A Parka-Making Workshop in Postville

Project Spotlight: A three-day workshop teaches beginner sewers the basics of garment construction.

Création Représentation Avenir possible
A group of 12 people stands in front of a building with blue clapboard siding, wearing parkas with various colours, cuts, and trims.

The Nunatsiavut Government hired April Williams, an Inuit seamstress residing in Happy Valley-Goose Bay to teach a parka-making workshop in Postville, Nunatsiavut. 

April specializes in clothing alterations, custom sewing, Labrador-style jackets and sealskin.

A group of 12 people stands in front of a building with blue clapboard siding, wearing parkas with various colours, cuts, and trims.
Parka-making workshop participants wearing their finished garments. COURTESY NUNATSIAVUT GOVERNMENT.
A person wearing a long-sleeved shirt, glasses, two long braids, and a black medical mask traces a pattern onto a large piece of dark blue fabric in a gym.
A participant in the parka-making workshop traces their pattern. COURTESY NUNATSIAVUT GOVERNMENT.

The parka making workshop was a three-day workshop for ten participants in which they started by learning how to properly take measurements and select appropriate sizes.

Participants learned how to cut the lining and outer material, and the importance of knowing how to cut against the grain. They have also learned how to adjust the pattern as needed.

A person wearing a hoodie and jeans and a blue medical mask uses scissors to cut the pieces of their black parka.
A participant in the parka-making workshop cuts out pieces of their parka. COURTESY NUNATSIAVUT GOVERNMENT.



The course, aimed at teaching beginner sewers, allowed participants to sew the pieces of the parka together and therefore to learn basic garment construction.

Fittings were completed to ensure no further adjustments were necessary.

Various pocket styles, sizes, etc. were discussed and many options were tried, based on participant preference.

A person seated behind a sewing machine, at right, looks at a piece of fabric held by the instructor, standing at right.
A participant in the parka-making workshop consults with instructor April Williams while sewing her parka. COURTESY NUNATSIAVUT GOVERNMENT.




Parkas were finished with the hemming of the coat, and sleeve and zipper installation. Some participants also decided to install a drawstring.

To complete the parka, fox tails were used to trim the hood in a traditional way.

The workshop was presented in partnership with the Nunatsiavut Govenrment’s Department of Tourism, Department of Culture, Department of Health and Social Development, and also the NL Craft Council. Plans are started now to have April teach the workshop in the remaining four Nunatsiavut Communities before the end of 2022.



This story is part of the Nunatsiavut Spotlight. View more content from the Spotlight here.