Let’s Sew!

sewcialIf you live in the Portland/Vancouver area, I hope you can join me tomorrow night, June 7th, to sew-sew-sew for the orphans in Vietnam. I will be bringing along patterns for bucket hats for adults and toddlers, the lovely Popover Sundress (that’s the dresses they’re sporting so sweetly in the pic above), and some generic shorts.

Thomas Knauer kindly donated twenty (!) pounds of fabric and we’ll be cutting into that. Modern Domestic has offered the space, machine and tools. All I need from you is a little time and a spool of neutral (grey, cream) thread.

Sew Em Be Charity Sew-cial 
Modern Domestic – 1408 NE Alberta St. 
June 7    5-8 p.m.

Dresses for all!

Lyn shared this adorable picture from one of her last days at the Tam Ky orphanage. Can you pick out the boy hidden in a dress?20130429-071941.jpg
I only have my guess, but I know his name is Khang and no one batted an eye about putting him in one of the dresses we made. This delights me and is just one of the things I love about Vietnam. It’s definitely a patriarchy, don’t get me wrong, but some of the ideas that are so deeply entrenched in American culture (Boys don’t wear dresses, ever!) simply don’t exist there.

Before I get lost on a tangent, I wanted to publicly thank Lyn for her help in Tam Ky. Honestly, it couldn’t have happened this go-round without her. She was the one that let me know boxes had gone missing. She took photos for me and paid for the import tax on the last two boxes. While the tax was less than $30, it was more than Mrs. Hanh could have possibly paid (that’s about half of her monthly income!). Lyn re-connected me with kids we’d worked with in Tam Ky who are now at orphanages in Hoi An and Phu Ninh. She reignited my passion to do more there and get back to Vietnam as soon as I can.

A new volunteer is coming in June, staying and helping like the Quiltys did, without a volunteer organization to back her. Like many of us who have volunteered in Tam Ky, she is driven to do more. She’ll be my contact for at least one shipment there.

Up in Hanoi, I’ve made contact with Blue Dragon, an NGO that has been around for years helping street kids get an education and training. They’ll be getting more school bags and pencil pouches, along with some clothes. I am not quite sure how all of it will work, but I am sure we can figure it out. Together.

Thank you, Thomas.

peartreeI first heard of Thomas Knauer back in 2011 when he was releasing his first line with Andover. It was a lovely collection called “Pear Tree” and I remember seeing him in Houston at Quilt Market carrying a bag he had made out of this lovely large-scale partridge-in-a-pear-tree print. I was too shy to say anything, but seeing the fabric in-person sealed the deal.

I was sold on his designs.

The colors are what really get me and I wish I had the art background to explain what it is that makes them so appealing to me. The yellows aren’t bright yellow, the oranges are just slightly different than one would expect and the greens make me swoon. I adore his use of simplicity and repetition while not making the fabrics basic and boring. I bought bits of Pear Tree and Savanna Bop, and Thesaurus has been on my t0-buy list since he posted that he was doing a word-themed fabric.

Not only is Thomas a wonderful fabric designer, he also does quilt patterns and does an astounding job at it. And not only that, he is one of the most honest people you’ll meet. So when he promised he’d send me fabric to make clothes for the Tam Ky orphans, I knew he would.

And on Monday, he did.

20130501-071806.jpgStacked on my couch it measured 39 inches high, more fabric than I could have imagined he would send. I was, and am still, awed.

So now I am planning a sewing day at Modern Domestic and hopefully one or two more. There’s no way I can do this alone, I need my sewing and quilting friends more than ever. [Portland peeps–I’m looking at you!] But I cannot wait. I am already planning which fabric for shorts, which for dresses and pulling others to make coverlets for the beds.

Thank you, Thomas, for your support and generosity. I owe you one.

Another shipment

Thanks to the support of Gen Q mag and Teri (craktpot on Flickr) I was able to pay for a second box of items. I paid for this first one, filled with pants and dresses.


And they paid for this box, double the size and cost, but filled with 40 Popover dresses, 12 pairs of knit pants, 8 pairs of socks, 5 messenger bags, 5 pencil pouches and a whole lotta love.


According to the post office, they should be there in a week, so I’ve got my fingers crossed that they’ll make it there soon and intact. I’ll let you know as soon as I hear anything, I promise!



Update on orphans and dresses

Thanks to a lovely woman named Lyn, I get to share these wonderful pictures of the kids in Tam Ky wearing some of the dresses made for our sewing drive last fall. How cute are they?!20130401-230428.jpg

I recently had the chance to talk with the folks at Generation Q magazine and they were so encouraging. Instead of trying to mail a box every month or two, on my own dime, I’ve decided I’ll offer box sponsorship. That way, I can get help with the shipping costs, mail boxes out more frequently and ramp up the sewing once again!


If you’re interested in donating cash for the shipping costs, you can do that through the sponsor button to the left. And if you want to sew or donate materials, send me an email at teresa AT crinkledreams.com.

I really can’t say thank you enough to everyone who has supported this effort and encouraged me to keep on keeping on.


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!

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!

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!

Oh my. The word is spreading!

First I found this and it made me pretty happy to see folks were re-pinning and posting about my little sewing drive:

Then I got a comment from Trinh saying that she’d found out about the sewing drive thanks to a post on Rashida‘s blog. Rashida? As in I Heart Linen‘s Rashida?  I had to check it out. And sure enough… she did!

Squeal! I cannot thank her (or Shelly or Kim or PMQG) enough!

I am awed, really.

(If you’re new to this project and want to get involved, you can join in on the sewing or donate cash–just email me and let me know!)

The first pair!

Okay, how freakin’ awesome are these shorts?!


Recognize the fabric? It’s one of my favorite designers–Laurie Wisbrun‘s Urban Circus line. And get this…


For my little orphanage project!

I’m so incredibly grateful for Laurie, and the half-dozen other ladies who’ve contacted me, wanting to help out. And then Threadbias had me do a guest post, which was fairly awesome in and of itself.

Just pluggin’ right along. A donation of shorts here, a few dollars there. Thank you, each and every one of you.

P.S. Laurie used the tutorial from Dana Made It, here.