Terry Lofland, left, and Sherry Fick hold up dresses created from pillowcases. The group uses standard and king-size pillowcases to build dresses for girls in need across the world. Volunteers have recently began sewing shorts for boys. L&T photo/Keeley Moree
Local group transforms used goods for the greater good
By KEELEY MOREE
• Leader & Times
With just a few clips from scissors and the buzz of a sewing machine, members of the Grace Lutheran Church in Liberal are bringing both comfort and a touch of style to children in need across the world.
During the past six months, ladies from the local church have dedicated their free time to constructing hundreds of pieces of clothing for children across the world.
Amazingly enough, one woman says she’s able to construct a girl’s dress in about 15 minutes flat. Her secret lies in the supplies passed down to the group through the United Way and Southwest Medical Center.
The women start each dress with a simple pillowcase.
Sherry Fick began the project and acts as the main distributor of pillowcases and supplies for the group. She got the idea from the Orphan Grain Train organization in Norfolk, Neb.
“They mention pillowcase dresses and they have a pattern on their website,” Fick said. “We get sheets, pillowcases and hospital robes from the hospital every so often. We were just sending the pillowcases to Orphan Grain Train but we talked about it during a meeting and we got people started on making them.”
Armed with a pattern and sewing machines, the small group has 134 dresses ready to ship to Haiti with a mission group from First Southern Baptist Church in Liberal. Another 50 dresses are marked to travel with other groups to Nicaragua in the near future.
Volunteer Terry Lofland says she has made nearly 100 dresses. She explained that standard and king-size pillowcases are perfect materials since only a few cuts need to be made at the top for a person’s head and arms.
While simple in design, the pillowcase prints can range from simple to ornate with colorful stripes, floral prints and even puppies. When the group receives white pillowcases, a couple of volunteers go through the process of dying the fabric to add more color and character. Some volunteers even add pockets, lace and ornamental fabric onto the children’s clothing. While the personalizations aren’t necessary, Lofland said she thinks they’ll mean the world to the children receiving them.
“Little girls like to have color,” Lofland explained. “You want them to feel good when they get these little dresses, so they have something new to put on.”
Lofland said boys will also be getting clothing in the near future, as the Liberal group and other area groups are starting to sew shorts. The amount of fabric and elastic needed to construct a pair of shorts is able to fit in a sandwich-size bag, but the group is seeking help finding fabric with suitable prints since the boys “don’t really want flowers.”
Fick and Lofland explained that anyone can donate fabric, pillow cases or time to the cause. Fick said the project is great for students who are seeking credit for community service hours.
“I have a child who’s handicapped, but his hands work great so I’ve been taking the pillowcases to him so he cuts those for me,” Fick added.
Anyone interested in joining the group’s cause can contact the Grace Lutheran Church at (620) 624-5900 or stop by 1200 W. 11th St. to donate supplies.