The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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February 7, 2013

Area residents sew dresses for young girls

FULTON, Ill. — Seniors are reaching out to impoverished children one stitch at a time. A group of women with a love of sewing and helping others is working together to provide dresses for young girls in need.

Dianne Flikkema had heard of different groups sewing to help children across the world and wanted to lend a hand. She started contacting friends at the River Bend Senior Center and soon the club was busy gathering materials and patterns.

“I enjoy sewing and had a lot of excess material,” Flikkema said. “I thought perhaps seniors could make a difference and help out with something like this.”

The group is hoping to send the dresses to Haiti or any other area where there is a need. Currently the small club of seven women does not have a specific goal for how many dresses they plan to make, just as many as possible, according to Flikkema.

 No matter how many times they have to change a project or take things apart and start over, the sewers have little frustration when they think about the children who will benefit. When Joyce Bowman sews she thinks of her granddaughter and the opportunity to help girls across the country who may not be as fortunate.

“Our son adopted a little girl in need,” Bowman said, “I like to be able to help out other children.”

Flikkema and other sewers have several friends and family who go on mission trips and plan to partner with them to assure the dresses get to those in need. This gives seniors who either cannot travel or simply do not want to travel a way to offer help vicariously.

“We figured we would have some ready, so they could easily take some with them,” Flikkema said.

Susan May of Susan’s Calico Creations donated four sewing machines to the River Bend Senior Center previously, making the sewing club possible. She also provided much of the fabric for the project. Other community members have lent a hand in the process as well. One local man donated fabric from his wife who was a quilter.

While many of the sewers often take their projects home, they also meet after the community lunch to make it a social event. The ladies follow a simple pattern for  dresses that can fit girls of different ages and sizes, using bright colors and fun patterns.

“It’s a quick and easy way to help others,” Judy Holesinger said.

The group is looking for extra help. Sewers of all ages are welcome to join from throughout the area. They also are looking for help with hand-stitching, cutting out patterns and pressing the fabric. River Bend Senior Center is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The sewers often come by the center for the community lunch on Wednesdays and stay to do some sewing.

For more information, contact Charlotte Combs at (815) 589-3925.

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