Category Archives: Kids Sew

How-to: Garments for Ghana

Required disclosure:  I am a paid Brother Ambassador.  Not required:  I absolutely love Brother Machines.

Several readers have written asking if they may participate in the Garments for Ghana project.   Others asked how our project operated so they might do a similar event in their own community.  When I mentioned in response to a comment on this topic that I might write this post, at least one promised that she (sweet Sandee) would not find these details boring.  I hope she is not the only one because I am going ahead with this.

Before I began, I was given some direction from the mission team leaders.  The request was for bright colors, since the landscape there is pretty bleak.  We did that. Check.

Second, there must be no buttons or closures  that might break or need replacement. Such replacement is not an option for mothers in these areas.  Check.  Elastic at the neckline was the only closure notion.  I know elastic gives out after a couple of years, but I expect these garments will be worn out long  before the elastic is.

Third, in many African nations and apparently in Ghana, bare shoulders for girls and perhaps adult females, is taboo.  So we needed some sort of sleeve.  Check.  I did notice early on that many photos of pillowcase dresses for Little Dresses for Africa showed the girls wearing a  tee shirt under their dresses.  Now I see that the site offers a free pattern that has a sleeve, much like the pattern I used.

Fourth, each garment must be marked with its size.  I had a bag of labels for sizes 1-5 and for the others I embroidered sizes on grosgrain ribbon in the hoop.  Ladies who worked from home used a sharpie to write on ribbon, which like the others,  was tucked into the elastic casing at the back.

As mentioned in the previous post, one of my goals was to make a dent in my huge fabric stash.  I announced to our church membership that we would begin sewing garments for Ghana, for the medical mission team to deliver in June (NOW!!!).  Then it started–bolts and bolts and yards and yards of lovely fabrics were carried in every Sunday morning.  Granted,  in came 2 or 3 old curtain pieces, but I felt no guilt in not using them.

If you would like to do this as a community project, I suggest that you announce it a  few weeks before you begin.  Of course, permission to reserve the facility (church fellowship hall or whatever) must be given.

Then assemble necessary power cords and strips to reach the machines.  Of course, you can do as you please, but I anticipated more participation if the ladies didn’t have to pack up  their sewing rooms to participate.

Several boxes of supplies were packed, one for scissors, one huge box with threads in every color and wound bobbins in several sizes for different machines, one for pins, pin cushions and extra machine needles, one for other notions such as fray block, marking pens and bobbins for a variety of machines and a jar of size labels.  This is all not necessary, but it was very helpful even for ladies who they brought their own supplies.  “Oops–forgot my scissors.”

Our church owns 3 basic sewing machines, which had been stored and unused for several years.  My dear husband and I spent several hours cleaning, oiling and readying them for use.  I also brought along two of my own machines so it was not necessary for at least 5 ladies to bring their own.

As for patterns, it took me a little while to get what I thought was the perfect one. I did not want to purchase a pattern for each sewist, preferring to purchase just one for all the dresses. Making all the kits myself guaranteed no copyright infringements. Many individuals, however, have their own patterns which could be used outside a community project.

At first, I chose this cute pattern and sewed it for a sample on our mission display board.

 

I quickly learned that this pattern absolutely required a serger.  The underarm 1/4″ seams were to be serged and folded under and stitched in place.  All instructions referred to serging the 1/4″seams rather than sewing them.  It’s a great pattern, but not do-able for my group as I didn’t want to involve a serger.   There were many beginner sewists who could not work around that need with satisfactory overcasting.  Again, the sleeve ruffle and pockets were not a part of the pattern.

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Garments for Ghana

This is the first of 7 clotheslines that hung from the walls in fellowship hall.

Required disclaimer: I am a paid Brother Ambassador.  Not required:  I genuinely LOVE Brother machines.

UPDATE:  The first picture is in from Ghana!  Though this little girl is not needy, I think she is the daughter of Ghanese pastor who hosts the mission team.  Gayle had said this child would be given first choice.  She certainly looks pleased. Her father reported that she didn’t want to take off  the dress and slept in it!

 

What an exciting, satisfying project this has been!  Since the end of Feb. a group of ladies and 4 children of River City Church, EPC, have gathered every Thursday to sew for the needy children of Ghana. Our goal was to make 100 garments. We finished the last week in May with 76 dresses and 44 pairs of shorts!

Getting started with basic instructions.

 

Starting a pair of cargo shorts.

Our efforts were in support of this summer’s second medical mission trip to Ghana, led by a church member Dr. Lyle Wadsworth and his nurse wife Gayle.

NOTE:  Please excuse the wrinkled dresses.  The garments were pressed before being hung on the clothesline. But after being packed for shipment to Ghana, many were unpacked to be photographed.  It was just too time consuming to iron all of them.

Overturned yo-yo’s created puffy balloons. The teepee bag covers a runaway balloon.

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Sweet Dreams, Baby Girl

While spending the past weekend with our daughter and her family, we celebrated her birthday and her husband’s.  After running across this post, I decided to put it up again.  Daughters are wonderful!! (But so are sons.)

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Monogram is Dazzle from OESD. Tthe floral design is from Brother’s Holiday Card #77. This is a beautiful collection, with a pretty companion design for this one.

 

With a teary eye for the quick passage of time and a proud heart for the woman she has become, I celebrated my daughter’s birthday by making this pair of pillowcases for her.  With these and the wonderful life she has made for herself,  I expect she will have sweet dreams.

 

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The monogram is  Dazzle   from OESD.  It’s certainly convenient that she and her husband have the same initials.The floral design is from   Brother’s Holiday Card #77. This is a beautiful collection, with a pretty companion design for this one.

 

Luxurious bed linens have always been a priority for my girl.  As a freshman moving into a dorm at University of Florida, she asked me to custom make pima cotton sheets for the non-standard dorm bed, and, of course, matching pillowcases.    She confided that she was a bit like storybook character in the Princess and the Pea.  How could she get a decent night’s sleep on anything but pima cotton?  Oh dear, I thought.  Have I raised a “pima” donna?   But of course, two sets of fitted pima sheets were packed.

 

Sending off our French foregin exchange student days before Rebecca (in red) headed to University of Florida.

At  the airport, sending Claire, our French foreign exchange student,  home to France.  This was just a few days before Rebecca (in red) headed to University of Florida—along with her mama-made pima cotton bedding.

 

From the dormitory to the sorority house to her first college-girl apartment to her first little bachelorette house and now in her lovely marital home, she has always had pima cotton bedding. Continue reading

“Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen” & the Good Times I’ve Had

Dear Friends and Readers, once again I am back.   My absence is well expressed by Sam Cooke who seems to know my pain.  Nobody knows the computer trouble I’ve seen!

For the past several weeks, my computer has been crazy, only occasionally and unpredictably usable.  I felt mute.  On my i-phone and Kindle, my fingers just bumble around the tiny keyboards and I grow frustrated very quickly.  I NEED my pc.

After running every virus checker, malware and spyware program known to the high-tech internet world, my fabulous tech savvy husband wiped the hard drive clean and reinstalled every single program.  And at last, it seems that all is well.

But amidst all this aggravation, we’ve had some really good times and I’ve done some sewing.  For a very special bridal shower I embroidered 46 dishtowels for guest favors.  I’ve known the groom-to-be since before he was born and this 35 yo fella has always had a special place in my heart.   So now that he has found the love of his life, the wedding is a major event for us. Continue reading

Kid Sew Monogrammed Scarf

R quattro 2xx

 

Our 11 yo grandson, Robert, gets such a kick out of machine embroidery.  He is very, very savvy about technology so my Brother embroidery machines fascinate him.

 

R quattro 3a xx

 

Recently, he monogrammed a polar fleece scarf for his mother, thoroughly enjoying the process of selecting, setting up and transferring the design to the machine.  Curious about the need for water soluble stabilizer on top, about why  we don’t hoop polar fleece, about how the machine knows which hoop is in place, etc. etc. etc.

He even made some design decisions, choosing to alternate the fill and outline colors between each letter.

R finished scarfxx

 

But he really wants to know just how the machine does what it does.  I just tell him to be grateful for its capabilities and DO NOT TRY TO TAKE IT APART!!!  If he tries, I threaten that I will cut his hair while he sleeps.  I almost wish he would make an attempt so I could shear those blond locks.

For the Boys

He asked that his face not be included. That's a shame because he is so handsome. But I respect his privacy.

Grandson Robert, 10 yo, embroidered this fleece poncho on my Brother Dream Machine.

 

Shops, internet and sewing groups inundate us with beautiful and adorable projects for our girls.  Items for the boys appear far less frequently. Yet we want to shower them with the same love that is stitched into items made for our girls.

My friend Judy Day faithfully and thoughtfully includes something for her grandson in packages she sends with garments for her granddaughter. See one example in her Even Steven post.

When our delightful 10 yo grandson Robert spent the night recently, he spent a lot of time cuddled up on the couch, wrapped in a fleece throw.  March Madness was well underway, watched intently by Robert and his Granddad.

As Robert trekked into the kitchen for a drink refill, with his blanket dragging the floor and slipping off his shoulders,  Sonia Showalter’s poncho   came to mind.  That’s just what Robert needed!

He agreed it was a great idea and wanted to help.  The technology of my Dream Machine fascinates him and he always asks a lot of questions about its capabilities.  In my experience, kids love sewing machines.  Robert chose a dragon from the built-in designs.

 

R dream dragon

 

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Thanksgiving Fun v.’14

3 towels ed

Brown gingham checks (not black, as it appears) border the towels, embroidered by 10 yo granddaughter, Laurel. The towels are from All About Blanks, my favorite on-line source for blanks.

 

Another Thanksgiving has come and gone and I hope it was your best one yet.  We all have so much for which to be thankful.  No matter what our circumstances, we all can look around our town, our country and around the world to see others so much less fortunate.  So we Americans celebrate our many blessings with family and friends, around  a table heavy laden with favorite holiday food.

 

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Norman Rockwell captured the spirit of the day in this 1946 picture.

 

Some celebrate in the traditional manner, as shown above.  Others dine in a more contemporary style, as shown below.

 

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Someone else captured another way to celebrate Thanksgiving.

 

Either way, most of us celebrate our good fortune. Continue reading

Summer Fun Sewing

flower top

 

 

Busy, busy, busy!  What ever happened to the “lazy, hazy,  crazy days of summer?”  Is that another thing of the past?  We’ve had crazy but no hazy or lazy.

In addition to lots of sewing, I’ve enjoyed  two weeks at our cabin in the mountains of North Carolina, one  week with our daughter, sweet Alastair and whirling dervish Vivian Rose, as well as one week with Bob. What great getaways from Florida’s hot summer!

This floral top was made for dgd Laurel, 10.  The quick and easy commercial pattern lent itself to a variety of embellishments.  In addition to piping and rick rack,  crocheted flowers  purchased from  Farmhouse Fabrics were added into the mix.

 

floral top crochet

 

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Kid $ewing

 

My 9 year old granddaughter continues to expand the product line for her little business, Laurel’s Specialty Sewing.  After introducing monogrammed tote bags, she added the service of sewing Girl Scout patches on the vests of her fellow Scouts ($ .50 per patch, monofilament thread, free motion sewing).  This product and service has proven to be very profitable.  She recently bought an American Girl doll with money she earned.

Now Laurel is promoting a new item in her line.  The simple felt hangings are destined for the upcoming Girl Scout Camporee.  The girls bring little items to trade, momentos of the event or trinkets, such as  these for an event they call SWAPS–Special Whatchamacallits Affectionately Pinned Somewhere.

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New Little Sewing Enthusiast and Free ME Design

aurel encouraged Alyssa. The girls sewed in their pajamas until long past bedtime.

Laurel encouraged Alyssa. The girls sewed in their pajamas until long past bedtime.

 

What a fabulous weekend we had!   Two grandchildren are a bundle of fun, but including a third child added so much to the equation.

Additionally,  I had that pleasure of introducing that child to the wonders of sewing!

When my granddaughter learned that her good friend Alyssa had been asking  for sewing lessons,  Laurel asked if she could invite her to spend the weekend with us. We all had a grand  time.

 

A N finished emb

If you would like this Scripture, post your request as a comment. The design will be e-mailed to you.

 

We started with embroidery because she had a specific project in mind for her pastor father.  He recently answered a call to another church and she wanted to embroider one of his favorite Scripture verses to hang in the new office.

Psalm 19:14 was not in my now very extensive collection of Bible verse designs—thank you Designs by JuJu and Sew Bird’s Stitches–so I worked up the text quickly and easily with my Brother PE-Design.   It certainly is appropriate for a preacher. Continue reading