Come by the Extension Office, every Tuesday and you will find adults who are a whiz with a sewing machine.

Isabel Ochoa, Master Clothing Volunteer has been a volunteer over 30 years at Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. She learned to sew at a young at with her mother and had to share her talent to individuals. She taught people to sew in small villages in Mexico and then found her calling at the Extension Office. She has taught adults and youth how to sew throughout the county of Hidalgo. Give her some fabric, a needle and thread, and there’s almost nothing she can’t produce, said Joanne Ureste-Armijo the County Extension Agent. “Mrs. Ochoa even taught me to sew!” mentioned Mrs. Armijo.

A group of volunteers have dedicated and committed their time to share this wealth of skill with others who could put it to good use. The Master Clothing Volunteers in Hidalgo County are a volunteer group supported by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.  The Master Clothing Volunteers is designed to develop leadership and teaching skills using textile techniques and garment construction, heritage sewing and home décor.  These volunteers are trained to work in our communities to assist youth, families, and community groups in learning how to buy, construct, and care for garments.  The classes are at NO COST.  These volunteers meet every Tuesday from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service-Hidalgo County office.

Cristina Reyes, MCV Volunteer, has been attending these classes over four years and she has taken these skills to start selling her crafts to increase her income. “I have been selling the items I make at the class and it has helped me financially. Prices keep going up and my wages has remained the same so I had to think of ways how to increase my income.”

Others come to the classes and have helped them in other ways such as their well-being. Mary Moreno, MCV Treasurer, mentioned she has been coming to the classes because she found that it has helped her with her depression. “When I retired, I did not have a routine and I felt lonely. When I began to come to the classes I was able to teach my expertise and it feels felt great giving back to the community. There is a great support in this program and I was able to create friendship.” Ms. Mary Moreno also teaches youth sewing classes at the Extension Office, every third Saturday of the month.

Joanne Uresete-Armijo mentioned the program was originally designed to teach individuals sewing skills in order to start their own sewing businesses. The program has established an Annual Craft Sale to motivate these volunteers that it is possible. The Annual Craft Sale is on November 3rd, 2018 at the Edinburg Activity Center located at 123 E. Palm Drive, Edinburg TX from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. There are over 40 vendors, that will sell unique and handmade items; perfect for the holidays. In addition, there will be door prizes, craft workshops, and community performance.

All these volunteers are very talented, mentioned Joanne. They are very creative and intelligent. I am very blessed to facilitate this amazing group. Not only do they learn how to make items, but they give back to the community. In the past they have made hats and donated to Texas Oncology, wheel chair bag compartments and donated to adult nursing homes, and collected undergarment for Hurricane Harvey.

These volunteers teach others to sew through community centers, after school events, housing authorities, and colonias. There are a lot of benefits of sewing, physical and mental aspects of sewing can reduce stress.

We invite you to come and support these volunteers at their annual craft sale on November 3rd, 2018. You will be amaze on the items they created. For information about registration, contact Joanne Ureste-Armijo, County Extension Agent at (956) 282-1026 or visit https://hidalgo.agrilife.org/