Soup and Bread

Soup & Thread FAQ


What is Soup & Thread? 

Soup & Thread is a series of free monthly sewing bees hosted by Soup & Bread at community spaces all over Chicago. With these bees we invite participants to help us decorate and stitch together more than 1,200 fabric panels that tell the full story of Soup & Bread. Each canvas panel is made from a scanned image of a “soup card,” the little signs that for 16 years volunteer cooks have placed in front of their crock pots, week after week, to tell the stories of their soups, letting guests know if the soup is vegan, or gluten-free; if it contains nuts or other allergens; if the recipe is culturally significant; if came from their grandma. As a collection, these cards are an informal archive that speaks to the power of community over time. For Soup & Thread each card has been digitally scanned and printed onto canvas, to be embellished by volunteer sewers.

How can I find out when the next event is?

See our schedule here or follow us on Instagram @soup_and_thread.

Do I need to know how to sew?

Sewing and crafting skills are nice but you don’t need any special expertise to participate — we will show you some basics.

Do I need to bring  any supplies?

No, we provide thread, needles, thimbles, scissors, pins, embroidery hoops, buttons, rick rack, and other fun embellishments.

Can I bring my kids?

Yes! Please feel free to bring the whole family. Soup & Thread events are all ages, and the kids who’ve come through so far seem to have a good time.

Will there be food?

Yes! We serve a light meal of soup and bread, donated by our friends at Urban Canopy (soup) and Middlebrow (bread) at each bee. There are usually two soups: one vegan and one not. The bread is standard country sourdough; if you require gluten-free bread we ask that you bring your own.

What will happen to the tablecloth when it’s done?

These sewing bees are phase one of a longer-term project. Once the tablecloth is complete we plan to first celebrate with an installation of the finished piece and supporting documentation at a gallery space TBD. Later, we hope to use it as a mechanism to stage pop-up picnics in community spaces around Chicago. These plans are all a work in progress though, and could still change.

How are you paying for this?

Soup & Thread is made possible in part by a grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.