Piece by piece, love is stitched into the fabric of every sheet made for baby beds. Measuring fabric, cutting elastic, dropping the needle – it’s all part of the ritual as Dorothy Suchomski makes crib sheets for the Pregnancy Care Center in Belleville.
At 85, Suchomski has been sewing the sheets for more than 30 years, and Celeste Cocheba, 96, director of the Pregnancy Care Center for its 34 years, said the sheets are a vital part of every layette that is given to expectant mothers.
Much of the material is donated, Suchomski said, and she measures and cuts it to fit the dimensions of a crib each time. When people move into nursing homes or break up housekeeping, they know she uses it for crib sheets and they give it to her.
Cocheba and volunteer Gloria Schwartz went to Suchomski’s apartment in Pinckneyville recently where they picked up about 60 crib sheets that she had made for them.
Suchomski, a life-long Catholic, attended St. Barbara in Scheller after she was married in 1952, later moving to St. Mary Magdalen in Todd’s Mill where she continues to attend Mass.
Raising nine children and then returning to school at Rend Lake for her nursing education, Suchomski stays busy, making the crib sheets and now making a quilt for her grandson who will graduate in May, also at Rend Lake.
Quilting since she was 8 years old, she said, she quilted with the Catholic Daughters of America at Todd’s Mill for 53 years before the organization disbanded there, and she joined the Catholic Daughters in Du Quoin.
Suchomski has worked at a number of jobs over time: in a school cafeteria, at the sawmill with her husband, as a nurse. She knows what today’s young people go through with their student loans because she had one too.
Besides the crib sheets, she has also found many free quilting patterns online and made baby blankets that she donates to her daughter, a nurse at a dialysis center.
People sitting in a chair for dialysis that takes at least three hours, sometimes fall asleep and the blankets make them more comfortable, she said. Blankets are a great way to show people that they care, as it shows a lot of love, so if you do feel inspired to do the same then you can look into creating t shirt blankets yourself to follow in Suchomski’s footsteps.
Throughout her life, Suchomski has used her skills with the needle to make life easier and more beautiful for others, especially those who need to know someone cares about them.
While Suchomski said “the work keeps me out of trouble,” her gifts of time and talent are truly appreciated.
Schwartz describes Suchomski as “a special lady” who “saves us a lot of money.”
To relax, Suchomski said, she reads although with all of her projects, she doesn’t have a lot of time to relax.
“I thank God for getting me through every day,” she said.