So while I’m in the midst of the never ending deadlines and projects that I can’t show you all, I’ve been thinking. I really love sewing. It can be fun (and crazy) to sew with deadlines for different publications and such. And that certainly has its own reward of seeing your work published etc. But I have a desire to sew for something more.
But time is limited and my plate is full. So I started thinking about what I could do that would be using my gifts to help others but wouldn’t cause another huge stress in my life. Quilts quickly went off the table. While they are lovely and great to make, sewing quilts for charity is not a constant thing I can do on my own. I know that there are plenty of people who do sewing bees with others to make quilts more manageable, and I’ve tried those. But I knew that I needed freedom to work within the deadlines of my own schedule and not add stress by trying to get blocks to people at a certain time.
And then I remembered that a lot of people make pillow cases for charity. So I thought about that for a while. And while it’s a lovely thing to do, it just didn’t get me excited. Charity shouldn’t be a chore. It should be a joy. And I wanted to create joyfully and meaningfully. And researching pillow cases quickly led me to pillow case dresses…
And THEN I got excited. With a little girl around, I’m already into the groove of making little dresses. And I’ve been wanted to make some simple dresses like this for her. But she really doesn’t need anything right now, especially as we head to towards winter. But I can’t resist a cute little dress.
So I found my way towards a charity many of you have probably been supplying dresses to for years, Little Dresses For Africa. It just spoke to me. I’m not one for international charity work normally. I’ve always done things more close to home. But I’m going with my gut on this one and just joining up with a well established group that has already donated over 2.5 MILLION dresses to girls around the world.
I always joke that I have more fabric than I can use in a life time. But I really think that by using my fabric for this that I will USE it. I will get that high of sewing with the fabrics I chose and bought, but in my excess have not used. You can use yard + cuts of fabric (or smaller if you piece them) and hopefully use up some lovely fabric quickly. I have darling fabrics that just don’t have a home right now. And I think I’ve found their home. I always trust when the fabric speaks to me. And right now, a whole bunch are shouting to me from my stash telling me that they want to be on a girl giving her hope and brightening her day if just for a moment.
And I really want to make CUTE dresses. Simple is great, but I love details. I want to add sweet pieces of trim, or little buttons, a bit of lace. Whatever makes these truly special. Charity to me does not mean ugly or throw away. Yes, I will probably start with fabrics that I have outgrown in my taste, but that does not mean the fabric has anything wrong with it or that I still cannot make it cute.
My goal is to start probably with the new year, but perhaps in December (commitments are keeping me from jump starting this in the middle of other projects) and certainly by the new year. I’m thinking perhaps I can make 5 dresses a month. That sounds reasonable to me right now (I’ll see how much time I really take on these…that number could go up or down) and work my way through the year of 2015 making dresses from my stash.
There are bunches of variations on a pillow case pattern as you can see from the quick pictures I have snatched from pinterest. I would like to try a different pattern each month…to keep it interesting for myself and make a nice variety of styles. I’m excited about this new venture and about using my skills and fabric to create something beautiful for others all over the world. Our family motto is to make the world a more beautiful place. And this fits right in with that. It just feels right.
So, any suggestions for your favorite patterns? Do you feel like joining me and starting your own challenge for dresses? Do you have advice for those of us just starting because you’ve been doing this already? Do you have another favorite charity? I’d love to hear your words of wisdom about how to go about doing this well. And I really can’t wait to get started!