Dresses for Missions

A few months ago I told Jay that if I decide to volunteer for anything else that he needs to stop me. I have managed to get involved in enough things that my amount of ‘free’ time has become limited. Then our church put out the yearly service groups sign-up booklet. *sigh* I already belong to the choir (music ministry), the casserole club (it supplies frozen homemade casseroles to a halfway house that we have in our diocese), and currently I am involved in the Adult Education program so that I can be baptized and convert to Catholicism. That’s just the church-related stuff that I’ve managed to sign up for.

So what happened when I looked at the services booklet this year? I saw that they had added a new ministry – Dresses for Missions. This caught my attention. I’ve always been a girly-girl and have some sewing skills. It said that they would create simple dresses for girls ages infancy through teenage years in developing countries. There was a little announcement done for it at the end of mass one day (which I didn’t get to hear since I get kicked out before communion). Right now they are looking to make these dresses and send them to Haiti. There are still a LOT of people who have nothing after the earthquake devastated their country a few years ago. Can you imagine that? Many of the little girls are more vulnerable to abuses because they don’t have a lot of clothing available to them, so it is our hope that by providing them with some clothing that it will help. At the very least, I’m hoping that it might bring a smile to the face of a little girl who doesn’t have a whole lot to smile about.

I went online and did some research on the pillowcase dress that they had mentioned during the presentation. I discovered that the pattern I was told about is used for a program called Little Dresses for Africa. The mission of this group is essentially the same as the group that was getting started in my church. After reading some of the testimonials and seeing pictures of the little girls in their new dresses I knew that I had to be part of this. My family didn’t have a lot when I was growing up so my mom would make a lot of my dresses and skirts. I still remember the thrill of seeing a new dress that my mom had made for me, decked out in lace and ruffles. I wanted to be able to give that same thrill to some other little girl.

Dresses for Missions #1This was my first attempt. I was disappointed that it took me 2.5 hours to make this. I always set my expectations of my abilities way too high. I figured that it should only take me an hour and a half at most to make a dress.

I used regular cotton material for this one. They need all sizes and pillow cases pretty much make only the smaller sizes. I comb through the red tag fabrics at JoAnn’s and Wal-Mart. I bought spools of lace, ribbon, and various trims. I am also going through a lot of bias tape.


Dresses for Missions #2Here is the second dress that I made. This one took a little longer because I had to make the ruffle and sew it to the dress (but so far this one is my favorite).

When I showed my mother-in-law the lace and ribbon that I had purchased I think she imagined that I was frilling these dresses up to the nines. She was concerned because these are supposed to be somewhat plain in order to make them quicker to put together. I told her I was just adding a little here and there. Besides, there was no way that I could send a ‘plain’ dress to a little girl! Even Jay agreed that any dress I made would have to have at least a little bit of lace on it.

Dresses for Missions #3This one was actually made out of a pillow case that my mother-in-law had given to me. Isn’t it cute? There’s a matching pillow case so I will be using that, but this time I think that I’m going to trim it in purple.

I really enjoy sewing these. They aren’t difficult so I don’t get frustrated. It gives me a chance to sit at my sewing machine and get more time in on that. Plus, I get to look at it and figure out what trimming I want to do. I just hope that the little girls enjoy them.



Dresses for Missions #4This is my latest, and is from another pillowcase. I’m not a pink person, and in fact try to avoid the color at all costs when it comes to my own personal stuff, but there’s just something about pink on a little girl. And I love the lace around the hem.

I haven’t been cross stitching a lot lately because during my free evenings I spend time in my sewing room. The group wants to have as many as possibly by March 18th so that they can ship them to Haiti for Easter. I have a large stack of material that I hope to use up by then. I would love it if I was having to search for coupons to save even more at Hobby Lobby or JoAnn’s when I go to buy more material for dresses.


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