Homemade Sundresses for Haiti

Earlier this month, when Project HOPE Art was at Nadine’s orphanage in Port-Au-Prince, it became abundantly clear just how few clothes many of her girls have. The things they do own are very worn at best, some just barely holding together. HOPE Art would like to change this, with a personal touch, by starting a Homemade Dress Drive. We are inviting all seamstresses, beginner or advanced, to make one or more simple sundresses (our goal is 30) which will be hand delivered to the orphanage by the end of the year. This project is being aided by an online pattern company “oliver + s”, who has kindly agreed to let us use their free sundress pattern, which you can download HERE. This well designed pattern was used to create this little pink number, which is officially “Dress #1”. Now just 29 more to go. Please email me should you have any questions, and thanks in advance to all who take this on. Dresses may be sent to:

Project HOPE Art
PO Box 786
Aptos CA

93 thoughts on “Homemade Sundresses for Haiti

    1. Thanks Debbie – that’s so great! The pattern has multiple sizes (2 – 8) and I made a 7. Most of the girls are around size 5 or 6 I’d say, so you can choose. I bought 2 yards of the main fabric and a yard of the accent, and finished the dress in about 3 hours, start to finish. Let me know when you’re done and I’ll give you my mailing address. Thanks again for getting this drive off the ground!

      1. I have some dresses completed and would like to send it to you. All the way from Queensland, Australia 🙂 Please Email me at: SewingBySari@gmail.com with the address and information that I will need to post it.

        Kind Regards, Sari

      2. Hi Sari,
        Wow, you are so kind to want to help from so far away. I have no idea what costs are involved in shipping, but all our dresses are now going to our northern CA address at:
        HOPE Art
        c/o Earth Art Studio
        767 Cathedral Dr.
        Aptos, CA 95003

        You can email me at kbarbro(at)pacbell(dot)net if you have more questions. There is no big rush, our goal is to get them all in our studios by mid November. How great to be able to say that these dresses truly came from all over the world!

    2. When are you shipping these dresses out? A Stitch In Tyme Boutique, would like to make and donate a dress. Just curious as to what the deadline is! Thanks!
      Jessica Barron
      A Stitch In Tyme Boutique

  1. Since I cant sew even the most basic anything (my machine needs dusting when I have to fix a seam) but would like more information on if they will accept “donated” dresses……….. Do they have to be new or can they be gently worn?

    1. Thanks Wanda, gently worn dresses would be great too. Please keep in mind that it’s very hot in Haiti almost year round, so they really need to be very lightweight. You can email me at kbarbro (at) pacbell.net for my mailing address. Thanks for your help!

  2. What a wonderful project! I have lots of fabric and can make a couple of dresses. Will let you know when they are ready to mail to you!

  3. My 8 yr old daughter helped me to sew this dress today. This is her first NONE pillow sewing experience. She took care of all but the straps and hem. We are ready for you to send us the address to mail the dress to.

  4. Great Jeannette! If you email me at kbarbro (at) pacbell.net, I’ll reply with my mailing address. Please thank your wonderful daughter for me, I’ll be sure to get photos of the girls in their new dresses!

  5. My daughter is 13 and in a small girl scout troop. They are always looking for community service projects. She was really excited when I showed her this dress drive. I have a bunch of material that we can use to make the dresses. Do you want more than just 30 dresses? Let me know what you need. Thanks.

    1. Thank you! I would LOVE to take more than 30 dresses. Given that I don’t have the exact size count, I was worried that they might not all match up just right. Plus, how great would it be for the girls to have some choices when they dress? (The things we take for granted.) Sew away and please thank your daughter and her troop for me.

      1. 2 girls in the troop are ready to go, pattern downloaded and material is ready. Just to meet, cut and sew. Where do you want these sent? email me or reply with the information needed to get these dresses to you. I don’t know just how many they will get done in a day, but we will get some to you soon.
        Thanks, Kris


  6. I would love to participate, and I will ask my Sew Sisters to help. What a wonderful way to send help nd hope to Haiti.

  7. Kathy, thanks so much for giving us the opportunity to participate in this wonderful project! I can’t wait to get started on my dress.
    P.S. I LOVE your blog. It has been invaluable to me as a volunteer art docent!

  8. My daughters and myself would love to help with this! Is there a deadline on when you need the dresses by? Please put us down for at least 3 dresses!!

  9. I am a YMCA day care provider, art teacher and artist in Port Angeles, WA. Our after school YMCA Y’s Kids LOVE to sew and would like to take on this sun dress project. We will be intouch with you on our progress … a little bit at a time …. Thank you for your suggestion!!!

  10. What a wonderful project! I will be going to a huge thrift store this weekend, and would love to send you a box of dresses.

    I’m still learning how to sew, but want to help. Thrift store, here I come!

    ~ miss chris
    aka the PLARNSTAR!

  11. Hello! I just heard about this from the Craft Knife blog. I’m the head of the ladies’ department of the New York City Ballet costume shop, and some of my coworkers at the ballet and I would love to participate in your project. Can you send me the information on where to send them, deadlines, etc? My email is info@angelafriedman.com . Also, can we use other patterns (or make our own) if we prefer not to use the suggested one? Are there specific sizes or styles that you’re lacking so far that we could fill-in for you a little?

    Thanks so much for organizing such a special and loving project! All my best-

    1. Wow, thanks Angela! I’m thrilled that you and your coworkers want to join our dress drive. To answer your question, any other style of dress that is made for really warm weather would be great. Now if you want to consider something else, the other HOPE Art wish is to collect some play or dress up clothes for the girls. We noticed that they loved pretending to pose for a camera with just sunglasses, so how much more fun would long gloves and a boa be? I’ll send more info via your email, but I just wanted to post our thoughts here too. Thanks again!

  12. i made a dress! its a size 5, i would really like to mail it to you. my email address is emilyrusnak@gmail.com could i please have your address? also, is there anything else i could give to be of use such as toys, underwear and so forth?

  13. Hi! Everyone here at Tutu.Com is excited about this project! I see that you are also looking for “Dress Up” costumes, too. We will donate a bunch of childrens tutus and make some dresses, too. Thanks for organizing such a great project! Please send me your address for shipping the dresses and costumes. My email is CLFolts@tutu.com.

    1. Thanks so much Claudia, this just keeps getting better and better! Tutus are exactly what I was wishing for, but didn’t know where to ask. Perfect timing. I’ll email you my address right now.

    1. Thanks for asking Donna, as I think another style of dress would be great, and maybe keep the girls from looking too much alike. 🙂 It just needs to be lightweight and cool, as I think it’s about 90 degrees and sunny year round.

  14. I’m often late to hop on a bandwagon. Just checking to make sure that you are still collecting dresses. And where do we send them?
    Thanks for this great work. (My husband and his water team were in Haiti right after the hurricane to put in more water purification systems. They were in Port au Prince at one of the orphanages. The need is great!)

  15. Received this info in a tutu.com tweet – would love to make a few sun dresses. I have 3 daughters with plenty of dress up clothes/old dance costumes. I’ll see if they’re ready to part with any of them! I’ll email you to get the address.

  16. Have one dress done with the elastic bodice fabric. Willl start on this pattern tomorrow. Good luck with the project!

  17. Iwas in Haiti last year doing some volunteer work which included some work in some orphanages and I know exactly what you mean about the threadbare clothes. I love this idea so much as it can be so easy to feel powerless to help all the way back over here and this will be a very tangible way to do that so thank-you! Where do I send the dresses once they are ready?

    1. Thanks Keri!
      We would love to get your dresses. You can send them to:

      HOPE Art
      c/o Earth Art Studio
      767 Cathedral Dr.
      Aptos, CA 95003

      Thanks so much for joining in our dress drive. 🙂

    1. Thank you too Hartford Stage. Jenni from Project HOPE Art is now receiving dresses at:

      HOPE Art
      c/o Earth Art Studio
      767 Cathedral Dr.
      Aptos, CA 95003

      Our rough deadline is mid November so that these dresses can get to the girls by the end of the year. Thanks so much everyone!

  18. We have two daughters from China and we have donated clothes to both their orphanages. This is such a great idea and so personal. One of my daughters wants to help me make this dress.

  19. I definitely want to help out. What a great idea (and a great way for me to use up my fabric stash). Can we use our own pattern – as long as it fits the criteria?

    1. Thanks Kathy (great name!)
      We’d love to have different styles of dresses, just as long as they are for warm weather and are the sizes we suggested. When you are ready, just ship your dresses by roughly mid November to:

      HOPE Art
      c/o Earth Art Studio
      767 Cathedral Dr.
      Aptos, CA 95003

      Thanks so much for helping out, the response to this drive has been utterly heart-warming.

      1. I’ve made that dress pattern several times for my own daughter and I would love to make one for your project. I can sew them fast now! Thanks for posting and I’ll send to the address listed.

    1. Thanks Dora,
      We’d love to have more dresses! We will find a home for all the ones that come our way. Please send your goods By Nov. 15th to:

      HOPE Art
      c/o Earth Art Studio
      767 Cathedral Dr.
      Aptos, CA 95003

  20. Hello,
    I make pillowcase dresses (light fabric and ribbon ties) – the great thing about them is they fit varied girls as longer dresses to a top depending on their height. I have heard of people sending them to haiti for school but havn’t found anyone doing it… until now! I will send some your way – all the way from Vancouver Island Canada!! Thanks for doing this!

    1. Thanks Kalle, we would love as many dresses as we can get. You can make any size from 5 – 8, and send them by Nov. 15th to:

      HOPE Art
      c/o Earth Art Studio
      767 Cathedral Dr.
      Aptos, CA 95003

      Thank you!

  21. I’m SO glad to find you! I have a pillow-case dress ready to send and I will make a few more ASAP and send you a box. I will also look through my daughter’s closet one more time to see what she is done with and send them along.

  22. Hi…
    I just put a box in the mail today containing 11 dresses, 3 packs of underwear and various headbands. You should have it by this weekend. Thanks for letting us help out!

      1. Are you still in need of dresses? Do you have plans for a new project. I am thinking of a group to do a few things for the new year?

  23. My 6-year-old daughter and I made a dress and are putting it in the mail today. Thanks for all the work it takes to organize this!

  24. It is taking us longer to finish our dresses than we thought! What is the last day you can receive dresses? Thanks!
    Amy, Scarlett and Izzy

    1. No problem, you have some choices. One trip is happening the first week of January, so goods need to go to the Aptos address by Dec. 15th or so.
      Another trip will happen next summer, so you can go with whatever works for you. Thanks for your help in this drive!

      HOPE Art
      c/o Earth Art Studio
      767 Cathedral Dr.
      Aptos, CA 95003

  25. I saw a request for dresses in a sewing shop in Kearney, NE – are you still accepting donations and how do we get involved. Thanks

    1. Hi Connie,
      We are going back to Haiti every 6 months or so for the time being, so we’ll be taking dresses on each trip. Look for our link to a free sundress pattern and send them to this address when you are ready:

      HOPE Art
      c/o Earth Art Studio
      767 Cathedral Dr.
      Aptos, CA 95003

      Thanks so much!

      1. I had already begun desses and outfits in size 8 for girls. But i will start on the older girls dress.

  26. When is the next date that you need dresses to you to go to Haiti. I have some to mail and wanted to know when you need them by.

    Thank you, Kathy Fogle

    1. Hi, thanks for asking. We just returned from a trip, but the next one is scheduled for January. You can send dresses any time and we’ll always take them as soon as we can.


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