After a hectic beginning to the week driving children to appointments and shopping, I decided (hoped!) to make this morning sewing time for me. I found several half-yard lengths of fabric along with some small tee shirts I got on sale a few weeks ago. It thought it was time to make some toddler-sized Little Dresses for Africa! Since the tee shirts didn’t need anything except trimming, it was only a matter of seaming the fabric, gathering the waistline and sewing it all together. It took around 30 minutes for each dress.
Remember, no matter how many dresses get made, there is always one more child waiting for her first dress. Boys? Google Little Dresses for Africa and they have simple patterns for making shorts for boys out of tee shirts and they are also much needed. If you like to sew, consider donating some of that time and effort.
As many of you know, I love to sew and enjoy making dresses for Little Dresses for Africa. Needless to say, dresses of all sizes are needed. The basic pattern is simple to sew but once the little girls are heading into teen years, the original pattern could possibly be a little snug around the hips. My current ‘invention’ is to cut off the original pattern at the waist and then either half again or double the fabric for the skirt. It makes a becoming dress and there is more freedom of movement. Also, it is a good way to use bits and pieces of fabric to extend the width by getting artistic in how you add the extra fabric to the skirt. This is my trial run so we will see how things go!
I provided a closeup of the waistline to show how the gathers went and the extra row of stitches for wear and tear. I’m finding there are lots of ways to make a basic pattern into something different.
After making some repairs and adjustments to our home, I was finally able to settle down this past month and get some dresses and tote bags sewn for Little Dresses for Africa. A trip to the fabric warehouse only helped further my inspirations. Unfortunately, for me, I can sew three or four dresses in a day but always put off actually packing them into boxes and getting them in the mail. That is why I am now taking time this week to finally take on that task. I have almost 50 dresses ready to go out and have run out of room to hang them in the meantime!
Tote bags are welcome, too, so my fabric scraps are getting put to good use.
I was an art major in college but marriage and children distracted me from my painting years ago. Discovered, however, that the abstract artist in me is always finding ways to show up in either my cooking/baking or sewing! This week, I got the idea of being more creative with the Little Dresses for Africa and liked what evolved in the course of my sewing!
I had a couple of yards of fabric on the shelf which was enough to make a dress but the color on its own was a bit dull. I went to one of my scrap boxes (yes, I have more than one, don’t ask!) and found some complementary bits and pieces of fabric that worked well and with a little applique time, turned into a ‘original’ creation. The second dress didn’t have enough fabric for one dress but with some cutting and adjusting, it melded into a whole dress that will probably never be repeated.
Blessed with some extra time this past month, I was able to make some more Little Dresses for Africa and spent this week getting them packed for mailing. With my daughter grown, this has been a perfect outlet for sewing little girl dresses. It is fun to mix and match colors, change the pattern around a bit to ‘invent’ a new look, and put decorative touches on the dresses with the addition of two pockets on every dress.
Anyone out there interested in doing this, you can get all the information, dress pattern, etc., here: http://www.littledressesforafrica.org/blog/
Since I like to include a tee shirt with each dress, I often get remarks from other shoppers when I come to the register with an armload of them. One time, the lady in front of me at the check out asked what on earth I was doing with so many tee shirts and I explained. She suddenly got a glimmer in her eye and mused, “My babies are all grown and I STILL love to sew . . .” She immediately asked for information and I imagine she is busy with some worthwhile sewing even as I type! Another time, the cashier asked about my purchases and said she doesn’t sew a lot but the pattern seemed easy and said she was going to see about doing this, too.
I had one of those weeks where I had plotted out days for sewing but every day brought an unexpected interruption. Nevertheless, I stole some time here and there and got another batch of dresses ready for mailing.
I realized, today, that I had been spending more time sewing than thinking about mailing out the Little Dresses I have been working on. I had twelve of them handing in front of my fabric cupboards and decided to spend the morning after Mass getting them sorted and packed. As I was sorting them according to size, I remembered that I had put ‘several’ completed dresses in a spare closet over the last couple of weeks so I went to get them into the mailing process, too. It ended up that I actually had 30 dresses completed so my box being mailed out this week by my kind husband weighed in at over 20 pounds! Have I learned my lesson? Nope! I found that I had made only medium and large sized dresses so knew my next batch would have to concentrate on making small ones. Already, I’ve been eyeing my fabric and matching up colors in hopes of having time this week to begin some more.
Remember to check out the Little Dresses for Africa site as they have other needs besides sewing dresses. There are many children in the world that could use some help.