This year I became involved in an organization called Dress a Girl International. It is a group of women around the U.S. and Canada who make simple little dresses for little girls worldwide. The premise is if a little girl has a pretty dress to wear, she is less likely to be kidnapped and sold into the sex trade. She looks like a child that someone cares for. We put a label on each dress also. It conveys the same message. Most people make their dresses using pillowslip dresses. My first ones were made that way, but I found myself rebelling. I knew I would not put one of those dresses on one of my grandchildren and if I would not do that, I could not expect a mother around the world to do so. Stan kept telling me that they would be delighted just have pretty new dresses for their daughters, but I still could not sew them any more. I returned all of the pillow slips to the group I sew with and started using fabric. We have yards and yards of donated fabric and I could not justify using pillow slips when we had the fabric. Below are some of the dresses I made this summer.
|I started adding this ruffle around the neck and sleeve about two weeks ago. I will never use bias tape ties again.
|This dress was made pretty much to the Dress a Girl specifications. Simple tube with elastic in the front and back and tied at the shoulder with bias tape.
|Instead of turning the fabric over and creating a tube, I sewed a strip of fabric on the inside and made three rows of casing for the elastic.
|I used contrasting fabrics for this dress. Instead of hemming it, I used bias tape for the raw edges of the dress.
|We put pockets on all of our dresses so the little girls can carry their treasures with them. I also like to add a bow someplace on the dress.
|Neckline with two rows of elastic.
|This was actually the first dress I made with the neckline ruffle detail. I lined this one with gingham check and made a bias to finish the arm opening.
|A double ruffle. Gingham check as the under ruffle.
|This dress has a small yoke added to the top instead of the elastic casing. Ribbon ties are sewn onto the yoke between the facing and front.
|There are little lady bugs on the print so I added a little lady bug button to the bottom band.
|Made using a new pillow slip. It is a little large for my model.
|This dress is made from the matching pillow slip from the above dress. I added a peek-a-boo of lace under the bottom panel, sleeves and a round yoke. This is one of my favorite dresses.
|My daughter Karyn does not sew, but she wields a mean crochet hook. She wanted to help so last week she whipped out four of these tops for me to add skirts to. Beautiful, no?
This has been a very fulfilling project. If you are looking for something to do to give back to the community, can I suggest this?
These dresses do go world wide. Some were just taken down to the Appalachian area this fall and another group is getting a container of 10,000 to take to Cambodia. The group I sew with just sent 100 to Mexico and have just finished another 100 to go to an island in the Caribbean. We are working on another 100 now to send to Guatemala. We always send our dresses with a missionary. If we were to attempt to mail them, so many would never reach their destination.