After October’s success in making pillowcases, we wanted to relate November’s project to the skill students had just learned, but also make things a little more challenging. Using this pattern, students began to transform pillowcases into dresses that would be worn by young girls a world away. A local retired school staffer volunteered to help teach the students since she had done the same project with other groups before. This project was indeed a challenge for our participants who were still just learning to sew; many steps were required and included adding elastic, bias tape, and pockets to the dresses. Most seemed to enjoy the challenge, however, and were pretty proud of themselves when they finished a dress. A few students even made two despite the time commitment and a couple couldn’t resist trying them on despite the fact they were for young girls – high schoolers.
This was a good test of a more complex project and how it would go over; a student couldn’t get one of these dresses done in one class period, and most took several (roughly 3-5 “hours”) to complete them over the course of the month. Students were largely diligent about returning to complete what they’d started and made beautiful creations we will be proud to send to the project. As finals and December drew closer, however, a few acknowledged they didn’t have the time to finish their dress so those were finished by other students/Michelle, but overall I think the skills students learned and the project itself was generally enjoyable. Because of the complexity, once a student had mastered the different steps of the dress they often stepped in to help/teach others that step if Michelle and I were busy with other things; this was a great thing to see as the space continues to develop not only compassionate individuals but leaders as well. We were able to donate 20 dresses to Little Dresses for Africa, and this project involved 13 students.