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30-34 Toomuc Valley Rd, Pakenham VIC 3810
92 Kangan Dr, Berwick VIC 3806
It may be just a humble laundry bag, but it has to the power to brighten the lives of Australia’s deployed servicemen and women.
Year 9 student Jessica Layton has sewed 27 laundry bags and a quilt for a voluntary organisation called Aussie Hero Quilts and Laundry Bags, as part of her Personal Best project.
The personalised bags are in bright colours instead of the standard military-issue colours, giving a connection to home and a welcome morale boost to Australia’s deployed servicemen and women.
Jessica, from the Pakenham Campus, was excited to be invited to Canberra recently to attend the 6th Annual Aussie Hero Quilts Thank You event at the Australian Defence Force Academy. The founder of Aussie Hero Quilts, Jan-Maree Ball invited Jessica to attend to share her project and present her laundry bags to Defence Force personnel.
Jessica said a highlight of the trip was the chance to speak to officers and tour the Royal Military College Duntroon, which she said was “incredible”.
While Jessica’s mum originally inspired the idea (she also sews for the organisation), Jessica tackled the project with virtually no sewing skills.
“Before I started this project, the only experience I’d had sewing was in Year 7 textiles class, so the initial challenge was learning to sew in a straight line,” she said. “It was also important to make sure that the seam I was sewing was a consistent measurement.”
She began sewing laundry bags while waiting for the quilt fabric to arrive. Each bag took her two to three hours, but her sewing speed increased as she went along.
Jessica was thrilled with the response from the servicemen and women to her laundry bags and the quilt, which was on display during the event.
“It’s a way of letting them know that people other than just their family and friends care about what they’re doing,” she said.
• Jessica’s project is just one of many creations on display at the upcoming Personal Best night at the Pakenham Campus on Thursday 2 November.
Jessica during her visit to Canberra
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Gate C, Syme Rd, Pakenham VIC 3810