A stitch in time at the library


Malcolm has been the most frequent attendee at the Mountain View Public Library's weekly Sew Sew Saturday events, when the library's collection of sewing machines, plus a serger and other materials, are made publicly available.

Malcolm said he has come to Sew Sew Saturday starting in February to repair his jeans, sew reflector stripes on his coat and do any other mending necessary for his clothes.

"I used to come every Saturday because I had so much sewing to do," said Malcolm, who declined to give his last name.

Now, according to library officials and volunteers, it's catching on, with more and more people are showing up Saturday mornings for Sew Sew Saturday, which runs sessions from 10:15 a.m. to 11 a.m. and from 11:15 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Library services manager Paul Sims said that for the past few years, library officials had been looking for new ideas to bring to the library. He said he had heard of university libraries that had sewing machines available for patrons to use.

"It's really the shift in library programming," Sims said. "We just really wanted to expand our program to make it more participatory."

According to Sims, the Mountain View Public Library bought four Baby Lock Grace model sewing machines and a serger last year from Eddy's Quilting Bee in Sunnyvale. Sims said that the purchases were made possible by a grant from the Pacific Library Partnership.

Sims said that the library made the sewing machines available at various times, including at a popular Halloween costume class offered in October 2013. Library officials decided to make the sewing materials available regularly in December 2013.

The four machines are each named after a celebrity named Grace actress Grace Kelly, Jefferson Airplane singer Grace Slick, 1980s pop star Grace Jones and Vogue magazine creative director Grace Coddington. Each sewing machines is decorated with a picture its namesake celebrity taped on its exterior.

"We thought we'd be a little more creative and choose pop culture names," Sims said.

Hesaid that the 45-minute sessions are scheduled so that they won't interfere with weekday or weekend activities. Several attendees told the Voice that they have been delighted with Sew Sew Saturday and have asked that it start earlier and end later in the day.

"I think this needs to be publicized so it can happen more often," said Donna Frankel, a dance instructor from Saratoga, at a recent Sew Sew Saturday. "They certainly have the materials."

Frankel said she owns three sewing machines, but no serger, the device she needed for a hem at the bottom of a European-style skirt used for folk dances. The closest serger available for public use she said she could find was at the Mountain View Public Library.

Sergers are used to create seams and finish edges, and can sew more quickly and stitch with a greater number of threads than sewing machines, according to the National Serger Month website.

Registration is required for Sew Sew Saturday. To register, visit or call 650-903-6896. For more information about the Mountain View Public Library, go to


Like this comment
Posted by Alice
a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 3, 2014 at 2:21 pm

Such a great idea! Well done, MV library! It might be worth putting a flyer up about this in Joann's Fabrics -- I was asked there the other day if I knew of a place to rent a machine -- so there's definitely a market! Once again, well done!

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