Little Dresses for Africa

If you haven’t already heard about  Little Dresses for Africa, you will feel an ache in your heart that will likely drive you to your sewing machine.  Please click on this link to find out how you can help the needy children of the world from the comfort of your home with the supplies you have on hand.

This is a non-profit Christian organization whose mission it is to provide relief to the children of central Africa.  And they do it one dress at a time.

A pattern for a simple pillowcase dress in a wide range of sizes is offered as a free download.  Finished dresses are sent to this organization which arranges for distribution to the precious, needy little girls through mission groups and other charitable organizations.

A scrap of gingham was serged with red wooly nylon and tied around the bias ties.

Those of us who sew often bemoan the size of our stash/collection/resource center, all the while wishing we could wisely whittle it down to make room for more.  This is the perfect outlet for that surplus fabric.  Your precious fabric and precious time will be worn on the backs of these precious needy children.

Those with no extra time might choose to donate  some fabric or even funds to pay for shipping.  One of my teacher friends told me about this project.  Her educators sorority has begun holding regularly scheduled work days for their members.   Already they have donated more than 50 dresses.

Making the dresses is so much fun!  The beauty of the pillowcase pattern is that you can use almost any size remnant.  Smaller pieces make small dresses and even smaller pieces can be combined with other scraps, as the pillowcase dresses so often are.  The versatility of the pattern and the range of sizes needed makes it so easy to make a dent in your surplus fabric.

The size of the dress above, an 11-12, was determined by the size of the fabric I pulled out.  I used up the entire piece and added a scrap for the hem.  I have made up a stack of “kits,” with fabric, trim, bias and elastic,  ready to go anytime I have a free minute.

Laurel and I will be working on these together next week.  She is not yet ready for sewing on the binding, but she has already make turn tube pillowcases.  So she can make stitch up the body of the dress while nurturing compassion for those less fortunate.  This is a service project that will be very close to her heart.

A friend of mine periodically visits her family in Jamaica where there is a multitude of needy children.  She will hand deliver the dresses Laurel and I make.

As much as I love heirloom sewing and smocking, I find a special satisfaction in whipping up a serviceable yet appealing dress for a child.  It is a refreshing change from the required attention to detail that heirloom garments demand.

When I think of the pride that my granddaughter Laurel feels when she gets a new dress made especially for her, I realize that a needy little girl anywhere in the world can experience that same feeling with a simple dress made just for her.

Their slogan really struck home with me.  “We’re not just sending dresses, we are sending HOPE.”

Please check this out by clicking on the link above.

4 responses to “Little Dresses for Africa

  1. I started making little dresses in 2007 and I send them to Children Hemmed in Prayer. After reading about Little Dresses for Africa I have made 22 dresses and I will be mailing them this week. I plan to make more.

  2. Sue, that is wonderful! That is such meaningful, generous sewing. Thanks for all you do.

  3. Glenda Landreth

    I have been making dresses for several years for Hemmed in Prayer in Phenix City, AL. I tried to contact them recently to send more dresses and did not get a response. I found Little Dresses for Africa just now on the internet. Please let me know about your organization and if you are still taking part in this project.

  4. Glenda, I have only made a few dresses which were sent to Little Dresses for Africa. However, a lady in my church made more than 275 pillowcase dresses last year for this project. I am very busy now sewing for my grandchildren, so I have donated fabric to my busy friend at church. Little Dresses for Africa has a facebook page that you might enjoy visiting. The stories are so touching.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.