Monday, 20 February 2012

Some background - why I do this and how I got started!

I have loved sewing since a child, and have, in my time, done many forms - cross stitch and tapestry, making clothes, soft toys, dolls' clothes, patchwork and applique.  It was the patchwork which led me into mag making; at the shop where I went on patchwork courses, I attended my first bag making one.  I got hooked!

Money was tight, however, and those lovely patchwork cottons are expensive.  One day I saw a pattern in a magazine for a bag made from old jeans.  "I could do that", I thought.  I haunted some charity shops and picked up a few pairs of old jeans for £1 each.  I was off.  My first bag, adapted from the magazine pattern, ended up something like this.

My daughters are still using them!

I carried on picking up jeans, and made a number of bags from them.  I tried to sell some at fairs, along with other items I had made, but without a huge amount of success.
Fast forward a few years, and a friend told me about Casuarina House, and the work another friend had put in to set it all up.  I heard about the fundraising involved.  The following Christmas I gave the friend one of my denim bags.  She loved it.  As an afterthought, I said, "Do you think Debbie would like some of these to sell?"  I had about 20 left over.  The message came back, "Yes please."  That was the start.

I don't haunt the charity shops any more.  Instead, jeans are collected for me at a growing range of locations. Pupils at the school where I teach regularly bring them in.  My church collects them.  The patchwork shop I frequent does so too.  I have also been given masses of other resources - bags are lined with curtain fabric, sheeting, and any other suitable material I can get hold of.  Buttons, zips and trims have been passed on.  Recycling to raise funds has captured people's attention.

Gradually I have become more involved in the fundraising myself.  Last year I took bags to half a dozen sales.  This year I have at least one per month booked.  Boxes of bags go out to various place - kind people take them to their workplaces and sell them for me.

Last January, amazingly, I went out to Kenya myself.  I met the children,

saw the home, heard about the feeding programme, soon to start feeding 600 starving children in the village on a regular basis.

It has inspired me even more.  When I saw the children, heard the need, felt the appreciation, the welcome - how could I not?

Please follow some of the links and look at our Facebook page for regular updates.  If you would like to be involved yourself, in any way, please get in touch with me through the comments.  There are children all over the world starving.  I can't help them all.  I have chosen to focus on 600 children in Utange, and there The Sure Foundation is making a difference.


  1. I'm so glad you left a comment on my blog because it led me to yours. :-) I love repurposing old clothing for sewing fabric, and that you do it to help the poor is extra exciting!