Dress a Graduate–It’s Elementary!

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by Justin Ward for WDBJ7
July 28, 2014

MARTINSVILLE, Va.

Martinsville group sews confidence with every stitch in handmade dresses

The Sewing Studio is donating dresses to Henry County Public Schools for girls in elementary schools that come from low income families.

Watch the WDBJ7 video HERE!

All kids want new clothes to start the the new school year, but many families are on tight budgets and have more than one child to dress.

Some girls who go to elementary school in Henry County will have a new wardrobe when classes start next month.

“Look how sweet. Some little girl is going to feel like a little princess in that, I think,” said Brenda Feeny, the owner of The Sewing Studio. [AQS NOTE: AND a longtime AQS QuiltWeek® vendor!] She is starting her own clothing line, of sorts, that doesn’t come with a price tag.

She and a few sewing buddies are making dresses for kids from low income families who don’t have a large allowance for expensive clothes.

“A high self esteem starts from the beginning of school and not having nice clothes sometimes gives you not quite such a feeling of self worth,” Feeny said.

She started the Dress a Graduate — It’s Elementary program.

“It could boost their morale and we certainly love to sew,” Feeny said.

As owner of The Sewing Studio in Martinsville, the tools and fabric were not hard to get.

Her sister, Dot Boger, and several friends got on board and, since March, the group has made more than 130 dresses by hand.

“A lot of people have had some really hard times due to the economy so this is good for them. And I hope it makes everybody as happy as it did us,” said Dot Boger, a seamstress.

Boger made three dresses.

“Pretty new dresses just make all girls feel better. It’s just a girl thing,” Boger said.

Word spread quickly, now women from Roanoke, and Eden, North Carolina, are helping with the project.

Boys are not left out. These seamstresses are making a few pants and t-shirts. Feeny is donating the dresses to the school system and leaving it up to school leaders to decide who gets a dress.

“They just need some help. And so this is just a way to do it and give back because I don’t have any money, but I have fabric and I can sew,” Feeny said.

The pattern is simple, but each stitch is sewn with a hope that these dresses will make children feel proud to have new clothes.

Copyright © 2014, WDBJ7

AQS is proud of this effort by Brenda, her shop, and all of the volunteers who helped. Brenda noted that around 200 garments have been placed in the school offices throughout Henry County elementary schools. They are available for any student who needs clothes for any reason. With cooler weather coming soon, Brenda and friends are moving on to long pants, jackets, etc. for any size elementary student.

What can YOU do to share your love of sewing/quilting with your community or local school?

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