Charity Sewing,  Free Pattern,  How To,  Sewing Tips

Charity Sewing: Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas

Quick public service announcement: here is an address for sending handmade clothing to support the residents of the Bahama islands whose homes have been devastated by Hurricane Dorian:

You can join this Facebook group for more information:


https://www.facebook.com/groups/466252474106512/?hc_location=group

Right-click on blue link and open in a new window, OR you can also go into Facebook and type “hurricane dorian bahamas clothes relief” in the search bar.

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You have probably heard that sending used clothing to areas devastated by weather catastrophes is not a good idea. It takes enormous effort to sort and distribute clothing anyway, and it’s not worth it if the clothing has little value. That’s why this sewing effort is different: as the group admin explains, “I thought since I love sewing so much, why not make items so that people can have new things, things made especially for them! It’s not so much a donation as a gift.”

Side story: I love thrift shops and rummage sales. There is a private school about an hour from my home with an annual rummage sale fundraiser, and I’d heard for years that it is HUGE but you need an invitation for preview night. Maybe there are good finds on preview night, but the following day, when the public is allowed? It’s just a huge gymnasium with dozens and dozens of tables, piled high with worn-out apparel. I spent an hour sifting through ripped, stained, moldy junk that should have been sent to the fabric recycle bin (even my little town has a one!).

Later I asked a friend whose children attend the school why so much trash? She said that families use the sale as an income tax-deduction. And I’m afraid the same thing happens with natural tragedies: charities receive donations of clothing that are no longer wearable. The problem is worsened if the local area does not have adequate trash facilities, and on an island there is simply no room for unwanted stuff.

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I do love the idea of sending fresh, new items made with care! I know that many of you already sew for well-established charities such as Dress-A-Girl (http://www.dressagirlaroundtheworld.com/ ) and Little Dresses for Africa (
http://www.littledressesforafrica.org/blog/ ), and I’ve posted several times about charity sewing (you can type “charity” in the search bar). Easy-fit “pillowcase” style dresses are the most popular for charities because of their adjustable-strap fit.

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My very favorite FREE girls dress pattern is the flutter-sleeve Hope dress, designed by Vanessa Gowans of Bobkin and sadly I can no longer work the online link for it. Her Facebook and Instagram are inactive… although her Etsy shop is open (not this style though). I’ve tried contacting her through FB….if anyone knows what the story is please let us know!



https://7pinedesign.com/charity-sewing-the-hope-dresses/

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Another FREE style is the Haiti Pillowcase dress from Simple Life Pattern Company if you join the Facebook group:


https://www.thesimplelifecompany.com/product/haiti/

It’s a cute style however the grading is uneven, meaning that the smaller sizes have lots of fitting ease but the larger sizes do not. I wrote a post on how to adjust the grading to give consistent ease throughout the size range:
https://7pinedesign.com/good-drafting-but-poor-grading/ It’s still usable “as-is”, I’m just fussy about grading and ease.

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If you’d prefer an already well-graded style, and are in the market for a good basic pillowcase style dress pattern for your collection, I recommend the Tadah “Seaside” dress (US$8.82):


https://www.tadahsewing.com.au/products/seaside-dress-top-pdf-pattern?variant=22897885127

For a fantastic size range (newborn through girls 16), a nice simple pattern is the Flosstyle “Paradise” (US$5.00):


https://flosstyle.com/product/paradise-dresses-pattern/

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Another FREE pattern, one that I haven’t tried, but still I’m sure it must be well-drafted because it’s from Oliver and S… the Popover Sundress:

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https://oliverands.com/free-patterns/popover-sundress/

Oliver and S also has this FREE great little shorts pattern suitable for boys and girls, the Sunny Day shorts:

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https://oliverands.com/free-patterns/sunny-day-shorts/

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The Dress-A-Girl group also recommends an elasticized pillowcase dress with these measurements, cut from a rectangle of fabric and the armscye cut out from a template (available on their site):

This week I made 3 dresses using the Simple Life pattern (above) together with the elastic styling from Dress-A-Girl. I like using a slightly A-line pattern over a straight-up-and-down cut, because it is a bit less “boxy”:

I like to make the larger sizes, because charities tend to receive fewer of them:

The difference between this construction and a traditional “pillowcase” is that the upper edge casing holds elastic, not shoulder-ties:

The shoulder-ties are extended from armscye bias-tape finishing:

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Please join the FB group if you are interested in helping with this cause! Here is the link again (right-click and open in new window):

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https://www.facebook.com/groups/466252474106512

…or justgo into Facebook and type “hurricane dorian bahamas clothes relief” in the search bar.

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Happy Sewing! Janet

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