We Made This | Artisan Products by Refugee Women

Fashioning Change


Sweeta Afrooz and Jessica Shaver

As a refugee from Afganistan, Sweeta has been here for almost 3 years. Initially, Sweeta found out about We Made This from someone on the bus and has completed both the beginner and intermediate programs since then. She is known around we made this for her diligent work ethic, patience, compassion, kindness, and gentle spirit.

Sweeta’s design was inspired by the lack of fitting dresses she saw at stores; She is working alongside local Denver designer, Jessica Shaver, to complete her design. Their dress is an A-line design with a fitted top, cap sleeves, and an umbrella skirt. Sweeta’s favorite part of the design is the skirt because it is flattering and fun to make.

Although Sweeta had done some sewing in her home country, but wanted to learn more and be able to work in a company in America. She is excited about gaining skills in making clothes and is thankful to be working with Jessica. Sweeta describes Jessica as helpful, very friendly, and patient, helping her with pattern making and enjoying teaching her new techniques and abilities.

Shaymaa Al Mallalah and Brooks Luby

Shaymaa is known around We Made This as one who is always smiling—charming and joyous. Originally from Iraq, Shaymaa came to America just 5 months ago with her two brothers. Shaymaa recently completed the beginners course at WMT and is now in our intermediate program.

When Shaymaa’s brothers heard about WMT, they knew she would love the program because she has always loved sewing. As a young girl in Iraq, Shaymaa began sewing her own clothes at 9 years old. Shaymaa loves sewing because with it, she can create her own clothing.

Shaymaa’s inspiration for her design comes from her vivid imagination where she describes having many ideas and concepts for fashion. Shaymaa loves that her design is a dress: “I like that it is for a party; it is fancy."

Shaymaa is working with the designer Brooks Luby to complete her design. Shaymaa finds herself amazed by Brooks’s design studio and that Brooks works by herself. Shaymaa admires that Brooks is independent because "designing needs concentration and Brooks has that.” Brooks is described by Shaymaa as organized, friendly, and helpful in the design process.


Daralneima (Dara) Yussuf and Ruth Holden

Dara completed the We Made This intermediate program in December of 2016. Arriving from Sudan, Dara moved to Denver 4 years ago. Dara wants to learn to sew to help herself and her family by making them clothing. She also loves learning new things and thoroughly enjoys sewing. One day, she dreams of opening her own business or working for a big company by using her sewing skills. Dara is known around We Made This for her determination, humor, and majestic presence.

Dara’s co-design project is with Denver’s local designer, Ruth Holden. Together, they are creating a full-length dress with long sleeves. Dara’s favorite part about the dress is its skirt. Dara is delighted to be working with Ruth because although Dara has much experience sewing, she does not have much experience in the design aspect like Ruth does. Dara is learning an abundance from her partnership with Ruth and characterizes her as an “amazing designer.” Dara distinguishes Ruth as helpful; she helps to show her “what is good and what is not good.”