You know how there are people who you start chatting with and you just immediately feel connected to them as if you've known them for a long time? Well I was fortunate enough to get to e-meet Teresa Coates recently and I was immediately just taken with her and her story.
Several years ago, Teresa and her two kids packed up and went to Vietnam. During their time there, they spent some time volunteering at the Tam Ky orphanage. And now Teresa has launched a charity handmade clothing drive for that orphanage. So when she asked me if I could lend a hand with some sewing, I dove head first into my fabric stash and gleefully started sewing like a crazy person. But before I share what I made, here's a bit of back story from Teresa:
When I volunteered, along with my two children, to spend a couple of months working with orphans in Vietnam, I had no idea just how much I would grow to love those children. Despite the language chasm between us, we developed friendships and an affection that is incomparable. As a mom, it was amazing to watch my kids with them--Audrey would hold the babies and feed them formula, while Stuart was the one the young boys flocked to for a game of chase. Six years and two return visits later, the situation at the orphanages has not improved. The state-run facilities are desperately in need of additional items that cannot be purchased with the limited funds provided by the government. International adoptions were shut down and children continue to be left at the orphanages.
Along with efforts to publish our story about moving to Vietnam, I want to provide yet again for these kids. Each time we've returned we have been able to bring along clothes, food, shoes, and toys, as well as cash to pay for fruit, yogurt and milk (all are considered non-essential so not supplied by the government).
As part of our Pho for Three fundraiser, I’m heading up a charity sewing drive to get quality, handmade items to these kids I love so much. There are five things, in particular, that I’m asking for: shorts, dresses, messenger bags, pencil pouches and simple diapers. Depending on your time, sewing abilities, spare fabric, etc. you can pick whichever one you want to make. With more than 100 kids ranging from newborn to 17 years old, there’s plenty of opportunity to help.
Here's a post that outlines the specifics of the Sewing for Orphans project.
If you're unable to sew something you can also donate to her fundraiser here.
Nearly the moment I finished chatting with Teresa about the project, I got to sewing and had such a great time making up a bunch of goodies for the kids at Tam Ky.
I started with pencil cases.
I used the boxy zippered pencil case tutorial by Annie Get Your Glue Gun here.
And then came the shorts from a tutorial by Dana Made It. (Although I'm convinced that I printed out the pattern incorrectly because the shorts are seriously tiny. I'm guessing 12 months max instead of the toddler sizes that I was anticipating. They're still adorable and I'm sure they can be used but if you make shorts, you might need to make something larger. Teresa can let you know what she's still lacking in terms of sizes.)
And then these flouncy skirts, also from a Dana Made it tutorial. (Ridiculously easy to make and I kinda wish I was a 5 year old girl so I could wear one too!)
And then of course tiny tank tops and t-shirts with matching appliques were a necessity.
Final tally: 12 pencil cases, 7 shorts, 6 skirts, 16 t-shirts and tanks. All boxed up and winging their way to Teresa where she'll be collecting all the handmade treasures before they're sent over to the kiddos at Tam Ky in Vietnam.
If you can lend a hand in any way, again here's more info on the Tam Ky project here.