Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Cement Bags, Tools of the Trade

In a country where the income level can be as low as one or two dollars a day, life choices are limited. Sometimes women in our classes don't even have the funds to buy fabric to practice on. But that doesn't stop them.

What do they use instead? Cement bags.

Cement bags are made of multiple layers. Our students pull them apart carefully, then use the layers to draw shapes and cut pieces. Then they sew the pieces together just as if they were standard fabric instead of cement bags.

The resulting garments, perfectly crafted down to the fly and the topstitched pockets, look novel to the Western eye. In fact, recycling the unusual material draws attention to the art of fashion. But for the Ugandan student, they are a vital learning tool: the first material they work with, hands-on - and later a sample they can use to show off their skills to customers.

Written by Tara Hawks, Fount's Vocational Development Director

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