Those who sew and quilt are the most generous people I’ve known. There’s something about hands-on making  that expands our hearts and inspires us to reach out to others. Our Sewing Superpowers can enrich lives around the world through charitable sewing!

Little Dresses for Africa

My fabulously generous friend Barbara, has been making Little Dresses for Africa for many, many years. Every week she meets with a group of women who share the joy of sewing as they make simple, bright dresses for this wonderful project. The dresses are simple designs, often made from pillowcases and when delivered convey a valuable sense of worth to these precious girls. A quote from the Little Dresses for Africa web site explains the incredible value of these hand-sewn frocks. “The road is especially tough for little girls and young women.  Often small children are left as primary care-givers of even younger children, because of disease and poverty.  These little dresses, given freely to those in need, plant the seed that they are worthy.” Little Dresses for Africa also partners with those who provide the girls with lessons in sanitation, clean water, good health and family skills. It’s not just a dress!

To learn more about Little Dresses for Africa and how you can be involved, click here to visit their web site.

Image from Days For Girls

Days for Girls

As some of these same girls grow and leave their Little Dresses behind, monthly sanitary needs become a high priority. Once puberty begins, many African girls stay home and miss essential school time one week each month. Sanitary pads and other supplies we take for granted here in the US are simply unavailable. Days for Girls is a network of sewists who stitch together washable, reusable kits so that menstruating girls can attend school every day of their cycle. With the kits, girls are given life-saving health and hygiene education.  Days for Girls states their impact well.: “Women, and girls discover their potential and self-value, are equal participants and agents of social change and are given opportunities to thrive, grow and contribute to their community’s betterment while ensuring quality sustainable feminine hygiene.” My friends, Jeanette and Claire, are among thousands of women throughout the world who meet weekly to sew. They enjoy the company of fellow sewists and the opportunity to give dignity to their little sisters in Africa!

To find out more about Days for Girls, it’s mission and how you can help, visit their web site by clicking here.

Image from Patchwork Posse

Alzheimer Fidget Quilts

There are, of course, many needs for generous sewists in your local community. Near to my heart is the Alzheimer Fidget Quilt. If you have a loved one who suffers from dementia, you know that an object to “fidget” with is often very soothing. My mother, who suffered from Dementia would have loved one of these!  A Dementia Fidget Quilt is full of pockets, buttons, zippers and other things that soothingly keep aged hands busy. These blankets of handmade love become a treasure for the one who receives them and a great comfort for their family. Similar to the blankies we loved in childhood, a Fidget Quilt can be an amazing friend!

To find out more about Fidget Quilts and their value for those with Dementia, click here to visit the Alzheimers Association web site.

For a Fidget Quilt tutorial, click here for a great post on the Patchwork Posse blog.

Image from Sew With Aloha

Be a Sewing Superhero!

There are many ways to use your sewing powers for charitable sewing locally and around the world! I’ve listed just a few more below with links to patterns.

You will also find lists of opportunities on Sewing.org or Nancy Zieman.com. Or you may have your own list or be aware of needs that your stitching would help. The power of charitable sewing is not just in what you offer, it is also in what it offers you. Set aside sewing time, participate in a project and your life will be enriched immeasurably!

About the Author


Annette Millard began sewing at the age of three, made her first dress at ten and is always happiest with needle, fabric and thread in her hands. Annette feels very privileged to have spent most of her work life in the sewing industry and loves teaching, making her own handmade wardrobe and writing about sewing. She spent over ten years as the newsletter and web site content writer for the Pacific Northwest's largest locally-owned family of fabric stores and is now thrilled to have the opportunity to share her passion for sewing with the Sewing Secrets community. Follow Annette and more of her sewing adventures on her own blog, www.sewfullife.com.

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