Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Adventures With Summer Charity Sewing Project

Many years, no, I guess that's decades, ago I was into crafting and sewing.  After awhile I had made all of the clothing and house stuff that this little family could use.  After another while no one wanted any more handmade gifts.  Slowly, I put my sewing machine aside for repair purposes and didn't pick it back up for a long time.  After another while all of the scraps and material were either thrown out or given away.

Once the internet became available, I found how to repair my machine and began sewing once again.  The material and scraps began accumulating.  After several years I discovered embroidery machines and eventually opened my embroidery shop, Cajun Stitchery.

With Cajun Stitchery gaining in popularity and business doing fine, more and more scraps and fabric were accumulated.  My husband began politely commenting that perhaps I should throw some of these scraps away.

 Over the past years, I truly have been trying to cull the herd of scraps but this is very hard to do.  Yes, I'm a fabric addict.

One of my absolute favorite websites is Pinterest.  One day, several weeks ago, I ran across some sewing projects for "charity sewing."  It piqued my interest and I began looking at pictures and reading articles.  I contacted a few friends and we decided to do some charity sewing as a summer project this year, each Saturday.  I am offering up my scraps and fabric stash.  After contacting a couple of our local hospitals to make sure our items were wanted we began our project.

Our first project was to make 100 port cushions for each of the two hospitals.  The project required 2 pieces of 5" x 8" fabric and a strip of 5/8" Velcro, which I also had.  The following website is the article with the directions that we, more or less, followed:

These adorable little pillows were easy to make and I was able to go through just about all of my scraps to make them.  The hospitals were thrilled and so were we.  Not to mention my husband is 100% behind this project.

The following weekend, which was last weekend, we began a new project:  mastectomy pillows.  For this project I read several articles and used bits and pieces from them to create our pillows; however, the following website contains the pattern we used with instructions:

This project is going to take longer than one day.  Our goal is for each hospital to receive 50 of these pillows.  This project requires larger pieces of fabric, a 12" x 12" pattern.  We broke into the larger pieces of fabric for this project.

Things that I've learned so far in our Summer Charity Sewing Project is:

1.  If you are sewing 100, 50 or whatever number of items, make number tabs to keep track of how many you have done.  When we were working on the little port cushions, every half hour or hour someone would say, "how many do we have now?"  Invariably, the rest of us would say, "I forgot."  We would then re-count the items.   Save yourself some time and create  number tabs of some sort.

2.  There are four of us in our group.  I usually keep my sewing machine and my serger out but took out two additional machines to accommodate all 4 of us.  It was a good move because I could check and make sure all of the machines were in good working order.  However, we ended up deciding on an assembly line to make the port cushions and one of the machines was not needed at all.

Again, with the mastectomy pillow, we are using an assembly line to do the project.

3.  With the port cushion project we used woven fabric and set aside all of the knit fabric and knit scraps.  With the mastectomy pillows, we are not only using just woven fabric but also decided we only want lightweight, cotton type fabric.  I had several yards of flannel and lots of satin but we decided since these pillows are used under the arm pit and near an incision we wanted to use only fabric that we felt could breath and not harbor bacteria as much as heavier, denser fabric.

4.  The port cushion project went through a lot of my scrap fabric and I was able to toss smaller pieces of scrap without too much heartache.  However, making the mastectomy pillows and using the larger pieces of fabric created, you guessed it, more scrap fabric.   It was a real "DUH" moment for me.