Dresses and more

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I spent an hour or so packing things into a big ol’ box this afternoon. about 2/3 of the donations fit into the box and I’ll be sending the rest after the next paycheck. This box will be winging it’s way down to Los Angeles to be brought back to Tam Ky by the lovely AnnaMarie. She’s currently volunteering in Tam Ky for another project, but just happens to be visiting the states for the next week or two. She’s going to send me cinnamon bark that the villagers there have started marketing and I’m sending her clothes for the orphans. She’s promised to bring them along and deliver them to Mrs. Hanh. She’ll team up, I’m hoping with Yen (our translator there) and together they can deliver them to the kiddos. It may take a few weeks before they get there, but I’m confident they will.

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Seriously happy-making fabrics right there.

Sewing for Orphans update

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To put it mildly, this sewing drive has been more than expected. I was hoping to round up enough people to make a hundred items. In the end, I have more than 100 dresses.

{and then I was interrupted by the doorbell and more packages arriving}

I don’t know how many items I received in total, only that there were 91 Popover dresses at yesterday’s count and I’m sure there are more in the boxes I just got.

I’m still processing it all and while it is physically a tad overwhelming and we now have clothes for the orphans in the garage, entrance way and dining room,  I feel awe for the love that pours out from total strangers. I’m gathering everyone’s name, addresses and donations in a  spreadsheet. I’ll thank everyone in a big ol’ message next week once I can get them all typed in.

Until then, know that I have never felt so honored to head up a project of any sort. This has blown my mind.

So.Many.Hand.Sewn.Items.

Working on hexies

From Vanessa Christenson’s new “Simply Color” line from Moda. I have no idea what I’m doing with them yet. I just find them slightly addictive to make.

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More donations coming through!

When the doorbell rang this morning, I thought it was the GuyFriend’s daughter returning from a sleepover so I strolled down the stairs and opened the door, still in my pajama bottoms and a tee. It, of course with my luck, was not his 10-year-old daughter, but the neighborhood mailman with packages in tow.

He had two packages for me, one from Ontario, Canada and the other from Singapore! Yi Farn sent me two dresses and three reversible messenger bags–absolutely adorable. And I love that they can be flipped inside out, depending on which the kid prefers.

Gaby send a half dozen messenger bags made from old jeans  that she sewed up, Super cute, especially with the little embroideries that she did on the flaps. I’m astonished that not only did she send the bags, she also threw in a stack of diapers. So cool.

And that tops off the dresses and shorts that showed up at my work a few days ago from Ruth. She lives locally and we’d planned to meet up early, before work. This week’s been a bit crazier than most and I missed her (instead of being at working, I was pushing the GuyFriend in his new wheelchair–thanks to to an unset broken leg).

I really can’t express how blown away I am by all the help everyone’s given me in making this little dream come true. It’s even more necessary now that I found out there won’t be orphanage volunteers in Tam Ky anymore.  Thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart. Really.

Vogue dress

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What started as a comment on a friend’s Facebook page: “Hey, I have that pattern, too!” ended up with three of us making the same dress over a weekend.

Jen over at BettyCrockerAss made hers using a shirting fabric, I used Robert Kaufman’s Essex yarn-dyed linen and Kim from Go-Go Kim picked a knit fabric for hers. I really love the fabric, even though it wasn’t what I’d initially wanted. Marie over at Cool Cottons suggested it when I asked for linen and I’m super-glad she did (and I listened this time!). It’s a bit rough, so the lining was extra important to keep it from annoying me.

I’d love to make it again, using a different weight fabric, perhaps a voile or something with a little stretch in it. The back doesn’t have as much ease as I’d like. I can’t reach up with two hands, it pulls so tight. Feels a bit like the snugness of vintage dresses, so it isn’t a deal-breaker, but seriously Vogue, let’s try to add a little more ease into these patterns.

In the background, I’ve been working on writing the book more than sewing. I did make some rice/ice bags (thanks to the blog inspiration of Lori Holt) for the GuyFriend as he struggles with a broken ankle that they can’t set quite yet.

Next week I’ll be finishing up that wall quilt, then working more on figuring out just what we have for the orphans and what they may still need when this is over.

So much to do! I find myself a tad overwhelmed at times, but I know it’s for the best. Idle hands and all…

Gifts

This makes me so stupid-happy!

Can you imagine how thrilled the kids are going to be when these lovely shirts, tanks, tees and skirts get passed out?!

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, Laurie!

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Let the donations begin!

On Saturday, after a country BBQ at my parents,I came home find an envelope in the mailbox, stuffed with pencil cases for my orphan friends! Lorena from southern California made a stack of them, each one made from a different fabric. THANK YOU!

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I’m so grateful for everyone who has offered to donate. I am amazed by the generosity.

There aren’t enough Thank You’s in the world

I can’t even begin to tell you how mind-blowing it has to been to watch my little idea to garner help in making handmade clothes/gifts for our orphan friends in Tam Ky grow incredibly over the past two weeks.

I knew there were folks out there that I knew and admired who would help along the way, but I never expected the outpouring of offers to sew up a bag or dresses or a stack of receiving blankets or sling bags. It’s been amazing and I am incredibly grateful.

We’ve been lucky enough to have some friends from the fabric industry step up and offer to spread the word, which has helped immensely.

Specifically I’d like to thank:

Laurie Wisbrun, a fabric designer I’ve admired for a couple years now. I interviewed her a few weeks ago for an article I was writing for WebCents magazine, then talked briefly of book-writing and sewing clothes. A surprise friendship blossomed and at lightning speed she sewed up a ton of skirts, shorts and pencil bags for my project, then shared it on her blog.

Rashida Colemen-Hale is another fabric designer I adore. She’s a wonderful lady and mother, a woman I just happened to run into a million times at Spring Quilt Market and developed an online friendship with. I got a ton of messages thanks to her posting the Sewing for Orphans project not only on her blog, but on Pinterest as well.

Sewn Studios, a modern fabrics & sewing lounge, shared the word thanks to the suggestion of Rachel Gander, the blogger behind Imagine Gnats. We’ve yet to meet in person (same with Laurie!), but that hasn’t stopped her from supporting my cause or us from becoming friends over Facebook and blogs. God bless the Internet for making new friends.

Which is how I met Kim Niedzwiecki, the whirling dervish behind Go-Go Kim. I first heard of her when I found the cathedral window pincushion tutorial (which I made and gave away in the swap Rachel mentions in her post!). We finally had a quick meeting at the Kona from Robert Kaufman Fabrics‘ booth at Spring Quilt Market and through that and a crazy amount of FB Likes and comments, we’ve become friends of a sort. She was one of the first to post about my project and I’m super grateful.

And an enormous thank you to Shelly Figueroa, who was not only the first person to post it on her blog for me, she was also the first contributor to our Indiegogo campaign. Despite the fact that she lives locally, we hadn’t met in person,ut I had interviewed her, again for work, months before, regarding her fantabulous book Sewing for Boys book (written with Karen LePage). She’s currently raising funds for her sewing studio, so if you inclined, check it out here.

Again and again, I’m awed by the kindness of people. And I am always grateful.

P.S. If you shared the project, can you let me know? I’m trying to keep track of everything so I can link back to y’all. xo!