Church makes dresses for Haitian orphans

Published 11:47 am Saturday, June 6, 2015

Contributed Photo Members of the congregation donated the T-shirts and members of Women on Missions made the dresses.

Contributed Photo
Members of the congregation donated the T-shirts and members of Women on Missions made the dresses.

Imagine the smile on a young girl’s face when she is presented a new dress created by loving hands half a world away.
Sometime this summer several young girls and boys at an orphanage in Haiti will be wearing new dresses and shirts provided by Women on Missions at Grace Baptist Church of Elizabethton. The women have been meeting once a month to work on the dresses.
Using only a pillowcase, a couple of pieces of fabric and some ribbon, they created new dresses to send to little girls in an orphanage on the island of Haiti, one of the poorest in the world.
Making the pillowcase dresses was the idea of Sue Peters, a member of the Grace Baptist Women on Missions Group, who had read about the dresses in a missions magazine. She did some research and was pleasantly surprised by the simplicity and flexibility of the project.
Peters said she believes, “It is our mission to help others.” She was joined by several other women from the group in making the dresses, which takes a minimum amount of sewing. The seamstresses, in addition to Sue, included Loretta Peeks, Jean Peters, Jill Cates and Vivian Keeler.
Other members of the group cut and threaded ribbon in each dress, pressed them, and prepared them for shipping.
In some parts of the world, the pillowcase dresses provide protection for the girls that receive them. Girls wearing a new little dress are much less likely to the abducted, abused or molested because the new little dress shows that someone cares about them.
Peters said the little dresses are cool and comfortable and hold up well through handwashing.
Because the pillowcases already have seams, they require little sewing and assembly. Simply cutting holes for the head and arm areas are all that is required to get the pattern started. Elastic is sewn into the circle for the head area or ribbon is used to as a draw string. Trim or interfacing is sewn around each armhole with ends long enough to tie the dress at the shoulder.
The women said there was a lot of excitement about the project, especially during their work time when they matched up new colors and trim for a dress that would go to a child in need.
Pillowcases and fabric were donated by members of the Grace Baptist congregation.
Church members then asked what the group was going to do for the boys in the orphanage. As a result of their inquiry, a total of 128 colored T-shirts were donated for the boys to go with the 135 pillow case dresses made for the girls.
Once completed, the items were dedicated at a special Sunday morning worship service.
The clothing items were then delivered by Larry and Debbie Gouge last weekend to a Nashville church, which will be sending a mission team to Haiti this summer. The mission team will deliver the dresses and shirts to the orphanage, where they will be distributed.
“It has been a project of both love and fun,” said Mary Lou Wetzel, who assisted the Women on Missions group. “Everyone involved has enjoyed it. Who would have thought you could make a dress out of a pillowcase? They were absolutely beautiful.”

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