Help artist to ‘dress a girl around the world’

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A chance find of a Facebook page has turned a local artist’s home into a hive of sewing activities; when artist Esther Clark came across the ‘Dress a girl around the world’-project, it really hit a chord.

The project revolves around the idea that every girl in the world deserves a pretty dress. In reality, of course, many girls don’t. Using colourful cottons, Esther has so far made over 60 little dresses, but her aim is to send off one hundred to The Gambia.

So far she has used over 45 metres of fabric, 100 metres of ribbon and tape, and more than one kilometre of thread!

Fortunately a few shops have come forward to help out: Horsham Matters have donated materials and Saturday market fabric-stall holder Lydia has been very generous with donating ribbon and other haberdasheries.

Horsham’s newly refurbished Cloth Store in The Carfax is also involved; there will be a sewing workshop where up to eight people are welcome to join us and make a dress on Thursday 6 February, 10am – 1 pm. There is no problem if you haven’t sewn before – this is a perfect opportunity to learn and in the process you help a little girl in Africa!

What motivates Esther to spend so much time on this venture? “I love fabrics, I love happy colours, and it’s an extension of sorts to my textile art.

“I have been to Africa a few times, and many children walk around in little more than rags. I realise than this won’t solve their poverty, but at least if I send off 100 dresses, 100 little girls will be very happy.

“It’s a good, fun, enjoyable project. And hopefully a sociable one as well, when we get the workshops going!”

In the three years ‘Dress a girl around the world’ has been going in the UK, over 9000 dresses have been sent off.

The scheme is also known as ‘Pillowcase dresses’ as dresses may be made by changing a pillowcase into a dress, particularly suitable for the smallest girls. The dresses are made using a simple pattern, and are very easy to make.

If you would like to join the workshop on Thursday 6 February, please contact The Cloth Store in Horsham on 01403 211786, or simply pop in to the shop, or get in touch with Esther on 01403 272978 or email Esthervanoostrum@aol.com .

Report and picture contributed.