The March Quilt program, and its creators, covers a different topic every year. The March Quilt program, and its creators, covers a different topic every year. Tessa Case - Staff Writer

Inspired by a successful run in 2015, the Bib and Tucker Sew-Op decided to make the March Quilts an annual project. The 2016 theme is the gender wage gap.

The gender wage gap refers to women, on average, earning less income than their male counterparts. A white female typically makes 79 cents for every dollar a man makes, black females earn around 64 cents and Latina women earn 55 cents.

Lillis Taylor, co-founder of the Bib and Tucker Sew-Op, a Birmingham-based sewing cooperate “whose mission is to cultivate skills and community for those who sew or want to sew,” said she was inspired to start the March Quilts project because the organization is made up of women from all over Birmingham, across all demographics. A conversation with Bib and Tucker Sew-OP co-founder Annie Bryant inspired Taylor to begin the March Quilt initiative.

“She said to me one day how amazing it was that we could sit together in a room like this, how fifty years ago it would have been impossible,” Taylor said. “I got to thinking how lucky I am to exist in this world where people fought for equality.”

Taylor, who is also the co-founder and principal designer of Tre Lilli at UAB Art Play, decided then to use her connections to start the March Quilts program. The 2015 project resulted in 461 quilt blocks that produced three quilts in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery marches.

“Rather than focusing on the same issue every year, the March Quilt was a great way to shed light on different civil and human rights annually,” Taylor said.

She emphasized that the Sew-Op wanted to choose issues that were important to them, and that many of the members were inspired by Lily Ledbetter, the namesake of the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, who is from Jacksonville, Ala.
The logo for the 2016 March Quilt was designed by UAB senior Lisa Nguyen who is graduating this spring with a BFA in graphic design.

“I did some research on the wage gap, and the different percentages of white women, black women, Hispanic women, all the different percentages inspired me to create the pie chart,” Nguyen said. “It was exciting for me to create a design that also meant something.”

The turnout for this year’s sewing sessions was lower than that of 2015. Taylor cited possible mixed feelings or lack of knowledge on the issue as possible reasons, but she remains resolute in her determination to continue the project.

“We’re really lucky that the UAB art department, that they see community relationships as being important,” Taylor said. “It would not be possible for us to have had the success we had last year if it were not for the people who helped us last year.” Taylor gave particular praise to the involvement of Lake and Ragland.

She also expressed the importance of community relationships for students and extended the offer to get involved with the March Quilt as well as the general activities of the Sew-Op. The organization meets from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Tuesday, and encourages people of all ages, races and genders to come, according to Taylor.

“What makes an institution thrive is how connected to the community they are,” Taylor said. “The city is alive right now, there are so many opportunities, change can happen right now. I really encourage students to look in their own backyard for opportunities.”

Bib and Tucker Sew-Op is located in Woodlawn, at 4915B 5th Ave South. For more info on the Sew-Op, go to