Juanita, our leader, presented the idea at our women’s mission meeting. She had made thirty little girls’ dresses to go in Operation Child Christmas boxes. Would we like to get together and sew on the buttons? We were all excited about the opportunity.
I woke the day of our gathering with great anticipation for the day ahead. A button party at my house! I put ingredients for corn chowder in my big soup pot, and baked a loaf of pumpkin/banana bread. The aroma from the kitchen, I hoped, would be inviting as everyone arrived. Because of schedule conflicts, only four ladies came but we had a wonderful time.
We sat around a card table chatting and sewing. Juanita had attached a set of buttons on a safety pin to each little dress, and even marked the button sites with a pen. She had brought a box full of various colors of thread. All I could add were a couple pair of scissors and some bottles of water.
As we worked, Juanita gave us some more background as to how she got started making these dresses. “I’ve been given stack after bin full of material,” she said, “and I had to figure out how to use all this cloth wisely.” She said that as her seamstress aunts gave up sewing they would give her all their material. Word got around that Juanita makes quilts, and friends began bringing their fabric. She laughed at herself as she told how overwhelmed she felt sometimes, yet would not turn down such nice gifts.
“I think God gave me the idea of making little girls’ dresses. I’d made plenty for my little girls as they were growing up but now I have no little ones. I called Samaritan’s Purse to see if they could use so many dresses. I couldn’t take on filling thirty Christmas boxes.”
The Samaritan’s Purse representative was thrilled over the prospect of colorful girls’ dresses in varying sizes. She told Juanita to send them in a separate container when our church sends Christmas boxes to Atlanta for processing. As volunteers go through the boxes, sometimes they need one more item to make a box complete. That’s when they select one from additional donations, like Juanita’s bin of dresses.
The dresses are adorable, each one different from any other.
They are sizes two to ten, each one colorful and variously decorated with rick-rack, ribbons, ruffles, and pockets. One little dress I sewed buttons on had three pockets across the front. I could imagine a little girl picking up pebbles to put in her pockets! Some have sleeves, others are like jumpers.
We talked about the little girls, somewhere around the world, who might wear these practical, yet festive garments. I could almost hear the giggles of the children as they play in their new frocks. Someone reminded us of when we used to wear flour sack dresses and how pretty they could be. Annette remembered that once, when she was small, another child sang out for all to hear, “Annette’s wearing a flour sack dress.” Annette answered something like, “Don’t you wish your Mama made you one too?”
Angela showed us the head bands she has crocheted, one to go with each of the little dresses.
It was a wonderful morning of sharing stories about grandchildren, the old days, and new tips for our aches and pains. But our chatter always came back around to the joy of being involved in a worldwide endeavor.
After lunch, our little group began to disperse. There were five dresses still buttonless. I will take three to Mary Alice who couldn’t come and really wanted to help. The other two I finished myself. It was my treat–like relishing the last bite of pie!
Do you have your Christmas boxes ready? There’s still time! Our church’s deadline is November 11, others may be later. Get a box at your church or the Grady County Baptist Association office and head to the store!