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What are my hands doing? Where are my eyes?

Pablo Reiniger, Private Lesson teacher and previous volunteer at the Open Sewing Course Recorded by Barbara Imobersteg for series "How I got to know Social Fabric"


"You need to go to Social Fabric," Melly said. She was a participant in my workshop on upcycling and she could probably judge me well. 

As a garment technician, I had just completed my additional training in Fashion Design and was keeping my eyes open for something new. It had to fall within my area of expertise, but at the same time be something completely different from what I had done before. 


Pablo Reiniger creating a pattern style on a dressmaker's dummy at Social Fabric sewing atelier in Zurich.

In my atelier, I spend hours alone with my machine and the fabrics. Now and then customers, but otherwise focused on the work, the order, and the timing. I often work late into the night. Social contacts suffer. Then at Social Fabric, I found a very vibrant social life. I had taken Melly's advice to my heart and contacted Heather Kirk. 


And yes, it was indeed something very different from what I was used to - and yet it was exactly my world. 

I was fascinated by things: There were sewing supplies from all times. Remnants of all kinds gave off the flair of a flea market. There were old household sewing machines. "My goodness, what they have already experienced," went through my head. The refugees were sewing away lightheartedly, choosing fabrics I would never have chosen and coming up with ideas I would never have thought of. 


"This is inspiring, this is what I was looking for”, I thought.

I joined as a volunteer for the Open Sewing Course. The aspect of teaching was important to me. After my years of professional experience, I felt the need to pass on my knowledge. Now I was challenged. How can I convey it? What are my hands doing, where are my eyes? I had never thought about it in such detail. I also began offering workshops, such as Pattern Making, and later Private Lessons. 


Social Fabric was still in its pioneering phase. 

There was a lot we had to try and figure out. Everything was a bit chaotic, still unclear, still open... but always relaxed! With a lot of brainstorming and discussions, we developed structures around responsibility and certain rules. 


Over the years Social Fabric has improved the quality in all processes, but - and this is as important: it has remained the same in its principle and commitment.

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