Sewing Acts of Kindness: Bend woman repairs, donates sewing machines

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Pat Johanson sows seeds of kindness, one restored machine at a time – 250 so far

(Update: added video, comments from Johanson, link to group)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) — The arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic has been a turning point for many people.

For Pat Johanson, it was an opportunity to sow (as in sewing) seeds of kindness in the central Oregon community.

“When the lockdown started I didn’t know what to do,” Johanson recalled Thursday. “I was very stressed – I was really worried. I have kids, we were stuck at home. I wanted to do something to help. I wanted to be part of the community and help solve this problem, instead of from sitting at home and watching TV and being stressed. The hospital needed face masks, so I started sewing the masks.

After the need for masks diminished, Johanson turned to repairing broken sewing machines around her home.

“They need to get back to work – that’s the whole point of having a sewing machine is that you use it,” she said.

The sewing machine restoration process, Johanson said, provides her with a sense of satisfaction, growth and therapy.

She worked her way through hours of YouTube videos to learn.

“Somewhere in the middle of it all, I found out I had breast cancer – and that was of course a very upsetting diagnosis for me, as well as anyone else,” Johanson said. . “But focusing on these machines and the process of working through them freed me from thinking about the fear and helped me cope better.”

Johanson and his project partner, Art Lim, a retired engineer, made it a hobby to salvage sewing machines from closets, sheds, storage units and thrift stores before fixing and passing them on. to the people who will benefit from it.

“And it’s very satisfying to take this machine that’s not moving at all – that’s just been totally stuck for decades, and you turn it back on!” Johanson remarked.

So far they have restored and donated 250 sewing machines throughout central Oregon.

Several of the machines were distributed to Confederate Tribes in Warm Springs, the Bend Public Library, assisted living facilities, and the DIYcave.

However, Johanson says she needs more donations to keep the good deeds going. She is ready to take sewing machines of any condition.

You can contact her on her Facebook page, Pat’s Rescue Sewing Machinesto donate or request sewing machines.

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