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Rebel Reads - SewPowerful Sewing Initiative

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Sair (Sarah Steele)
Legion Council
Legion Council

Joined: 06 Sep 2014
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Location: Regional NSW
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 17, 2021 11:24 am    Post subject: Rebel Reads - SewPowerful Sewing Initiative Reply with quote

Hello sewing Rebels (and those who want to assist those who sew)!

I come to you with a very important initiative as part of Rebel Reads. Around the world, student’s education is cut short or otherwise negatively impacted when they start menstruating. In many places, they simply must stay home from school due to a lack of either disposable or reusable sanitary products.

SewPowerful works in Zambia, where if a student does not pass the 7th Grade exams (at roughly age 12/13) they cannot continue their education. There is no remedial secondary/high school or other education system. Their education is simply over. Missing roughly a week of school every month when menstruating obviously has a huge impact on their education, and therefore decreases the likelihood of them passing that exam.

From the SewPowerful 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. So to avoid the risk of social embarrassment – they simply 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.”

Women in Zambia are paid well by SewPowerful to sew the actual sanitary pads due to precise specifications, as well as make soap and other necessities for the program to work. (And they’ve continued to be paid while out of the sewing workspace due to COVID!)

“These moms, aunties, and grandmas making these items are the heroes of our story. Their work is impacting their community for the better. Through our program they are paid for their work so they do well by doing good.

In addition to sewing the pads and making the soap, they coordinate health class training and purse distributions with local teachers so girls can receive the items they need to manage their period. This is not a one-time dump and run effort, where girls get something and then in the future cannot get more. Our program is a long-term collaboration with the schools.

When girls receive a purse they take The Sew Powerful Pledge – and promise to stay in school all month if they receive a purse filled with supplies. We ask seamstresses around the world to help support the program by making the most amazing and beautiful purses - because the girls deserve the best. The purse is the perfect delivery method for the pads, soap, and underwear.”

So the purses are where we come in!

Many of the materials we make our costumes out of (twill, canvas, anything durable) are great for purses! The organization reports that the girls love bright colors, so pilots- bring out your scraps!

You can find the beginner pattern and instructional video here:

And intermediate pattern here:

This is a competition between the Bases/Outposts running from now until the end of the calendar year. We'll have three categories, and whoever makes the most purses wins! (You’ll win more than just bragging rights, but the physical prize is yet to be fully decided.)

The categories are:
1. Outposts and Bases with fewer than 25 active members
2. Bases with 25 or more active members
3. Individual member

While the competition will continue after Rebel Reads, we would love to see what each Base and Outpost can come up with in the next two months! If you would like to submit a short (less than three minute video) showing off the purses you have made, the due date for that is October 11th. Please let us know by October 1st (the due date for all other video submissions) that a video for this is coming so that we can add a spot for it in our schedule. As with all other things, email us at for this.

If you don’t sew (or don’t have time in the coming months) but want to help, here are some ideas:
-Do you have fabric that would work well for purses that you can give to other members of your Base/Outpost for them to use?
-Can you cut out purses for another member to sew?
-Can you cover the cost of materials and/or shipping for the purses in your Base/Outpost?
-Can you be a hangout buddy (virtually or in person depending on the state of the pandemic in your area) for someone while they sew?

Get a post started in whatever platform your Base/Outpost uses to communicate to start coordinating your efforts!

When you send your purses, please include the following in your note:

“(Your Name) Star Wars - Rebel Legion” so they know it is from our group.

When it comes to shipping, there are already locations in the US, Canada, Brazil, Australia, the UK and Scotland where you can send the completed purses.

We can work to figure out a good collection point for our Bases/Outposts where those regions are still cost-prohibitive to send to. Regardless of where you live, if you want to make purses and are concerned about the cost to mail them please send us an email at and we’ll help you figure something out.

While the competition will end in December, I hope that sewing purses for this organization can become something ingrained in your Base/Outpost for years to come!

SewPowerful has their own Facebook group where you can get ideas and help with these purses. I highly recommend that you check it out!

Note: We recognize that the relationship between menstruation, gender, and societal taboo is a sensitive and complicated one, and that talking about it at all can be difficult. We recognize also that it must still be talked about, and that this issue must be addressed with dignity and respect.

The main post and all translations can be found here:
Legion Council Member 2020-2022
Tython Base CO 2018 - 2020
501st Southern Cross Garrison #CB 10223

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