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Giving a Little Gift of Love {guest post}

I want to thank Teresa for the opportunity to sew for the orphans of Tam Ky, Vietnam. I’m Mary Striegel and when I’m not working as a chemist for the National Park Service, I’m teaching 4th, 5th and 6th grade girls to sew.  The girls are part of the Girls in Action mission group of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Alexandria, Louisiana.  The Girls in Action, or GA’s as they are called, are learning to open their hearts and make a difference in the lives of others through God’s love.

GA’s stitching up diapers with the help of Jessica Guidry.

I’ve been teaching girls to sew for almost 10 years. When I read about Teresa’s Sewing for Orphans project, I thought that this might be the perfect project for our girls.  The five young ladies are bright and enthusiastic about learning and this was a way for me to teach them about Vietnam and the needs of the children there.  They jumped at the chance to make diapers for the babies.

Emily Mackey concentrates on the sew width.
This is Mary Katherine Hickman first time sewing and she loves it!

The GA’s weren’t alone in their desire to help.  This summer I had the chance to teach some women of church to sew.  When they learned about the project they wanted to do their share.  The Sewing for Orphan’s project was infectious…I placed a call for seamstresses and soon had a group of nine members ranging in age from 7 to 70 ready to sew.

Linda McKee was handy with boys shorts (and the seam ripper!).

We met on Saturday morning and shared laughter and joy while making pillowcase and popover dresses.  Some of the sewists had never used a serger, but they whipped out more diapers. Others fashioned boys shorts out of men’s tee shirts.  By the end of our sewing session, we had completed 16 dresses, 9 pairs of shorts and 22 diapers!!!

Jason Gray finishes a pillowcase dress.

More importantly we gave a bit of love from our hearts to the children of the Tam Ky Orphanages.  Thank you, Teresa for the chance to show we care.

And really, I cannot thank you and your crew enough, Mary. It has been so amazing to me to have so many people join me in my efforts to do something special for the orphans in Tam Ky. Thank you, again!

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Oh my. The word is spreading!

First I found this and it made me pretty happy to see folks were re-pinning and posting about my little sewing drive:

Then I got a comment from Trinh saying that she’d found out about the sewing drive thanks to a post on Rashida‘s blog. Rashida? As in I Heart Linen‘s Rashida?  I had to check it out. And sure enough… she did!

Squeal! I cannot thank her (or Shelly or Kim or PMQG) enough!

I am awed, really.

(If you’re new to this project and want to get involved, you can join in on the sewing or donate cash–just email me and let me know!)

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The first pair!

Okay, how freakin’ awesome are these shorts?!

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Recognize the fabric? It’s one of my favorite designers–Laurie Wisbrun‘s Urban Circus line. And get this…

SHE MADE THEM.

For my little orphanage project!

I’m so incredibly grateful for Laurie, and the half-dozen other ladies who’ve contacted me, wanting to help out. And then Threadbias had me do a guest post, which was fairly awesome in and of itself.

Just pluggin’ right along. A donation of shorts here, a few dollars there. Thank you, each and every one of you.

P.S. Laurie used the tutorial from Dana Made It, here.

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How to: Make Popover’s bias straps and hem

So we got the Oliver + S Popover Sundress side seams finished and added the yoke, now we get to finish it off.

Now time to do the bias straps. You can do them with self-fabric or be justifiably lazy and use 1/2″ double-old bias tape. I bought a bias tape maker not too long ago and will be trying that out on the next dress. For this one, I just followed the directions.

Fold the bias strap in half lengthwise, then in half again, on one side only.

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I followed their directions, but also added a step. The stretch of the bias and the stretch of the underarm curve made for some frustration for me. I had to re-do it on one side and decided to just stay-stitch to avoid the double stretch.

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How to: Start the Popover Sundress

finished Popover dressI wanted to find a quick and easy pattern for the orphans’ dresses, so when I found this one from Oliver+S, I thought it might just be the one. I’ve used their new Straight Stitch Society patterns [did I really not take any photos?!] and really love the way they put them together and explain the construction. I figured same people, different name–it’ll be good.

I was right, the Popover Sundress pattern is quick to assemble, the instructions are easy to follow along and it’ll sell you on their patterns.

The pattern is a downloadable which means you are going to have to tape it together to get the full-size pieces. Normally, I hate this and refuse to do it. For the sake of this project, including being able to share it all with you, I did it. I pulled out the clear tape, lined up the grids and taped it together. Just because I did it this once, don’t be expecting me to do it much more. I’ll take tissue paper patterns any day.

Anyway, you end up with three pieces: dress, yoke and ties. They also give you a matching pattern for a doll dress, which I may have to do with my scraps. We’ll just have to wait and see.

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Getting started on some orphan dresses

So I got this fabric about a month ago. I’d ordered from Strawberry Patches, three yards of it to make a wrap dress with. Well, I thought I ordered the red version of Darlene Zimmerman‘s Betty Dear fabric. This pink is what showed up. I emailed Suzanne at the shop and she took care of everything asap, sending me what was left in the red. (Not as much as I had hoped for, but enough to make this Joel Dewberry pattern!)

I wasn’t sure what to do with this pink version. Three yards of a fabric I would never wear. And then I realized, I can use it for the orphans! Duh.

The pattern I used is a downloadable pattern from Oliver + S, scaled from size 2 to 8 in one pattern piece. You just print it out, tape the pages together and -bam- super simple sundress!

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