July 2012 home page

Seams Good
Sherryl L. Parks | Kalamath Drive


Wounded service members from current conflicts and from all branches of the military and National Guard are returning to our communities. In order to aid in their recovery and make their lives easier a group of seamstresses called Sew Much Comfort (SMC) have been providing “adaptive” clothing which accommodate their medical devices and situations since 2004.

Eight hundred fifty volunteers that operate across the U.S. and Germany are sewing adaptive clothing, one volunteer, Holly Teetzel, has been sewing for several years from her home in Del Mar. We asked her to give us a few more details.

How did you get started sewing for SMC?
I started sewing for SMC in 2007 after reading an article in the paper about it. I was deeply troubled by the war in Iraq and the fact that so many of the young soldiers were returning with devastating, life changing injuries. I had been wondering what, if anything, I could do to help out, so when I saw the article I thought, well - I can sew. Perhaps this would be one small act to help ease the transition for these soldiers - not much, but it did make me feel I might be doing something to help.

How many garments do you sew per month? How much time does it take?
I sew about 20 to 25 garments – depending on the complexity of the adaptation. Easy items like boxers take about a half hour each and more complicated items like lined swim trunks with pockets take about an hour and a half to two hours each. These are normal store bought clothes which when adapted provide the vet ease of use and independence in dressing. They are designed to make the visual impact of the amputation less noticeable.

Have you ever met a veteran who uses these garments?
No, I’ve never met a vet who has used, or is using, our garments. Actually, I’ve never met another seamstress, either – but recently communicated by e-mail with one of the other local women who sews for SMC. This is an anonymous sort of job – I have regular e-mail exchanges with my coordinator in Boulder, CO, but otherwise have no communication with other seamstresses. I do know that in some parts of the country where more people sew, there are groups of women who sew together.

What is the best way to help SMC?
Right now we have plenty of seamstresses, but the need is for monetary donations that will help to buy the clothing and supplies (bias tape, snaps, Velcro, etc.) and also help defray the cost of shipping. If you would like to do so, please contact me, Holly Teetzel at hdteetzel@yahoo.com.
Be sure to visit the website: www.sewmuchcomfort.org.


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