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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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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.

Continue reading How to: Start the Popover Sundress

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I love a good swap

I joined up with Victoria Wolfe‘s 15 Minutes Play swap this month, my first in so many years that I can’t really remember the last time I swapped fabrics with a stranger.

We set up swap partners in the first week of December and I’ve been gathering bits and pieces here and there. My swapper said she likes smaller pieces and batiks, so she’ll be getting some that I’ve acquired, but never seem to find a proper use for. Plus some fun new fabrics I got just for her. So while, I’ve been gathering, she was super quick and -surprise!- I found a box of fat quarters sitting on my doorstep a few days ago.

I love these bright colors and can imagine making all manner of things for my little nieces. I especially love the blue-green floral. Not sure what I want to do with it, but it will be something just for me.

Thank you, Ellen!

And just for fun, here’s a shot of the box o’ fabric as it landed on the table in my sewing studio. What a mess!

I’ll be so glad to have some extra time in January to get the place back in order and seriously hoping that the injuries from my November accident have healed to the point that I can be active for more than a half hour at a time. Until then, it’s a bit of chaos down there.

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Can anything be too cute? How about this?

I came across something that actually made me yearn just a little for my daughter to be 7 or 8 again. Luckily, I came to my senses and remembered that I have several nieces that age! Phew. But really how can you resist the absolutely adorableness of this bustle backpack?

The Bustle Backpack

I have a fondness for bustles, evidenced by my now-vintage wedding dress. They’re especially delightful on a little girl. Me Sew Crazy has more pics and even offers a tutorial to make it yourself. I think I will be making one for some niece or another since it’s just too cute to not make.