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The communal area of a former hotel converted into temporary refugee housing was transformed into a pop-up open sewing lab on a weekly basis.

Set up for use by inhabitants of the building, people from all ages participated. Children have used it to learn sewing basics and make small gifts for friends and classmates, while adults used the lab to alter old and donated garments for a better fit.

Participants with advanced sewing skills created new garments from scratch: evening gowns to attend folk dances or traditional garments from their home country. In the process, they taught others and the building's neighbours became more aware of each other's skills as well as more open to DIY solutions.

The lab became an opportunity for social exchange in the communal area of the building, overcoming age and language barriers. Participants were made aware of other communal activities as well as shared spaces and open workshops in the neighbourhood, to promote more exchange between longterm and shortterm inhabitants, old and new neighbours of Moabit.

As the pop-up lab was paused due to Coronavirus measures, the project maintained its relations with the housing through production of washable face masks during individual shifts in an external workshop. The masks were distributed ahead of regulations prescribing masks in shops and public transport.

SOCIAL SEWING Workshop/Participatory Making, 2019/2020

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Open sewing workshops for inhabitants of refugee housing, Berlin-Moabit. Supported by Projekt Lebendige Nachbarschaft (LeNa) with funds of the German Senate Department for Integration, Labour and Social Services.