The Art of Sewing


This month features the sewing of Maria Cabrera, a volunteer at Old Mission Santa Barbara in Santa Barbara, California. For Maria, sewing is a way to be active within the community and serve others.



How did you start sewing?
I’m originally from Colombia and my mother owned her own sewing school near Bogotá. By age 9, I would sew things to donate. As a teenager in California, I made my own clothes and sewed in the evenings so my parents could attend night school and learn English.

Where do you find inspiration for projects?
Ideas for new projects come from seeing a need and realizing I can help. I find joy in sewing when I see the person wearing what I’ve made because it’s what they need and I can be part of it.

What is your hope for someone who sees what you’ve created?
I hope others will be inspired to sew and encouraged that they can do it too!


Francisco (my husband, not a friar) and I at the Mission’s tailor shop. He is wearing the grey habit (a costume) I created for the 2013 Old Spanish Days, Fiesta parade float.





After researching historical and cultural sources, I created this feather cape for the Mission’s museum in honor of a possible garment made and worn by The Lone Woman, from the book, “Island of the Blue Dolphins.”





As a volunteer assistant in the tailor shop, I sew real full-size habits for friars as well as souvenir bottle covers for the gift shop.



Do you have a creative hobby? Are you a musician, artist, poet, photographer, sculptor, knitter, mural painter, or writer? We want to feature the talents of our Province-wide family. Please reach out to Kathleen Flanagan, Executive Director, Office of Mission Integration and Ministry Support, at to share your art.