Supply of Facemasks  (their discussion of homemade masks is at the bottom of the page).

I hope this information will be helpful as you plan your good-works sewing. Please take especially good care of yourselves and your loved ones during these troubled times.

Note from Kathleen: The Featured image is a free embroidery design from the Embroidery Library you can find here: Free design in multi-sizes. They also offer In-The-Hoop (ITH) facemasks in two sizes.

Eco Fabrics with Dawn Pickering March 28, 2020

Posted by on Mar 9, 2020 in Community Service | 0 comments

Eco Fabrics with Dawn Pickering March 28, 2020

Unfortunately, our March Program has been cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns. Dawn will be able to present at our May 16 Program. More details to follow as the date gets closer. Please make good decisions to stay well and healthy.


SATURDAY, March 28th, 2020
The Walnut Creek/East Bay Chapter of the American Sewing Guild Presents:
ECO FABRICS with Dawn Pickering


Update to June Community Sew

Posted by on Jul 3, 2019 in Community Service | 0 comments

At the June 22, 2019 Community Service Program you all amazed me. Together, we completed 54 burping cloths, 32 baby bibs, 12 quilts and 4 receiving blankets – we did all this in one meeting! I am so proud of “us” and pleased that we can help the community through our love of sewing. Thank you for your participation and for being a fun and talented group of sewists.

Our next Community Sew Day will be in September – a pillowcase challenge.