Inside the Arizona Stitch Lab, the whirl of the sewing machine is a constant sound. Because between layers of material and thread, Eddie Jeon said he’s learning how to make more than just clothes or upholstery. He said it’s an art.

“I just want to make things that I’m proud of,” Jeon said. “I think clothing is one of the most accessible forms of artistic expression there is.”

And while he attends college, he’s furthering his sewing skills at the Arizona Stitch Lab. For six weeks, people are able to learn the fundamentals about industrial sewing for free.

“We started with a focus on garment construction or clothing but we realized that the majority of jobs here in town are industrial like upholstery and aircraft,” Maggie Marquez, one of the instructors, said.

The lab began last year by the owner of Sonoran Stitch Factory, Erica Yngve.

“We can create jobs and bring the sewing industry back here to southern Arizona,” she said.

In the last year, 90 people have graduated from the program.

“A lot of them got jobs in the industry or started their own business which I’m particularly proud of because that means we’re paying it forward,” she said.

The program has received federal and local grants to grow the program. Now, they’re offering classes in Spanish and opening a lab in Winslow, Arizona.

“We’re applying for grants and looking for sponsorships to keep this program sustainable moving forward,” Yngve said.