Skip to content

A dream stitched together

"One more for the pile!" a woman exclaims as she places a newly sewed dress on top of a table, which continually grows throughout the day.
Suzanne Eisler's dream was to bring women together to sew dresses and shorts for children in need around the world, thus, Little Dresses for Africa was born in Wawota where women have made over 400 dresses and more than 90 pairs of shorts to be sent around the world. Here Suzanne (left) is presented with her own "Little Dress" by Marion Husband (right).

"One more for the pile!" a woman exclaims as she places a newly sewed dress on top of a table, which continually grows throughout the day.

It's the last day of sewing together before the summer months, but the plan for the many ladies involved is to come back again this fall to the "organized chaos" as the ladies laugh, diligently working away on their projects which include dresses, shorts, and blankets.

The hum of sewing machines resonates throughout the Free Methodist Church in Wawota on Tuesday, April 15, as approximately 25 women chat and laugh together. Not only are they making Little Dresses for Africa, but they are creating a fellowship amongst women from Kennedy, Fairlight, and Wawota, though they would welcome more, of all denominations.

They've come together because Suzanne Eisler of Wawota had a simple dream, to help those in need. Many people around the world are not fortunate enough to have clothing; but, in Wawota women work in an assembly line-like matter. Some are cutting fabric, others sitting with their sergers or sewing machines, some sit pulling elastics through, while others stand in the kitchen at the ironing boards pressing the different items.

The happiness and laughter within the room is placed with loving care into the clothing made. The pile grows and everyone continues to create items of clothing for boys and girls around the world.

"It was my dream," Eisler explained. "I went to Bible Study and we talked about things we'd like to do and I always wanted to make Little Dresses for Africa, and they said, 'What's stopping you?'"

"So, i put an ad in the News in a Minute, I was scared to death no one would show, but 21 showed up. This is our 8th session... and the least we've had is 12 people."

Overall, Eisler says 43 different people have contributed to the cause with help from the local thrift store who saves material for the women and the Free Methodist Church who allows the women, of all different denominations, to gather together for this cause.

The totals as of Wednesday, April 16, prior to their sewing session, were 97 pairs of shorts, 412 dresses, as well as a few receiving blankets. Of this 57 pairs of shorts and 207 dresses had found their way around the world, not only to Africa, but to Mexico, Nicaragua, and Peru as well.

What makes this even more amazing is the fact that Eisler hasn't approached anyone to take the clothing, but has simply been taking calls from people who have heard about what the ladies in Wawota are doing and are headed to these different countries already.

"It's way beyond my wildest dreams, I never would have thought this would have happened!" Eisler exclaimed. "It's one of the best things I've done."

One of the women involved in the activities surrounding the production line, Joan Wilson, explained it was more than just sewing clothes for those in need, but it is something that has brought the women of Wawota and surrounding communities together allowing for fellowship and faith to take a front seat in creating new relationships.

As a thank you to Eisler, the women saved some scraps of this material and that material to which Marion Husband sewed making a larger version of the Little Dresses for Africa for Eisler. The women laughed and cheered as Eisler modeled the dress and thanked everyone for their hard work.

The women will take a break for summer, but will be back at it in the fall as they hope to accumulate more fabric as Eisler explained they were coming to the end of their current stock.