Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Dresses for Swaziland

January brought a new semester in our Friday coop.  New choices, but for the most part, their day looks the same.

Grace:  Worship Band (ukelele), semi-private guitar lesson, Dresses for Missionaries (sewing)
Lilah: Worship Band (cello/singing), figure drawing, yearbook

The biggest change this semester is for me!  Parents participating in this coop must work two of the three hours.  Last semester I supervised a dance class, had one hour free to chat with the other mothers, and my last hour I was a floater, being placed wherever there was a need.  This semester I will be an aide in a dissection class, have one hour free and I will teach a sewing class, even though I am barely proficient in sewing!

Last summer I read a Guidepost magazine given to me by my sister in law, and I came across an article about Little Dresses for Africa, an organization that sends dresses made from pillowcases to girls in Africa.  These dresses fulfill a need in terms of clothing, but more importantly, they give an outward demonstration that someone loves these girls and cares enough about them to give them something handmade.  The dress then becomes more than a dress, it becomes a source of protection, decreasing the chances that she will become a victim of a child predator.  

I filed the article away under my “to-do-someday” file and while I did not forget about it, I did not make the time for it.  Fast forward to last October.  I was walking through the church that hosts our coop and saw a beautiful dress being donated to Little Dresses for Africa and knew that I must revisit this desire.  I cleared the idea of a class with the coop director and I reached out to an Instagram friend, who is a real life friend of a real life friend of mine, and she agreed to take our dresses and distribute them to girls and agencies in her home of Swaziland.  We have been corresponding through Instagram and Facebook building a cultural component to my class.

I have three teens who are in this “class” which is really a workshop.  I was also blessed with a class assistant, who in reality will be more like a co-leader, who sews in her free time.  Really sews.  Like sews ballet costumes for ballet companies.  Yikes.  To say I was intimidated is an understatement, but God showed me that this is His work, not mine, and He provided me with the resources I needed to make this a reality.  It was evident the first day that I can handle the simple sewing of the pattern but I would have been lost with the technical aspects of some of the sewing machines, a detail I never even considered.....

As this class progresses, I will provide updates on the dresses as we work through the next few months sewing and praying and learning.


Mother of 3 said...

That sounds wonderful! What a great organization to sew for!

Theresa B said...

I am totally enamored with this project, Jessica. I think the girls, my mom and I are going to make dresses to send too! Thank you for the inspiration!!

LJS said...

My contact Elyse in Swaziland sent me some great videos (YouTube) of her church, the mission work that is taking place, the scope of the needs in the community. It is overwhelming. I never realized that at one point a few years ago AIDS could have wiped out every adult in Swaziland by 2050. She said they are beginning to recover and the rates are slowly declining. I will forward these to you. I wanted to show them in class, but I think I am going to let the girls watch with their parents, just in case questions come up about trafficking, abuse, neglect that they would like to handle personally.

This project was a huge leap of faith. I'm not a great sewer to begin with. There were so many times I wish I could have my mom in the class with me to help out but I am really blessed to have the helper that I do. I think the girls are going to have a good experience with this.

LJS said...

It is! Little Dresses for Africa inspired me, but our dresses are going directly to a missionary in Swaziland. I hope that once this class is over, we can keep sewing and send to LDFA to send to their contacts in Africa.

Theresa B said...

Great! My email is My mom and the girls are excited to start the project and I think I have a few friends interested, too! I am not great on a sewing machine either, I might be more of a cutter or maybe I can do the embellishments. My mom and Allie (who both LOVE to sew) want to try the Sani-Pantis too!! Thanks for posting this.

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