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Dress A Joplin Child For The First Day of School

Joplin, MODear ASG members and readers, we’ve received a special request from the American Sewing Guild Region 3 to sew new, hand-made first-day-of- school outfits for children whose lives have been turned upside down by the devastating Joplin tornado.

Heirloom sewing expert Susan Stewart

Susan Stewart

Heirloom sewing expert, Susan Stewart, has started a project to help the school children of Joplin, Missouri to make the start of school a happy and hopeful new beginning for them with Project First Day. The goal is to make a school outfit for a child’s first day of school. Susan lives a very short distance from Joplin and would be able to receive the clothing and make sure it’s distributed in time for the beginning of Joplin’s new school year starting August 17, 2011.

Think Cool

School is scheduled to start on August 17. Around Joplin, that’s still summer, and the weather is usually quite warm. Sleeveless and short-sleeved garments made from cotton are probably best.

For girls, think of simple, pretty dresses, capri-and-top sets, or cute skirts. Peasant-type tops and tunic tops are good for girls who are a little older, and will fit a wide range of sizes .For boys, camp shirts are easy to sew. While the goal is to keep everything primarily hand-made to showcase the ASG sewing skills, you could use a purchased T-shirt and add an appliqué or machine embroidery design to coordinate with a skirt or capris you’ve made.  Reminder: pre-shrink the fabric and trims so that the garment doesn’t shrink or pucker after laundering.


Lezette Thomason of Children’s Corner Patterns has graciously offered to send a free pattern to anyone interested in using it to make a garment for this effort. She has also written up an instructional sheet on how to modify patterns to better fit plus-sized children. If you are interested, email her at lezette@nashville.net.

Children's Corner Patterns

If you don’t already have children’s patterns or you can’t wait for Lezette’s pattern, here are some patterns that are available free on the Internet. Most of the patterns that are easily found are for younger girls.

Not sure what size to make for children’s clothing? Here are Simplicity’s measuring charts for Girls/Girls Plus and Boys/Teen Boys.

Where To Send

Please send your finished the garments directly to Susan Stewart at the address below by August 1, 2011.

Susan Stewart
PO Box 1371
Pittsburg, KS 66762

[edited] Please include a simple, personalized note to the child who will receive your garment to the child recipient. It can be a simple wish for a good school year with your name or your ASG Chicago neighborhood group name. Please write the note onto cardstock or something more sturdy than printer paper and safety-pin the note to the garment. Please also indicate the size of the garment on the back of the card.

Please consider if you can help. If you do, we’d love to see pictures! Feel free to email or add them to our Flickr album!

18 Responses

  1. Hi there! I understand that Bonnie of Fishsticks Designs is also offering a free pattern to sew for the boys and girls!

    I was cruising her blog and saw this post here, http://fishsticksandfries.com/blog/?p=1940 I’ve been encouraged by her post to sew a few shirts for this great cause myself!

    • Thanks for the link! It’s so much harder to find patterns that appropriate for boys.

    • It is a GREAT pattern, great easy instructions with wonderful fit like all of Bonnie’s patterns.

  2. I was just thinking how cute the pillow case dresses would be for some of the younger girls. They are so simple to make and are absolutely adorable! To find details on how to make them goggle pillow case dresses. There are also several tutorials on you tube.

  3. I’m not an asg member or in Chicago but I saw this and hope to make at least 1 girl and boy outfit. Is there any way to find out what size is needed most?

    • I don’t know if there’s a way to find out. But, my guess, based on available patterns and that some folks are using this as a stash-buster, is that most people would sew things for the younger people. Let’s face it, their clothes are cuter and there’s less anxiety if it’s “cool” or not. I’m only guessing, but I would think boys and older kids would be in the greater need. You could try contacting Susan Stewart, http://www.susanstewartdesigns.com/contact.php Thanks for participating! Cheers and good luck!

    • BTW, the effort is not just for ASG members, so please do feel to participate even if you’re not an American Sewing Guild member.

  4. Count me in! I would LOVE to help!!!

  5. Have no idea what region I’m in but I’m in on this! Do you know if anything like this is set up for Tuscaloosa?

    • Glenda, I believe this effort is just word-of-mouth, not so much chapter-driven. Feel free to contact Susan Stewart directly if she knows if there are any groups near you participating. Her contact information can be found on her website, http://www.susanstewartdesigns.com/contact.php

      Or, what about starting a charity sew-in group near you and invite other sewists? It might also be a way to meet some of your other ASG members or sewists who aren’t ASG members.

      Good luck! Would love to see pictures! See you in the twitterverse!

  6. […] Chicago is participating in Project First Day, sending outfits to the kids of Joplin, Missouri to wear on their first day of school.   Here is […]

  7. The Palos Flying Needles ASG neighborhood group sent a box of 18 dresses, a capri and top outfit, a skirt and t-shirt, and 2 campshirts and shorts. Thank you to Carol Pat and Terri for all their contributions. A Beanie baby was included with each outfit thanks to Rita.

    • Awesome! Thanks, Terri! If you have any pictures, you can post them to the ASG Chicago Members’ Projects Flickr album or you can email them to me.

  8. Fantastic. There will be some excited children in Joplin when they receive these garments.

  9. Shoot! I just found out about this on National News tonight. I wish I could have made some garments to send to you. I have tons of remnants that would have made some cute things. Is it too late to make something and send on to you?
    Ann Zimmerman

  10. I just learned about Dress A Joplin Child…yesterday. It is to late for me to make an outfit but, I also crochet. What about blankets for the winter? I have tons of yarn. I would love to help in some way. Sue Cox

    • Hi Sue, I’m contacting Susan Stewart to see if there is anyone to continue the effort. I’ll let you know.

  11. @Sue, @Ann,

    I’m sorry to let you know that there is no continuing effort going on for this project. Susan started this project and the response was so overwhelming that it did cause her to put aside her business efforts for a little while, which she now needs to attend to. If I hear of anyone picking up the ball, I’ll let you know. Thanks for your kindness of inquiry.

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