During the month of September, the Sirena Patterns community is joining sewing vlogger Marisol De Jesús from Mari Sews in #ProjectDressAGirl2022. This is such an amazing event! Let’s meet Mari and get more details on #ProjectDressAGirl2022.
Meet Mari De Jesús
Besides being a full-time worker, a mother and a wife, Marisol De Jesús is a sewing vlogger and entrepreneur. She owns Inspired Leather Co, a small business where she sells custom made and engraved leather goods. Marisol was born in Ohio from parents of puertorrican descent. She grew up surrounded by the puertorrican culture and has always embraced her latin identity. Mari currently lives in Maryland where she has also been exposed to other latinamerican cultures. Mari has been sewing for over 10 years when she decided to start sewing her own clothes so that her “curvy”, “latina” body could be dressed with nice fitting, beautiful clothes. As she says, “We sew for ourselves to feel amazing in the clothes we wear”.
Project Dress A Girl
Three years ago Mari got contacted by the Dress A Girl Around the World organization to make dresses for girls in need. Dress A Girl Around the World is a non denominational, independent, christian organization that believes each girl in the world is worthy of dignity, respect, and love and deserves to have one new dress. Dresses get donated through program ambassadors to different communities around the world.
Mari invited several sewists from a sewing group she belongs to try to make as many dresses as possible in a couple of hours with some fabric that was donated to her. This initial sewing effort resulted in 12 completed dresses.They continued sewing by themselves with the remaining materials and a total of 33 dresses were made. Mari posted a video on this sewing effort in her YouTube channel Mari Sews.
Project Dress A Girl was born last year, after one of Mari’s YouTube channel subscribers told her that she saw the previous video and thought it would be a good idea to go nationwide with the initiative within the sewing community. Multiple sewing vloggers joined the effort and spread the word. Tutorials, hacks, sewing events, and other activities were held throughout the whole month.The initial goal was to have 100 beautiful dresses made from September 1st to the 30th to be donated to Dress a Girl Around the World. But because the enthusiasm from the sewing community skyrocketed, this goal changed to 200 dresses and then to 500 dresses throughout the one month event. At the end of September 2021, Mari counted a total of 790 donated dresses which then turned out to be 890 dresses as dresses continued to be received afterwards.
Out of these 890 dresses, about 200 were contributed by our Sirena Patterns community. This project brought a lot of enthusiasm into our sewing community! Sirena Patterns members sewed from 1 up to 21 dresses. Those that could not sew either had others sew for them, donated materials, and cheered up those sewing. Every time a dress was finished and posted, the sewists were cheered-up by the community, which in turn increased the enthusiasm for making additional dresses. This project helped strengthen the bond within the Sirena Patterns community members. It feels amazing to help and support others while doing what you love to do! Those dresses were made with love to embrace, cheer, uplift and empower the girls that received them! What a superpower!
So in 2022, the challenge is for the sewing community to surpass last year’s number of donated dresses and get 1,000 to 1,500 beautiful dresses through #ProjectDressAGirl2022. Dresses need to be sturdy, modest, beautiful, and made with love! The dress is meant to uplift, bring happiness and empower the girl that receives it. Since this might be the only dress a girl might own, dresses need to be sturdy (both in material and construction) as they are meant to be worn over and over again. In a nutshell, these are the minimum requirements for dresses:
- Style: Pull over the head without the need of fasteners or closures other than fabric ties. Please do not use ribbons as closures since they might not withstand the tear and wear. Do not use zippers, buttons, velcro
- Fabric: Sturdy, opaque, woven natural fibers: cotton and cotton/linen blends. Please make sure your fabric is non-sheer, does not have cartoon characters, is not local holiday themed, and has no wording. T-shirts (preferably made of cotton or cotton blends) can be used for the top part of T-shirt dresses but please include a sturdy cotton bottom.
- Pockets: Functional pockets are highly recommended as they provide a place for the girl to keep her things.These can be patch pockets or inseam pockets
- Labels: Ideally, each dress should come with a “Dress A Girl Around the World” label sewn in a visible place in the front of the dress. The label has the purpose to disencourage sexual predators or human traffickers from harming the girl as they will be aware that an organization is looking over the girl.
If you belong to Sirena Elite and participated in our anniversary celebration, please use the labels provided there. But, we don’t want a label to stop you from donating a dress. So, if you do not have a label and cannot get one, please send your dresses without the label and we will make sure a label gets sewn to them.
Dress counting: To have the final number of donated dresses, you have until September 30th to sew, take a picture and post your dresses.
- Post a picture of each dress in instagram using hashtag: #ProjectDressAGirl2022 and tag @marisewsforcurves and @sirenapatterns.
Please note: if you use a hashtag different than #ProjectDressAGirl2022, your post cannot be counted, so please make sure you include the complete and correctly spelled hashtag. The 2022 at the end of the hashtag is needed to differentiate these dresses from last year’s dresses.
Please note that Facebook posts don’t get counted by Mari either. There is a facebook group named project dress a girl that is unrelated to this initiative.
But if you belong to any of the SirenaPatterns private facebook groups you can post your dresses there and we will send our total count to Mari at the end of the event. Please, use hashtag #ProjectDressAGirl2022.
Donating your dresses:
- Deliver or ship your dresses (after having posted them in instagram or sirenapatterns private facebook groups using hashtag #ProjectDressAGirl2022) to Sirena Patterns. Contact email@example.com to coordinate shipment or delivery.
Please ship or deliver your dresses no later than Saturday October 1st, 2022
Hope you are inspired by Mari and the sewing community in embracing girls in need by bringing them joy and empowerment through a beautiful dress. Help us support girls in need by sewing one or more dresses, donating materials to those sewing dresses, and by cheering us up!
Click here to join our sewing club Sirena Elite in which you receive, among many other monthly benefits, discounts in fabric stores which you can use to get the materials needed to sew some dresses for #ProjectDressAGirl2022.
Let’s continue to use our sewing superpower to embrace others,uplift them, empower them, and bring them joy!