Rightfully Sewn’s Seamstress Training Program exists to prepare participants for jobs paying living wages in the sewn product industry. We offer three levels every year, each one lasting ten weeks:

Level I: Basic Sewing

Level II: Tailoring and Alterations

Level III: Production Specialist

Following a feasibility study we conducted during FastTrac® NewVenture™ in the spring of 2015, we launched this innovative initiative to meet the need of women for well-paying, full-time employment and the need of local fashion industry businesses for skilled seamstresses. We engaged a diverse panel, including professionals who teach sewing, leaders from social service agencies and women's business development organizations, and sewn product manufacturers, retailers, and tailors based in Kansas City who need to hire skilled seamstresses. They advised on the development of our Level I: Basic Sewing curriculum:

  • Maria Behnen, Arts Institute International of Kansas City, Lenexa

  • Jeanie Brewster, Midwest Women's Business Enterprise Council

  • Lisa Choules, Elevé Dancewear

  • Evans Cooper, Emergency Alterations

  • David Hanzlich, Sheffield Place

  • Pamela Lucas, Paseo Academy of Fine and Performing Arts

  • Maria Mendoza, Hispanic Economic Development Corporation

  • Regina McKinney, Sheffield Place

  • Kate Nickols, Katie Lee Bridal

  • Linnca Stevens, Weave Gotcha Covered

  • Lonnie Vanderslice, Weave Gotcha Covered

  • Kelly Welch, Sheffield Place

  • Janiese Wesley, Sheffield Place

One of the panel advisors, Pamela Lucas, was then hired as Rightfully Sewn’s Director of Curricula and Instruction. She graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, has a lifetime teaching certificate specializing in Apparel and Textiles from the state of Missouri, and nearly 30 years of fashion industry and teaching experience. She now leads the program, curricula development, and advisory engagement. She engaged the following professionals to develop Level II: Tailoring and Alterations:

  • Karen Guthrie, JoS. A. Bank

  • Rahma Ibuni, Nordstrom

  • Kate Nickols, Essense of Australia

Participants are Americans and refugees who have been identified through our social service agency partners, a group we are continually expanding:

  • Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas

  • Guadalupe Centers

  • Hope Faith Ministries

  • Hope House

  • Jackson County CASA

  • Jewish Family Services

  • Jewish Vocational Service

  • KC for Refugees

  • Literacy KC


  • Newhouse

  • Once We Were Refugees

  • Sheffield Place

Under the tutelage of Pamela Lucas, Rightfully Sewn Director of Curriculum and Instruction, and classroom mentors, the participants move through a rigorous curriculum, visit potential employer sites, and carry out regular homework assignments. Upon graduation, Rightfully Sewn assists participants into seamstress jobs in the Kansas City community. We boast a 95% graduation rate and 81% seamstress job placement rate.

If you are interested in becoming a professional seamstress, a social service agency partner, an employer, or a program donor, please contact us 816-491-8136.

2019 RIGHTFULLY SEWN Seamstress training program graduates: Alterations & Tailoring

Left to right: Farida, Samina, Bibi, Penny, Sakina, and Fatima (Photo by Rivas Photography)

Left to right: Farida, Samina, Bibi, Penny, Sakina, and Fatima (Photo by Rivas Photography)

2018 RIGHTFULLY SEWN Seamstress training program graduates: Basic sewing

Rightfully Sewn Graduation_Web Size_84 (2).JPG

Left to right: Odette, Uwera, Wakubenga, Muhawe, Bodoor, Ghaythaa, Sakina, and Ardo (Photo by Chase Castor)

2017 RIGHTFULLY SEWN Seamstress training program PILOT graduates: basic sewing

Left to right: Marzia, Sholeh, Amna, Jasmin, Liliane, and Andrescia (Photo by Jeff Evrard)

Left to right: Marzia, Sholeh, Amna, Jasmin, Liliane, and Andrescia (Photo by Jeff Evrard)

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© Rightfully Sewn, 1800 Wyandotte Street, Suite 204, Kansas City, MO 64108, 816-491-8136