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A little unselfish sewing

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This isn’t my normal sewing project – a super hero cape for a little girl, but I think it’s a cool idea and a great way to talk about sewing for those in need.

First of all I have to thank Susan for connecting this great non-profit, Art2Love, and our sewing group together otherwise I never would have thought to get involved.

Art2Love is a charity that works with kids in crisis – either in the hospital with cancer, in foster care or group homes, or, in the case of my little cape recipient, with CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates for abused and neglected children here in Austin). The kids choose between designing their own Artlings (softie dolls made too look like their own drawings) or a superhero cape with their own colors and logos.

Then organizers and volunteers use donations to buy materials or donated scraps to create these capes and Artlings. Some of the kids’ work is really wild and we have to think outside the box when it comes to making them.

I chose Alyssa’s design because it was pretty simple and I thought I could knock it out in a few hours, you know, test the waters of cape making with something easy.

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The cape is a lavender slippery poly satin with pink letters appliqued on (I tried to mimic her handwriting) with polka dot ribbon border (she specified polka dots!). I think this girl must have been really young because the older kids would make really crazy designs with fancy letters and flames and stars.

The capes themselves are pretty simple: a yard by yard square, hemmed and with a casing at the top with a ribbon through it to tie at the neck.

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I made two similar capes in the end – one will go to Alyssa and the other is being used as a display cape in businesses to promote the charity.

The reason I loved this concept so much was that these days I don’t know of many ways sewists can use their craft in a charity setting. There are plenty of groups that knit or crochet blankets for cancer kids or sew quilts for those in need but with cheap clothing so plentiful it’s not like garment and craft sewists can sew clothes for the homeless or something. There’s already donations for that.

But the capes are such a great idea and a perfect way for me to use my skills. The product is unique to each kid and I loved this quote on Art2Love‘s website, “Making choices of what to draw and how to draw it is liberating and empowering for kids who have very little voice in their current situation.” That’s so true. Karen, the founder, was telling me how some kids go into the process of drawing a little skeptical of what the outcome will be and once they get their Artling or cape they light up and are so excited. This cape is going to make this little girl that I’ll never meet feel really special and I’m glad I could be apart of it.

Have you done any sewing or crafting for charity? And if so, what was the organization?

Comments (15) for post “A little unselfish sewing”

  • I’ve been seeing a lot of people doing Art2Love projects lately. I think it’s such a great idea, and really awesome for the kids. I haven’t been able to make one, yet, but it is on my list. On the other end of the age scale, I know the Northwest Sewing Center is having a charity sews for Alzheimer’s patients where they make Fidget Mats. The next one is on Aug. 22 if anyone is interested: http://www.nwsewcenter.com

  • Aw, that’s really fantastic! Aside from being an awesome, encouraging symbol for Alyssa, it looks like the cape was a lot of fun to make, as well! I really want to start making prayer shawls and baby sweaters for my church now that my knitting is getting a little more swift!

  • What a lovely design and such a wonderful cause to be making for! I hope Alyssa loves her cape and gets to have many adventures with it!

  • This is really great, I love the sentiment behind the project. And it’s so very personal, rather than just something like donated toys (not that there’s anything at all wrong with that, it’s just not personal like this is). I especially like the touch you added of attempting to mimic the little girl’s own handwriting. I guess you receive something like a colour photocopy or digital photo of the design? I hope the kids get to keep the original so they have both their vision and the physical realization of it! Please share more of them if you continue with this charity!

  • Adorbs!! I just got a pattern to make a cape, but for a big person (me) and in wool to keep me warm. But, you know as well as I do that I’m going to feel like a Superhero in it! How great that you are making these for charity. Every kid deserves to feel like a Superhero. 🙂

  • Hey Carolyn, the kids get a piece of paper with a blank “cape” and logo template that they get to color in. Then the organizers make any extra notes that the kids might tell them. I think this girl was young because there were a lot of notes on colors, like the girl had an easier time explaining what she wanted than drawing it. Then the drawings are passed on to the sewists to interpret. I think they get their drawings back with the capes. 🙂

  • Lately I only have time to read blog on my phone while I’m nursing. And I have been saving this post in my reader for over a week to tell you how awesome this project is (I can’t comment disqus on my phone for some reason- not a very smart phone, haha). I love the cape and the entire sentiment surrounding the Art2Love charity. I’ve been reading up on it. It’s really right up my alley. Very, very cool!

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