Secret Lives: Reaping What She Sews

While growing up in a working-class neighborhood in Michigan, Dean Carol A. Lefebvre remembers her parents designating a strict budget for school clothes. Once the money was gone, it was gone, so Lefebvre and her sister learned to make wise choices in quality and affordability.

They also learned how to sew.

“Our budget for school clothes was limited, but we had unlimited access to fabric,” she recalls with a laugh. “We’d buy things like jeans, then sew our own tops and dresses. It was fun.”

She’s maintained the habit throughout her life — Lefebvre has a sewing studio in her home — and she expanded on the talent when she moved to Augusta in 1989. “I thought since quilting is traditionally a southern skill, I should learn it. It would help me fit in and feel like part of the community.”

She mastered the skill quickly and has enjoyed it ever since.

Quilts — batting enclosed between layers of fabric and kept in place by lines of stitching — emerged as an economical way to salvage scraps of materials, producing blankets often made of recycled clothing. “Back in the old days, quilts were really utilitarian,” Lefebvre says. These days, the hobby has become a highly social and artistic means of creative expression.

“Quilts take me a long time to complete as I am only able to work on them for short periods of time,” says Lefebvre, “but I still manage to make about three to five a year. Because I turn out so few quilts in a year, I primarily quilt for family, as well as friends who are like family.”

She recently added yet another beneficiary to her list. Lefebvre made a University of Georgia-themed quilt and donated it to a lucky raffle winner, with proceeds benefiting the American Heart Association. Dr. Allen Braselton, assistant professor for patient services, was the winner of the quilt.

“Georgia is our biggest feeder school,” she says, “so I thought it would be fun to tie that connection into a quilt.”

Says Lefebvre, “I’ve always loved art — we have over 180 pieces of it in The Dental College of Georgia Building — and it’s a great feeling to use my creativity to benefit a good cause.”

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