This past Saturday, February 4th, the women's ministry at my church had an old fashioned "quilting bee". Only we didn't make quilts, we made dresses for girls in impoverished nations. We brought sewing machines, ironing boards, irons, scissors, all kinds of notions and trims, etc. and we brought ourselves.
There were specific stations set up. Two tables of sewing machines, 3 ironing stations, 2 cutting tables, a doll making station, assembling of dress kits station.
A dress kit contained the two pieces for the front and back of the dress, elastic for the front and back gathering, seam binding for the arm holes and to tie at the shoulders, a pocket, and an embellishment or two. This was all color co-ordinated.
These kits were packaged in plastic bags for women to take home to put together. Of course, we also put together as many as we could on Saturday. All together we made 40plus dresses in sizes 3 to 12 and an ecology doll to put in each dress pocket.
(doll completely made from fabric and yarn scraps)
The rationale for a girl having a pretty dress in a third world nation is: she is then perceived to be well taken care of by her family (even though she may have no family). There are many, many children orphaned by the aids epidemic who are street waifs. Often the girls are transcripted into the sex trade and forced into prostitution in exchange for food and lodging. Even children who do have parents may live in ghettos made of cardboard boxes. A dress may enable a child to attend school. At the very least, it will lend her a little self respect.
The dresses are always hand delivered to the villages by missionaries. Two families from my church will be delivering dresses - one to Tanzania, Africa and the other with a Young Life mission to S. America. Dresses will be delivered by both of these families to the girls in the villages where they will be ministering.
If you're interested in learning a bit more about this ministry, Here's the link: