Join our movement and make a pledge by making "Little Dresses for Haiti"
What is Little Dresses for Haiti?
A new dress for a new Haiti
We seek to move away from the pillowcases movement and instead ask volunteers and designers to use their talents to make beautiful custom handmade dresses. We have compiled a multitude of beautiful FREE dress tutorials and patterns that are just as easy to make as the pillowcase dresses. From beginner to advanced, we have tuorials for sewers of all stages! Check them out here: http://pinterest.com/dressesforhaiti/little-d4h-sewing-tutorials/
I love making dresses but what about clothes for young boys and adults?
We are more than glad to accept donations of dresses and handmade clothing for young boys. If you are interested in making clothes for young boys or adult clothes email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Why do you no longer accept pillowcase dresses?
We recently went to Haiti in April and brought over 100 pillowcase dresses and summer shirred dresses. We realized the girls loved the summer shirred dresses and would ask to trade their pillowcase dress for a summer dress. At this moment we decided we would no longer bring them pillowcase dresses they didn't want but beautiful handmade dresses they adored and could wear anywhere. These young girls deserve a beautiful dress they love just as much as anyone in the world. The main objection the young girls have had is the style of the dress. It definitely not that the girls are unappreciative or feel that they are too good for those style of dresses. But when given the choice between pillowcase dresses and other styles they always choose the other style dresses. Giving them that choice was important and we felt that every girl in the world, no matter it be the poorest country in the world or the richest, deserves a dress that they can feel proud of owning. The utmost important goal is to make these young girls happy and instill a sense of pride in them.
We have no problem with pillowcase dresses personally or people who sew them and the reason we do not accept pillowcase dresses has nothing to do with condemning that style. We are more concerned about making the young girls happy and instilled with a sense of dignity and pride and if we can do that with a dress then our goal has been accomplished.
Our project that provides young girls and women new handmade dresses is much more than an exchange of dresses. Haiti is widely known as "the NGO capital of the world." According to anthropologist Mark Schuller, there are more non profits per capita in Haiti than any other country in the western hemisphere. Given Haiti's relationtionship with the international community it is important to understand how Haitians participate, rely on, and relate to these organization. Very often organizations provide help without asking how can we help you. Instead they just tell the people how they will be helped whether the help is wanted or not. It was very clear to us that these young girls wanted these summer shirred dresses. Many times we have the idea that people in need should be thankful for anything they get. But why doesn't a young girl or woman in Haiti deserve a beautiful dress we may make for ourselves?
In a sense, our Dresses for Haiti project seeks to provide women and girls a moment of agency in which they get to choose what they want and how they would like to express themselves. We provide a small moment of confidence, agency, and individuality: characteristics that are often taken away from them.
If you have pillowcase dresses please note there are other great organizations that send pillowcase dresses to Haiti. We are one of many but are the only who chose not to accept the pillowcase dresses.
If you would like to make other styles of dresses for our organization you can visit our pinterest page which has a variety of tutorials that range from beginner to advanced and usually require no pattern (or have a free pattern).
Great! How can I help?
Since you will be generously donating your skills and time we try to make this as flexible as possible for you and your time schedule.
What we ask of volunteers who are willing to sew dresses is that they commit to a set number of dresses to make (whatever they feel they can make) within a self imposed given time frame. Once you determine the amount of dresses we can then add that number to the total we will be donating. Therefore if you feel you can sew 5 dresses and have it in by March 1st that is just as acceptable as donating 50 dresses. Whatever you have the resources and time for. Currently we are accepting dresses on a rolling basis and there is no current deadline. New dress donations will be distributed in Haiti sometime during the late winter. Volunteers are given a list of approved online tutorials (see below in Next Steps) and can use a variety of these tutorials to make different dress styles and sizes. If you can make your own pattern or have a favorite commercial pattern that is completely acceptable as well! Once the dresses are made and donated we will be taking them to Anses-a-Pitre, Haiti.
-We accept and encourage a variety of sizes, styles, and all fabrics and also encourage upcycling. There are girls from ages 3-19 that will be receiving the dresses therefore you can make a dresses for every age group or just focus on a few. Its all up to you.
-The only requirement is that the dresses be handmade with love. We do not accept store bought dresses
-After a previous trip to Haiti we have decided the only style of dress we will notbe accepting is pillowcase dresses.
-Dresses donated are divided and distributed in general size groups. Since we do not know who will be receiving the dress it is best to make dresses that can fit as many sizes as possible. The use of elastic, elastic thread, and other adjustable closings are encouraged but are not necessary.
-We ask volunteer sewers to be mindful of the weather in Haiti which is hot (therefore lighter weight fabric will be best),
-We also ask volunteers to be mindful of "appropriateness" of the dress. It is always better to make a dress longer than shorter and the person can adjust accordingly to what they feel comfortable with therefore adding a few inches to the hemline is suggested.
1) Determine the amount of dresses you will be making and donating and the time frame you will be doing it in
2) Email the project coordinator at email@example.com and detail the number of dresses you will be making and time frame you will be doing so in.
3) Go to this website to find a variety of tutorials that we have compiled. Each picture corresponds to an approved online tutorial of how to make a variety of dresses. Any combination and set of sizes of these tutorials is encouraged. You can make 5 of them or all of them. Whatever you feel you can do with the skills you have. If you have dress patterns at home or know how to make patterns feel free to do so as well.