Arts & Crafts Magazine

Dress A Joplin Child For The First Day of School

By Sewchicago @sewchicago

Joplin, MODear ASG members and readers, we’ve received a special request from the American Sewing Guild Region 3 to sew new, hand-made first-day-of- school outfits for children whose lives have been turned upside down by the devastating Joplin tornado.

Heirloom sewing expert Susan Stewart

Susan Stewart

Heirloom sewing expert, Susan Stewart, has started a project to help the school children of Joplin, Missouri to make the start of school a happy and hopeful new beginning for them with Project First Day. The goal is to make a school outfit for a child’s first day of school. Susan lives a very short distance from Joplin and would be able to receive the clothing and make sure it’s distributed in time for the beginning of Joplin’s new school year starting August 17, 2011.

Think Cool

School is scheduled to start on August 17. Around Joplin, that’s still summer, and the weather is usually quite warm. Sleeveless and short-sleeved garments made from cotton are probably best.

For girls, think of simple, pretty dresses, capri-and-top sets, or cute skirts. Peasant-type tops and tunic tops are good for girls who are a little older, and will fit a wide range of sizes .For boys, camp shirts are easy to sew. While the goal is to keep everything primarily hand-made to showcase the ASG sewing skills, you could use a purchased T-shirt and add an appliqué or machine embroidery design to coordinate with a skirt or capris you’ve made.  Reminder: pre-shrink the fabric and trims so that the garment doesn’t shrink or pucker after laundering.


Lezette Thomason of Children’s Corner Patterns has graciously offered to send a free pattern to anyone interested in using it to make a garment for this effort. She has also written up an instructional sheet on how to modify patterns to better fit plus-sized children. If you are interested, email her at

Children's Corner Patterns

If you don’t already have children’s patterns or you can’t wait for Lezette’s pattern, here are some patterns that are available free on the Internet. Most of the patterns that are easily found are for younger girls.

Not sure what size to make for children’s clothing? Here are Simplicity’s measuring charts for Girls/Girls Plus and Boys/Teen Boys.

Where To Send

Please send your finished the garments directly to Susan Stewart at the address below by August 1, 2011.

Susan Stewart
PO Box 1371
Pittsburg, KS 66762

Please consider if you can help. If you do, we’d love to see pictures! Feel free to email or add them to our Flickr album!

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By Deb
posted on 18 August at 00:17
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saw your story on the national news tonight!!! what a wonderful gift you are doing for the children on Joplin MO. it brought tears to my eyes. Many blessings to all involved!!!!