Friday, 28 November 2014

 Just a short reminder page about making garments

We have had some lovely, beautiful dresses and shorts.  Fantastic fabrics and effort.

One small thing - we hope won't  become a bit of a problem - is quantity overtaking quality.

The parent organisation in the USA are very strict on fabric choices, sizes, seams, seam finishes and hems as well as decoration.

Louise made a decision to be more 'lenient' and 'forgiving' however, as you will see from photographs I will post next week - which in no way identify makers!!! - some dresses are not quite hitting the high standard we know you would like.

Please do remember 

1 ~  That seams need to be finished - if you don't have an overlocker - and not many of us do!! - then double stitch,  once for the seam line and then a second row of zig-zag to ensure the seam lasts and lasts through numerous hard wear washes.  Alternatively you could do what is called a run and fell or an enclosed seam.  See this posting from Sue for a guide. HERE

2  ~  Hems, please turn up a small 1/2" hem and stitch, then turn up another 1" and stitch again.  The second turn up could have decorative stitches - or some pretty ribbon or strong lace.  Our single lingered lace I am afraid is not 'man' enough for the job.  It is such a shame when the lace disintegrates after the second or third wash, that is so disappointing for the child as I know you all understand!

3  ~  Sizes, whoops, we have had one or two or more dresses that are far to narrow and so we have had to dis-assemble and insert more contrasting/matching fabrics to make the dresses - which were so pretty - a practical wearable size.

4  ~  General hints  and tips LOOK under the October posts in 'Tips and More'

This is the size chart we all internationally use.

In the chart above, in the 'cut size' column, it shows the first measurement is the length and the second measurement is the width of fabric which is then folded over.  So for example the first one on the list for a 6 month old is cut at 17 inches long and the fabric is cut at 30 inches wide and that is then folded over to make a dress that, finished, is 14 inches wide and 28 inches around the hem.  That allows for plenty of movement for the child at that age.  

For the last three on the list ~ the 10, 11 and 12 year olds the dresses would need to finish at 20 inches wide with a small extra pleat or just a short 5 inch split in the seam to allow for walking.  If you imagine a young person in a 20 inch wide skirt it would be quite restrictive!! A more ideal size for those would be to cut at 50 inches wide and that give a finished width of around 24 inches still trim but allowing more walking!

Jacqui and I do hope that you all understand the need to keep quality at the top of our agenda as these are 'Best Dresses' and are all a gift to a young person as a special event!  Imagine your own young person being in receipt of the garment you have so lovingly made and you will know what we mean!!


Monday, 17 November 2014


PATTERNS, patterns patterns!

You have all been asking for patterns, whilst we have posted links it is not easy - and it is tiresome for you to search a blog for links - so here they are again.

Girls dress pattern - simple A line style with shoulder ties

Start by reading these hints and tips from Flo  - HERE

For boys shorts
Shorts in all sizes are simple to make, find the pattern from Media Fire HERE

Now - for dresses made from a length of fabric and the instructions on how to make please click HERE 

for instructions on how to make dresses from a pillowslip please click HERE

The printable PDF for the armholes for the simple pillowslip dress is HERE

and for a downloadable PDF dress pattern click HERE

For a dress with three lightly gathered tiers style which again has a simple neckline and ties click HERE

For a wrist bracelet or a pretty headband with a little flower click HERE Please note that if you make the headband you should not stuff with little balls - just finish off by threading elastic through the band and stitch securely on both the ends.  Finish with a button and loop or join the ends together.

Free printable PDF Peasant Dress Pattern in sizes 12 months to 8. Step by step tutorial w/ photos.
and FINALLY a delicious pattern see the picture above - from Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom - for a peasant dress, instructions and down loadable pattern HERE

This cute little simple bear pattern from Patchwork Posse is HERE

Tuesday, 28 October 2014


Oh we do love these sunny autumn days!

Blue skies, golden amber leaves and berries for jams wow!

On to more pressing matters


Please do be aware that we do hope to get lots of lovely photos, however, as we ourselves do not accompany each shipment we can't guarantee photos of each garment.

Sometimes we wait until we have a substantial number that can go into a carriers’ container and then we have even less access to photographs.

Because, as yet, we do not have the status, nor funding to pay for containers ourselves.  We are reliant on others; sometimes individuals and sometimes sister charities - to take our garments out to areas of need.  This does then in turn make photos a slightly hit-and-miss affair!

We know that you long to see 'your' garment on a child but it is often not possible.  Please do have fun looking at the photos and seeing if 'yours' is in one of them, but don't be too disappointed if they are not - and maybe they will be in a month or so time! you never know!!

For schools and other groups who would much appreciate more information on deliveries, such as where the garments are going, please tell us at an early stage so that we can make appropriate decisions beforehand

Again we really appreciate all the help from our volunteer merry band of stitch and knit folk.  Thank you so much for all your time! 

For anyone who would like to donate please send cheques made out to DACAW (Dress a Child Around the World) to either,

Jayne Butler (DACAW)
12 Old Banwell Road,
BS24 8BS

OR to

Jacqui Onslow (DACAW)
30 Bourne End Road,


Monday, 27 October 2014

Blue Ink Clouds and New Links!

Well on this Monday of blue black skies,
and warm winds that are blowing in clouds of ladybirds - welcome!


We really need some shorts for boys now, the best are made from Tee shirt material, thick rugby shirt type jersey (that’s the knitted fabric) is the best as it is easy to cut and sew.  Don’t use the very soft old tee shirts as they will be really difficult to sew and even more to cut out!! 

 These darlings in the photo are made from cotton pillowcase fabrics and are just so great but won’t grow with the boys.

Pattern and photos coming later, I am fighting with my printer to get PDF instructions ready, I need to print off one to double check that there are no flaws so please do bear with me.  I am having to re-install my printer – it has been out of action for 6 days now, just so awkward!


Lovely Sue has been working hard and given us another couple of links to some more great tips.
for reversible dresses without bias binding on the armholes - what a lovely way to use the finer light fabrics!  see the links to Sues' blog HERE

for the link to some lovely reversible dresses that have super reverse colour bands click HERE

Thank you Sue for the links!

Keep a look out tomorrow for 'Headband with a Flower' instructions for girls.

My goodness the sky is so blue black and the dog is hiding under my chair so I am off to make a cup of tea!

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Thursdays musings!


The charity is still looking for people to make dresses. Its a very simple pattern to follow and very easy to make. Once you start its a bit addictive and people often end up making more than one dress! 
Its been such a pleasure collecting the dresses and seeing what people have made. Some use new fabric, some recycled pillowcases (hence the name) and some upcycle old clothes into new dresses. Most are made from the same simple pattern but they are all individual and each one has been made with love. (If you are using pillowcases, please ensure that they are clean and have no marks on them and also that they are not see through). 


GHANA 2012

The charity and I agreed that it would be more cost efficient to get people in the UK to take the dresses to developing countries if possible rather than post them to America. Dresses have now been distributed to many different projects in Malawi, Kenya, Goa, Ghana, Uganda, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Cameroon, Haiti, India, Rwanda, Tanzania, Sierra Leone, India, The Gambia, Peru, Ethiopia, Bulgaria, Argentina, The Congo, Sudan, Burundi and The Phillipines and also to International charities to distribute worldwide. You can read about some of these projects and see photos of dresses being distributed by clicking on this link to simply scrumptious here 

The charity is always looking for people in the UK who are visiting charitable projects abroad who can take and distribute dresses so if you know anyone please ask them to contact us at or 


The highlight so far has been seeing photos of girls wearing the dresses and realising that the dress you made is now being worn by a little girl on the other side of the world. Its made it all worthwhile!

GHANA 2012

If you would like to make a dress or find out more please check out this blog post or the facebook page. If you can’t sew but would like to get involved we are happy to accept donations towards the cost of posting the dresses to distributors in the UK. If you run a sewing cafe, sewing group, textiles course or guide group please get in touch to see how you can get involved. and

Tutorials and Patterns

You can find a great tutorial for making dresses out of pillowcases and top tips including sizing here along with good printable armhole patterns.

This lovely blog has a tutorial and pattern for making dresses from new fabric. An elastic casing version AND a fabric tie casing version. The pattern is a PDF file that you can download from here

You can find a tutorial for a really pretty 'tiered' pillowcase dress here


We also need shorts for the boys! 

We will be posting a new PDF pattern for shorts for boys soon.  Keep in touch!

There is a tutorial for '10 minute' fabric shorts on this lovely site here

Blog Badge

If you have made a dress then please feel free to put a blog badge on your blog or website!

Thank you for getting involved!!

Please send finished dresses the new co-ordinators listed above.If you are sending large quantities of dresses it may be cheaper to use a courier rather than Royal Mail. Please put your name and contact details (email address, facebook page or Twitter name) in with the dresses. 

You will be contacted to let you know that the dresses have arrived safely. If you do not have an email address and would prefer to be contacted by post, please include a stamped addressed envelope. Please allow a couple of weeks to be contacted due to the number of dresses arriving daily.


Will I see photos of my dresses being worn?

We always ask for photos of the dresses being worn or distributed and have lots of photos on my blog. However, it is not always possible to get photos for a variety of reasons e.g. sometimes dresses are left with local charities to distribute at a later date and sometimes it is just not appropriate to take photos. Any photos that are received are posted on this blog and the facebook page.

How much will it cost to post my dresses to you?

This depends on how many you make and the weight of the parcel. It can be really expensive to post dresses using Royal Mail. If you are sending lots we would suggest looking at the Parcel Monkey website as this often works out much cheaper in my experience.

Is the charity a religious organisation?

The charity in America is a Christian charity. We personally have no religious affiliation and dresses distributed from the UK are distributed by people of all religions to children of all religions.

I have seen labels on the dresses on the American website. Should we be using them?

The dresses in America do have labels sewn on to them. We are not currently doing this in the UK due to the cost of importing and distributing the labels to people making dresses. You can order them from America if you would like to use them but you do not have to. The charity in America has a team of volunteers who sew the labels on when they arrive at their warehouse. 
We are looking at the costs and viability of labels - keep a look out here for news! In the UK it’s just us organising things at our houses!
Do you have any promotional material?
There are no promotional materials available at the moment I'm afraid. This is something that is being worked on and we will have available very soon!

Please feel free to design your own posters and flyers for your event. Please link to this page rather than the American website for any events in the UK as it has the most up to date information about dresses made in the UK and all of the photos of UK dresses being distributed. You are welcome to use any of the images on this blog to help promote your sewing event but please do not use images from the American site without asking permission first.


Year 10 pupils making dresses!


INDIA 2012