Group gives sewing support to Lake County Parks programs
By Sue Ellen Ross Post-Tribune correspondent February 10, 2014 9:42AM
Sewing facilitator Megan Faulkner coordinates the making of tutus for a little girls' program at Bellaboo's, one of the Lake County Parks Department's facilities. | Sue Ellen Ross/For Sun-Times Media
After Janet Kroll retired, the Crown Point resident kept busy with family and hobbies. But when she saw an advertisement about a Lake County Parks sewing group needing volunteers, it piqued her interest.
“I’ve sewn for many, many years — it’s my thing, something I love to do,” she said. “This volunteer opportunity was too good to pass up.”
In her second year with the group, named “Buckley Babes,” Kroll brings her skills and sewing machine weekly during the months of January and February to help repair and design costumes and other items used in the Lake County Parks tours and programs.
Meeting in the conference room at the Park and Visitor Services office on Randolph Street, approximately 10 to 12 women participate each week.
“This year, our big job is making new costumes for the Sleepy Hollow program,” said volunteer coordinator Megan Faulkner. “We’re also making day caps for Buckley Homestead, tutus for Bellaboo’s, tablecloths for Gibson Woods, and working on miscellaneous repair work.”
At the end of each season, the park locations give a wish list to the ladies in regard to needed repairs and other jobs. The group will attempt to complete the lists as best they can, during the off-season in January and February, longer if needed.
Many materials are donated, and some natural supplies have been used, such as the sheep’s wool — sheared each year at Buckley — for judges’ wigs.
The ladies started their productive get-togethers in 1987, headed by Buckley Homestead manager Becky Crabb. The mission was to help add to the wardrobe needed for the living history farm.
“Costumes were in much demand, especially since most volunteers didn’t have appropriate garments in their closet,” Crabb said. “With the expansion of programs in the parks departments, it became evident that there would be much more to do and Megan took over the role of coordinating the volunteer sewing activity.”
Similar to the sewing circles of old, the members make a day of it, bringing snacks and lunch for their break times.
In addition to the relaxing social camaraderie, another benefit to attending is that the ladies learn about different techniques and tips from each other. One member may have experience in a specific area, such as pin-tucking or repair work, and can relate this to the others.
The door is always open for those wanting to join the Buckley Babes, and specific sewing experience is not needed. In fact, some members don’t sew at all.
“There are other things they can do,” Faulkner said. “We have material to be cut, things to be ironed, buttons to be put on and other chores for our many projects. Everyone is welcome.”
For more information about the Buckley Babes, call 947-7275.