Suffolk Refugee Support Sewing Group Display

24/01/2023 - 17/03/2023

Christchurch Mansion


Suitable for Everyone

Arts and Craft

About this Display

Discover a colourful display of textiles at Christchurch Mansion, all created by Suffolk Refugee Support’s sewing group and their families. Woven around the Mansion’s rooms, it includes handmade crochet toys, Tudor inspired dresses, and celebration clothes.

Suffolk Refugee Support’s sewing group creates amazing things using donated fabrics, machines, wool and thread, some of which are inspired by Ipswich Museums’ costume collections. Dress making, sewing and embroidery are skills which are learnt young in many countries. Girls learn to embroider and sew from their mothers and grandmothers. Several members of the group can cut a dress from fabric with no pattern, simply by looking. The intricate embroidery you’ll see at Christchurch Mansion has also done with no pattern.


“Many of the women who come to our sewing group have had isolated lives since arriving here, at home with young children and little opportunity to learn English. The group provides an important meeting place for women from many backgrounds, all with different skills, working together and learning from each other. It gives people the chance to build friendships, gain confidence, make something they’re proud of and have fun too. The quality of the embroidery and the skill of the seamstresses is wonderful. In the grandeur of Christchurch Mansion – once owned by Huguenot refugees – it is wonderful to see the dresses and other items take their place in Ipswich’s long history of embracing refugees.”

Sarah, Projects and Skills Coordinator at Suffolk Refugee Support


“I used to make dresses in Afghanistan and I would like to show some of our traditional dresses. Sewing group is very important for us – it helps to improve our sewing skills and to learn UK culture at the same time as improving our English as well. It gives us the opportunity to work with different people, learn different cultures and be creative.”

Kandi from Afghanistan


For further information about the group and the things they make, visit their website: The group sell items to raise funds for more sewing machines.

For useful information, such as how to find Christchurch Mansion, what to expect when you arrive and what facilities we have, we recommend reading our Access information: Access at Christchurch Mansion | Ipswich Museums


This event is free to all.

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Exhibitions + Displays

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