Sunday, 22 April 2012

Love sewing? why not sew for the dress a girl around the world campaign...


I'm Claire-Louise the Secretary for Stokey WI. 
I was recently asked to make a video on how to make a little girl's dress from a pillowcase. As a professional stitcher (my alter ego is The Thrifty Stitcher) I am keen to give something back and put my skills to good use. Last year I searched for sewing based charities, and although there seem to be many great charities for knitters to give something back, there was little for stitchers like me.

I discovered only one sewing based Charity- "Dress a girl around the world", and it frankly slipped my mind. One day whilst on twitter I saw a tweet from Sew Scrumptious about the dress a girl campaign, and having just shot the video on making a pillowcase dress and it seemed like serendipity!

In essence "Dress a girl around the world" send dresses to countries in the developing world. The dresses and boys shorts are made by sewing enthusiasts, and provide valuable clothing for girls and boys whose parents couldn't afford to provide good clothes for them

I got in touch with Louise from Sew Scrumptious who has become a british ambassador for this charity, here's what she told me-

"Every Girl Deserves a Pretty Dress

This statement really struck a chord with me when I read it in a sewing magazine last year, An American charity was asking people who could sew to make simple pillowcase dresses to be sent to girls living in poverty in developing countries. I could sew and had lots of fabric lying around so I felt I had to get involved and make a dress or two. I have a sewing blog called Sew Scrumptious and decided to blog and tweet about what I was doing to try to encourage other people to get involved and to date I have collected nearly 1200 dresses from all around the UK and Ireland. I am now the UK International Partner for the charity and also responsible for finding homes for all the dresses too! Over 600 have been distributed so far to children in Malawi, Ghana, Kenya and India with the rest going off to Uganda, India and Ghana over the next few months.
We still need lots more dresses though! We want to continue making and sending dresses to girls and are encouraging schools, colleges, sewing groups and WI's to get involved. Its a great opportunity to get involved in a charity project in a practical way (we don't want any money, just your time!) and a fun way to connect with other like minded fabric addicts! The dresses can be made from new fabric or recycled pillowcases (hence the name!). Each dress is made from the same simple pattern but each one is individual and unique and can be decorated in any way the maker chooses. 
I photograph every dress I receive and feature them on my blog before they are sent off to projects in developing countries (often schools and orphanages). It is the most fantastic feeling to see a photo of a girl on the other side of the world wearing a dress that you have made. You can also make shorts for boys too! We are currently trying to collect 127 pairs of shorts for boys aged 5 to 14 to go to Uganda in June.

There is lots more information on my blog including links to tutorials and patterns along with my contact details
There are also some lovely photos of some of the dresses being worn. There is also a facebook page too

I would love to see what the WI ladies could make!!
Louise @ Sew scrumptious
Stokey Wi are going to get some dresses made. This is not only a fabulous charity,  but it's also a way for us to get more people sewing. We'll be running training events and if you don't know how to sew or don't own a sewing machine, we'll be running workshops and training sessions very soon, dates TBC

Right now what we need is a stash of pillowcases. If you've got some you'd like to donate, please e mail CL and quote "dress a girl around the world"

As soon as we get some training sessions lined up we'll let you know, but if you watch the video above you may just fancy having a go and donating a dress instead...

We've raised a bit of cash for ribbons and trims, so it won't cost any money to get involved, just some keen and nimble fingers and a needle

Claire-Louise Hardie- Secretary Stokey WI


  1. Thanks so much for joining in. Can't wait to see what you make! Really appreciate your support. Louise x

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