Sew From the Heart

At the library, we encourage you to pursue your passions, learn new skills, and have fun doing it! We strive to provide all the right resources to allow you to take on any new endeavor, and this May we’re embracing the mantra “Try Something New.”

Meet Anna McWilliams – Anna, an Alaska native, found her way to Greene County with her husband Toby, and they have been here for 12 years now. They have two boys, Zachary (age 7) and Joshua (age 5). Her youngest son, Joshua, was born with Achondroplasia, also known as dwarfism.

A Fairborn Community Library patron, Anna crossed paths with Ms. Jeri and soon realized she could learn to alter her son Joshua’s clothing at the library.

I had the chance to discuss what made Anna want to try something new at the library and what it means to her and her son.


What inspired you to attend one of Ms. Jeri’s sewing workshops? What type of sewing project were you working on?

I saw Ms. Jeri with a sewing machine at the desk and struck up a conversation. I asked her about recommendations for learning to hem Joshua’s pants and shirts. She gave me some tips and told me about the sewing workshop, and I signed up.

The reason for my interest in sewing/alterations is that Joshua was born with Achondroplasia (dwarfism). Although dwarfism is rare, Achondroplasia is the most common form. Some of the physical aspects of Achondroplasia include short arms and legs, typical-length torso, and a larger head.

During the workshop, Ms. Jeri taught me how to measure, pin, and sew a new hem on Joshua’s jeans, and how to move the cuff on one of Joshua’s favorite shirts. I was so excited to see these altered clothes on Joshua! The shirt looked like it had been made just for him.


The clothing industry is known for typically catering to specific body types. Have you had trouble in the past finding clothes that properly fit Joshua?

Yes, Joshua’s unique physique (short arms, short legs, and a typical-length torso) makes clothes shopping a bit of a challenge. We buy clothes that fit his waist and torso, then we roll the cuffs on his pants, long-sleeve shirts, and jackets.

At age 5, Joshua doesn’t seem to mind that his pants and shirt cuffs are rolled. But as he gets older, having clothes that properly fit him could become more important to him. And I want to be ready with the sewing skills needed.


You told one of our librarians that being able to hem Joshua’s clothes made you feel empowered. Can you expand on this and tell us why is this seemingly small act to an outside person so important to you and your family?

I think it comes down to being able to do something helpful for Joshua.

Having a child with physical differences like dwarfism can feel overwhelming at times. Most things in life (clothes, furniture, sinks, toilets, playground equipment, door handles, light switches, etc.) are made for average-height people. So, as his mom, it’s easy to only see the challenges Joshua faces or will face in the future.

Being able to hem his pants and shirts may seem like a small thing, but it feels empowering to know that I can learn how to make his clothes fit him.


Can you describe your experience with Ms. Jeri and why it was so impactful for you?

I feel grateful to Ms. Jeri for showing me that I can learn new things, like hemming clothes, by just taking that first step! Her workshop was fun and stress-free.

As a bonus, I realized that once I got sewing, it was a calming activity - something we could all use more of, right?


Anna went on to recommend Ms. Jeri’s sewing workshops to those at all sewing skill levels. The library fosters a wonderful community for beginners and experts alike, all there to help each other with different sewing projects.

Ms. Jeri hosts virtual and in-person sewing workshops for all ages every month at the Fairborn Community Library – sign up for one of her programs here!

This May, try something new at your community library – you won’t know how much a new skill may impact you and your loved ones until you try! Find all programs here