WELCA group stays busy

GRANVILLE Many items are being recycled these days including pillowcases, which are used to make pillowcase dresses.

A pillowcase dress gives new life to an old pillowcase, plus it gives a young girl an airy “new” dress that is easy to put on. New pillowcases can also be used for the dresses, which are simple to make.

Linda Smette, secretary of the Women of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America group at First Lutheran Church in Granville, saw the idea of pillowcase dresses in the Western Whirlwind, a WELCA publication. She and Cora Jesz, who is mission action chairman of the Granville group, introduced the project to other members of the church group during a meeting in August as a possible project to celebrate the 25th anniversary of WELCA.

“Cora and I made a couple of samples and got to do a show-and-tell with them. We did a few things relating to the project that evening as part of the program,” Smette said.

“And it just took off from there,” Jesz added.

The dresses are inexpensive and easy to make. A top strip is cut off horizontally. The amount of fabric cut off determines what size the dress will be the more fabric that is cut off, the shorter the dress will be. The dress is then folded vertically in half and arm holes are cut out. The fabric around the neck and armholes of the garment are folded into a thin tube that is sewn to make a casing for elastic to be threaded through. The fabric is gathered slightly when ribbon is tied at each shoulder. The hem of the pillowcase is left intact. Embellishments can be added to cover the seam.

The group made 165 dresses of various sizes small, medium, large and extra large. Some dresses were sewn in the church but many of them were sewn in members’ homes.

Many pillowcases were donated by church members and some were pillowcases purchased at thrift stores. Most of the embellishments, about 660 yards or 1,980 feet, were also donated.

“There were very few new pillowcases,” Smette said. “Most of them are used pillowcases that people donated.”

The dresses and quilts, an on-going project of the Granville group, were blessed during the worship service on May 5 in the church. They will be sent to Africa with shipping taking place on May 15 and 16.

Before the dresses can be shipped they must be rolled up and put into two-gallon Ziploc bags, according to size. The bags must be labeled with the size of dresses and how many of each are enclosed.

“Of course, there will be more of the smaller sized dresses per bag than the large sized dresses,” Smette said. “I think we’ll be able to get quite a few dresses in each bag because we have to roll the dresses tight,” Smette added.

The next endeavor for the group might be shorts for boys. They’ll also be made from pillowcases.