“I Sew”: Local Woman’s Talent Is Changing Lives

There is no right way to handle the current stay-at-home situation. Some members of the community are seeking for ways to contribute to their neighborhood.

Ivy Whitlatch busy at work at her dining room workshop

Alexandria, VA – There is no right way to handle the current stay-at-home situation. For some that’s simply taking it one moment at a time and for others it’s seeking for ways to contribute to the community. That’s where Ivy Whitlatch comes in.

Whitlatch has been a member of the Old Town community since 1982 and is the chair of the Alexandria Archaeological Commission and the Historic Alexandria Resources Commission. She and Mr. Whitlatch are avid supporters of local restaurants and are currently doing what they can to support them by ordering take-out. But she wanted to do more.

“It was hard not to be able solve problems [people in the community] are facing, like parents with their children,” states Whitlatch. “ So I sent an email to Volunteer Alexandria that said ‘I sew’ and that’s how the ball got rolling.”

Whitlatch turned her dining room into a workshop to make masks. Using tea towels, she got to work to whip out masks using a pattern she found online. When she ran out of tea towels, Whitlatch put out a word to neighbors, asking if they had any fabric or tea towels they could donate. One neighbor donate a yard of fabric. With that, Whitlatch sewed 29 masks!

Ivy Whitlatch made 29 masks!

“On one of the tea towels I used,” recalls Whitlatch, “there was a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt. It was ‘It takes as much time to wish it as it does to plan it.”

Not one to need an invitation to action, Whitlatch noticed that historic building sites, such as The Lyceum, have started to be overgrown with weeds.

“There’s no need to add insult to injury,” states Whitlatch.

When she goes out on safe and socially distant appropriate walks, she pulls out the weeds so that the city doesn’t look like it’s been abandoned. Whitlatch is also currently working on getting a system into place to help remove weeds from historic sites.

“It doesn’t have to be formal,” Whitlatch says, in regard to what people can do to help the community. “It can be done with small things. You may have a talent that someone can benefit from. There’s value in that. Explore options. And you can always ask if some body needs help.”

ICYMI: Volunteer Alexandria: Bringing Communities Together During a Time of Social Distancing