Last night I was lucky enough to visit a gorgeous new sewing cafe in the heart of Clifton, Bristol called Cordial and Grace who were playing host to a charity sewing day. The charity project, Dress A Girl Around the World, encourages sewing a simple dress from a pillowcase which can be sent to a child in a developing country.
I discovered Louise (@sewscrumptious /http://sewscrumptious.blogspot.co.uk/) and her worthwhile project on Twitter so when I heard there was a free sewing workshop, I jumped at the chance to meet the Louise and try my hand on a sewing machine! As you know, I’m still making friends with my machine so I wasn’t feeling particularly confident in my seamstress skills but I needn’t have worried.
The ladies running the sewing room were really helpful and Louise had created a very self-explanatory pattern which I was able to keep close by at all times! Although there was the option of creating a dress from a fabric length, I decided to choose a pillowcase for ease (and not to mess it up!!).
I decided on a green and pink colourway, so got started. It really was unbelievably easy. After chopping the top of the pillowcase off, creating an opening for the neck, I used a simple sleeve pattern to make the arm holes. So far so good. Next came the sewing – eeek! Afer ironing a channel for the elastic, I was let loose on the machine and managed to sew the channel cleanly and thread and secure the elastic for the neck. My dress was taking shape!
Next came the bias binding for straps. I ironed the candy pink bias in half and sandwiched it between the armholes, pinning all the way. Thinking about it, I probably should have used a contrasting green thread but as my machine was already threaded with pink I continued with this and used a fancy criss cross stitch to secure the straps to the arm holes.
Before I knew it my hour and half session was up and I had to pack up my dress. Before I left I managed to quickly find some contrasting pattern fabric to add some embellishment to my dress (much more in my comfort zone). So I have taken my dress and one other plain dress home to finish off and decorate.
Louise and all of the people who took part in the charity day yesterday managed to make over 20 dresses to be sent to girls across the world.
What really made it for me was seeing two 10-year-old girls sat opposite me, learning how to use a sewing machine and actually make something functional and beautiful, to be sent to girls of a similar age somewhere around the world, who aren’t as lucky and privileged as they are. Can’t wait until my Missy is old enough for that! Until then I might practice by making her my own version of the pillowcase dress.