Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Dresses (and shorts) for Africa

In my last post, I invited you to join me in sewing for this great charity, Little Dresses for Africa. When I read through the charity's website, I found they need shorts for boys just as much as dresses for girls. At my local library, where a sewing group is collecting the dresses to be shipped at the end of this month, I counted 21 dresses, but no shorts. So I had to get to work making a bit of both, shorts with fabrics that I had a small amount of, and dresses when I had a larger quantity needing a purpose.

Here are some of the works I'll be contributing this year.

I went through my fabric stash, which needs some TLC, and pulled out all the fabrics I hadn't used in over a year and didn't think I would find a good use for. This was about a dozen fabrics! I quickly cut out shorts in various sizes, using a template I made up. I surged the crotch and the inner seams between the legs, where the fabric is the most likely to come undone from use and play, then used straight seams on the rest.

Here's a size medium (ages 5-7) being modeled by my daughter. I like them so much on her I think I'll use some more of my fabrics in February to make her some quick cotton shorts for the summer or a much needed trip to Florida (it was -10F this morning!). The shorts have either 3/4" or 1/2" non-roll elastic in the waist bands. Even though they say they're non-roll, my experience is that will roll, a constant annoyance  for the wearer (or her mother!). I sew over the elastic in the front and the back of the shorts where there is a natural seam, stitching in the ditch, as the technique is called to prevent this.

This was my first "pillowcase dress" and I used all the fabric I had left in this print to make it. It's a size small (age 2-4). I made a pocket on the front from the extra fabric from the arm shaping. In case you haven't seen Garnett Hill's catalog this year, these are "in" at $78 each. Yikes!

Here's the same dress on my little model who would have preferred to spend the time writing on my walls with marker!
At home, these sew up quickly in half an hour - including using my serger for some of the seams, so no way could I pay $78 for one, even lining it wouldn't take that much more time.

My design wall filled up.

I love this pair! I could never think of how to use this fabric in one of my quilts, but I think this is perfect.

Some have pockets.

Katie jump rope fabric - loved it but had too much of it on hand.

Fourth of July shorts in size small and mellow yellow in medium.

More Katie Jump fabric to use up. Hope someone appreciates the bright colors!

Kaffe Fasset fabric.
This dress in size medium is one of my favorites. I used non-roll elastic to make the ruffle at the neckline and double-fold bias tape for the top of the pleated pocket and straps. This one is really cute!

The last dress! All in all three dresses, and seven pairs of shorts, a lighter fabric stash for me and now I really know how to sew shorts. I wish I could see them on their recipients but I'll just have to imagine these bright prints given life by the beautiful brown bodies who will receive them. I hope the children enjoy them.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Little Dresses for Africa

So last year I made some lofty quilting resolutions. Lofty because I had no idea how much time and energy one little toddler boy could consume. I hardly had the chance to work on any of them but now I know! If I can complete all of my work this month, there's a charity that I really want to sew for. The dresses can be made at any time but my local sewing group is collecting them by the end of the month to deliver in person and a little deadline to heat the underside of your pants never hurt.

Here's one of the cute dresses from the Little Dresses for Africa website of a girl who received a re-purposed pillow case dress and the girl who made it for her.

So, I'm spreading the word for anyone else who may have extra fabric lying around that needs a new home - say on a little girl or boy in Africa, who would be much obliged to have something new and clean and colorful to wear. There is a pattern supplied for your convenience but any dress pattern is welcomed (or shorts for boys!) because this project is really about love, not sewing perfection. I hope to minimize some of my fabric stash with a few of these, and if I don't meet the end of January deadline, I can always make them year round to donate. I hope you make one too!