From Tenino to Bend, Oregon, Love Covers looks to support nonprofits, build relationships through sewing


Sewing has always been a passion and a way to bring people together for Patti Ledesma, of Tenino, and Cathleen “Cat” Wallace, of Bend, Oregon, who have been friends for more than 30 years since they originally met at church in San Bernardino, California.

“I saw my kid playing with her kid, and I’m like, ‘I better figure out who her mom is,’” Wallace said. “We kept bumping into each other through serving opportunities, working in the nursery together, wound up in Bible studies together, and our kids were fast friends, so we became fast friends too.”

Now, they run Love Covers, a nonprofit dedicated to connecting community members and fostering relationships through the creative process of sewing. The nonprofit’s name comes from a Bible verse, I Peter 4:8, which reads, “Above all, maintain constant love for one another since love covers a multitude of sins.”

“In a divisive society, we just need to love one another, and this is a way to bring people together and say, ‘Yes, we’re always going to have divisions and differences, but you know, love covers,’” Ledesma said.

Ledesma has converted an old RV garage on her property near Tenino into a sewing studio complete with a dozen sewing machines and all of the materials one needs while Wallace has sewing machines of her own in Bend.

They’ll both travel back and forth as the nonprofit organizes community sewing events ranging from making quilts for veterans on hospice or palliative care to making grocery bags for the Tenino Community Service Center Food Bank Plus.

“That’s just a splash of what we do. Once a month, we host an event called ‘Sewing for Others,’” Ledesma said. “We have all the items pre-cut, ready to go. It’s an open house type event and sew whatever you want, from Christmas stockings for truckers, baby blankets for Options Pregnancy Clinic and tote bags for the Tenino Food Bank.”

A wide variety of people come to Love Covers, including homeschool students, 4-H groups, the Olympia Union Gospel Mission and other local nonprofits.

Love Covers was officially founded in 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic, but according to Wallace, the seeds for it had been planted years before that, back to when she and Ledesma would hand out meals at missions in San Bernardino and then Olympia.

“It was really bubbling in the womb for a long time because this is stuff we love to do and we wanted to share it,” Wallace said. “... Now, we both are quilters and we both have quilted for others as a side job, and out of that was, ‘I bet you there’s people that want to sew that don’t have access to this.’”

The first sewing class they held was about 10 years ago at Calvary Chapel Olympia.

Ledesma reached out to City Gates Ministries in Olympia, which hands out supplies such as diapers and clothing to those on the streets.

She asked Phil Prietto, founder of City Gates Ministries, if there were any women he knew on the streets who might be interested in a sewing class.

“We also reached out to another friend who worked at the time for Family (Education & Support) Services in Olympia, and we got some ladies to sign up from there,” Ledesma said. “... We had everything prepared for them, and we had mentors for each lady since we didn’t know their sewing experience. So sitting next to a woman who may have been experiencing homelessness or battling for sobriety, whatever, was a woman who, a lot of them came from the local quilting guild and most of them were retired professionals.”

Despite the diversity of backgrounds in this sewing class, which lasted six weeks and taught attendees how to make a quilt, relationships still blossomed. Ledesma and Wallace knew that, somehow, they wanted to continue teaching the sewing art form.

At the time, Wallace still lived in California and couldn’t regularly visit, so the planted seed that would blossom into Love Covers was left waiting to germinate. When Wallace moved to Bend four years ago, Ledesma knew it was time.   

Along with hosting sewing events benefiting other local nonprofits at Ledesma’s sewing studio, Love Covers is now also partnering with nonprofits to host events elsewhere in southwest Washington.

Recently, they partnered with the Survivor’s Advocacy Group to host a quilting event at the Veterans Memorial Museum in Chehalis, making quilts for veterans on palliative and hospice care.

The Survivor’s Advocacy Group is a Lewis County-based nonprofit that helps those left behind after the death of a loved one deal with handling grief, making funeral arrangements, dealing with creditors and debt collectors, carrying out wills and other tasks.

They plan to make the event monthly at the museum.

“It looks like it’s going to be every third Thursday of the month. We’re kind of working out the details still,” Ledesma said.

The next quilting event they will host will be with Survivor’s Advocacy Group. It is scheduled for Thursday, May 16, at the Veterans Memorial Museum.

“We really think that partnering with other nonprofits makes our effort go that much further,” Ledesma said.

Wallace added that, in Bend, she also works with the Shepherd’s House Ministries shelter to sew laundry bags for those living in the shelter. She also hosts sewing events for Dress a Girl Around the World nonprofit and the Sew Powerful Purse Project.

“These gals made laundry bags from their friends, because that’s where they came from,” Wallace said. “It’s hard to describe the sense of accomplishment they felt in saying, ‘I did this,’ and they could never have, because who has a sewing machine or fabric?”

Dress a Girl Around the World provides brightly colored dresses for girls world-wide to not only clothe them but also raise awareness about human trafficking, while the Sew Powerful Purse Project provides purses, clothes, hygiene products and food to those in extreme poverty in Zambia, Africa.   

As for what’s next for Love Covers, Ledesma said the goal is to get a van along with more sewing machines for a mobile sewing studio.

“After the veterans event, I realized it would be great if we had a whole other set of machines,” Ledesma said.

Once Love Covers has a mobile studio, they will be able to leave the sewing machines they have set up in the studio at Ledesma’s house while still having a fully equipped mobile studio ready to drive anywhere.

For those looking to get involved with Love Covers and attend a Sewing for Others session at Ledesma’s house or another event, dates, times and locations can be found on the Love Covers website at

To find out how to donate to Love Covers, whether it be a financial donation or supplies such as fabric or a sewing machine, visit

Additionally, Love Covers also offers volunteer opportunities for those interested in helping Ledesma and Wallace teach their sewing classes. More information on volunteering opportunities, including a background check form, can be found at

To contact Love Covers, message the nonprofit on Facebook at or on Instagram at