Thursday, April 9, 2015

Gimme All the Pillowcases

I do most of my best blog writing in my head while rocking and nursing my boob addicted almost two year old to sleep each night. The problem is that since each of my children was born without the go to/stay asleep sleep gene, it oftentimes takes me nearly an hour to get this maniacal breast-is-best beast to sleep. And after rocking in the dark for hours on end, holding a human heating pad across my chest, as soon as he nods off I typically grab a blanket, throw that rocker into recline and spend the rest of the night swatting at little hands and feet.

So the stories...they stay in my head. They roll around as words or a few sentences, occasionally a loosely formed paragraph. But come morning when I hobble out of bed (the recliner) and am faced with the morning routing (pleas to not go to school and screaming down the street to make the bus), followed by errands, laundry, groceries, Instagram, Facebook, Target and more Instagram, dinner prep, lunch, laundry, homework, afternoon snack, laundry, the pre-witching hour, the witching hour, the bitching hour, and the post witching hour...and finally bedtime; those paragraphs, sentences, and words have been drowned out by the minutia of my everyday life. The minutia of my everyday life basically sums up my bloggy absence.

You may remember that it was about this time last year that I tried to force myself to be a better blogger by giving myself something meaningful to write about every month. I donned my goody-two-shoes and was going to stick to my plan of researching and then highlighting here a non profit organization. 

That lasted until November.  And even then I cheated and tried to get two months out of one post. Shameful.  With Springs come rebirth. So I'm renewing my promise to myself and hope to round things out over the next 3 or so months so I can at least pat myself on the back for making it a year....albeit not a contiguous one (don't even get me started on the pathetic-ness that was my 2015 52 Project).

Since I tend to get my news from Facebook and headlines and sometimes a Tweeter these days, I feel like sometimes I show up a little behind the times with these amazing organizations. But oh well...we can't all be cutting edge trend setters now can we?

That being said, I think it was Facebook that first led me to look up this month's organization; it's likely that some of you saw the same story that I did. A story about a very old (turning 100 in May!), beautiful woman who has sewn nearly 1000 pillow case dresses for an organization called Little Dresses for Africa.

Little Dresses for Africa: “We’re not just sending dresses, we’re sending HOPE!”

Little Dresses for Africa was founded by one woman,  Rachel O’Neill, (LOVE THAT, and IT CAN BE DONE!) in 2008 and is a registered  non-profit 501c3 Christian organization. The mission of this organization is to "provide relief to children throughout the Continent of Africa and beyond." (all ldfa information from the Little Dresses for Africa blog).

They currently have a volunteer base spanning all 50 US States, as well as international sewing/donation volunteers. "Little Dresses for Africa makes all the arrangements, through missions teams, mailing directly to verified communities and we take them ourselves with a team at least once a year."

Through their delivery of the dresses (as well as shorts for boys) the dresses are distributed via orphanages, schools and churches. (Dresses have been donated to numerous countries including Haiti, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, and some have even been donated here in the United States).

Little Dresses for Africa is a Christian organization. They go in the name of Jesus (and will distribute Bibles via their "Buckets of Hope" and will also hold informal Bible classes. However, every little girl or boy they come into contact with at distribution receives a dress/britches, regardless of their religious affiliation.

What Else:

Not only is Little Dresses for Africa able to clothe young girls and boys hoping to instill the idea that these kiddos are worthy, they also work to increase each child's knowledge of good nutrition, clean water and sanitation to name a few areas. Through the distribution of these dresses and britches they are also able to identify other special financial projects...they have helped build a primary school!
How You Can Help:
  1. You can sew little dresses!! So the pillowcases are used because they are ridiculously easy to use. The bottom hem is already sewn, as are the sides. Simply cut off the sewn edge, cut some arm holes and sew rough edges making a spot for the elastic at the top front and back, and then use double sided bias tape (where have YOU been all my life!!??) to finish off the arm holes and make a tie at the top. Done. If I weren't interrupted fifty-billion times, I think they'd each take me (a well below average seamstress!) less than 30 minutes. Pillowcases are also relatively inexpensive to purchase, though gently used ones are acceptable to use as well.  Here is a link to the pattern (they accept any simple dress pattern if pillowcases aren't your jam) Pillowcase Pattern They also need boys shorts desperately.
  2. You can make a donation to help cover shipping costs ensuring these little dresses get to the little girls that so desperately need them! You can also make donations to help fund other special projects.(Donate Here)
  3. If you have mad sewing skills, there is a special need for something called sani-panties. The issue of menstruation, and the rate at which these older girls drop out of school and are sexually harassed is heartbreaking. (From Little Dresses for Africa site): "According to UNICEF, one in ten schoolgirls in Africa miss classes or drop out completely due to their period, and substitute pads or tampons for less safe and less absorbent materials such as rags, newspaper or bark." If you think you might be able to tackle sewing these sani-panties, please click Sani-panties instructions Even if you don't think you could tackle this project, please take a moment to read about what other menstruating girls and women face in rural Africa.
I hope you consider trying to sew one of these dresses. Or at least get your older kid to do it. I'm going to try a few more myself, and then hand over the reigns to my almost 12 year old. This is right up her ally. Well...if we were sewing dresses for dolphins...THAT would be right up her ally, but she'll dig this too! Here are two I have made so far. One last night, and one this morning. Not too bad for a complete mess such as myself. Also...gimme all the pillowcases.

To find Little Dresses for Africa on Instagram, click HERE. Little Dresses for Africa is also on Facebook, click HERE.

This dress will not be shipped to Little Dresses for Africa. Because I would have to pry it off of her cold, dead body in order to do so.
This one's not going either...cause once she sees it...same dead body situation as above.

So here's a funny thing that has NOTHING to do with this post. I have no fricking idea how I did this. Went to upload a picture from my phone and I found this instead....

And Sweet Calico Cats there's this too....drives me batty when people say "I can't even"...but seriously....I can't even with this one...


  1. Beautiful dresses and lovely photos.

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