A while ago, I stumbled across Louise Horler and her lovely Sew Scrumptious blog. As well as sewing gorgeous things, and helping to run the Pinaddicts Challenge, Louise is also the UK arm of Sew a Dress Around the World.
If you haven’t heard of this project, then check out the website here , and Louise’s page on her blog about it here. Basically, it is a project where people sew simple dresses (often from pillowcases!) and they get sent out to girl’s around the world in need. They also do a short’s version for boys, and this is now on my list to do too!
When I heard about the project I thought it was such a lovely idea, and I promptly downloaded the pattern, and set to work. But then life kind of overtook me, and my cut out pieces have been sitting staring at me reproachfully for a while now. After Christmas (which seems to be my motto at the moment…) was my plan, but then via the wonderful world of Twitter I found out about a sewing day being run by the gorgeous Cordial and Grace Sewing cafe in Clifton, Bristol. (As a complete aside, I LOVE this place-it is fantastic. Such a great concept, and they are running loads of projects to give back to the community as well. If you are ever in Bristol, you should go and say hello-they are all so lovely and friendly, and I can highly recommend the bakewell tart..)
To celebrate their first birthday, Maria at Cordial and Grace had the inspired idea to team up with Louise to run a Dress a Girl Pillowcase Dress Making Day! It was free, there was cake, and fabric and pillowcase donations and lots of chatter and laughter, and more importantly lots of dresses being made!
This gave me the shove I needed, and with a little bit of juggling of Small people, I booked myself into one of the sessions and ventured off to The Big City.
I not only got to meet the lovely Louise of Sew Scrumptious fame, and Maria whose brainchild Cordial and Grace is, but also Morhwenna of the ‘Love What You Wear Project’. I ‘met’ Morwhenna on Twitter a few weeks ago, and blogged about her project here. When we discovered that neither of use were a million miles from Bristol, it seemed the perfect opportunity to meet up, and it fitted in so well with both of our challenges.
I had such a lovely time. I took a big wodge of fabric with me, but then Louise showed me a really funky pillowcase that had been donated
and I decided I needed to use that instead, such lovely colours!
There are two ways of making the dress, and the links to the sites with the instructions and patterns are all on Lousie’s page here.
Here are some of the other sewers with their gorgeous dresses
Megan, on the left, runs a charity in Uganda, Hope for Life Katanga, and she has taken out two loads of dresses already!
And here is Morwhenna concentrating hard (Morwhenna discovered she cannot sew and talk at the same time…!)
Here is a picture of Louise, Morwhenna and I, proudly displaying our dresses (mine is enormous isn’t it? Not sure what size pillows the case would have been for!)
I have to admit, the pillowcase version is easier, especially if like me you’re not that keen on pinning patterns and cutting fabric (am I the only one who struggles to cut in a straight line…)
If I hadn’t been chatting so much and stopping to stuff my face with bakewell tart, then I could probably have been done in half an hour. And I am now really keen to do more! So much so that I have just done a charity shop raid this morning…But they may well have to wait until (you guessed it) after Christmas now.
So come on chaps. No excuses! One old pillowcase, a couple bits of elastic, some bias binding and half an hour. You know you can do it.
I heard about this project from someone else’s blog – and it’s such a great idea. I don’t know one end of a sewing machine from another, but I’m hoping to get learning in the new year, this sounds like a perfect thing to aim towards.
Amd by the way – that certainly is a funky pillowcase!!!
Hello! I had never sewn before until about 4 years ago. I was quite scared of the sewing machine! But it’s quite easy when you get going and even with the basics you can make all sorts of things like cushions and bunting. The pillowcase dress is definitely achievable as a first project-give it a go! And post some pics when you’re done!
Know what you mean about the pillowcase-looks great as a dress but not sure I would want it in my bedroom..!
Great job! I don’t think I’d get much sleep with a pillow case like that!
Quite! And it was enormous-very bizarre!
Thanks so much for the lovely blog post. It was great to meet you and Morhwenna and your funky pillowcase dress was fab! Thanks so much for joining in. We have now collected over 3,000 dresses in the UK!! x
Lovely to meet you too. You should be very proud of yourself-3,000 dresses!! That’s amazing! And just think, you were only going to do a couple… Now look what you’ve started! Must arrange another meet up. 🙂
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