BUFFALO—Sewing dresses for little girls is nothing new for Pat Dryer and Delores Henderson. With seven daughters between them — Henderson two and Dryer five —the women whipped out plenty of frocks for their own in the past. But it’s not their families which are keeping their sewing machines whirling; it’s children they’ve never met.
The women, longtime members of the Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU) at First Baptist Church, Buffalo, were given the idea from an article in the February 2007 issue of Missions Mosaic Magazine. In March 2007, the women started stitching.
Children Hemmed in Prayer is the name of the ministry, and its goal, explained Henderson, “is not only to clothe children but have them bathed in prayer.”
So every time they trace the pattern of a simple A-line dress, choose and cut the fabric, sew a hem and add detailing, press the completed garment and place in gallon-size Ziploc bags labeled with the dress size and mailed to a church in Alabama, the women pray for the girl who will wear the outfit.
And that’s a lot of prayer.
Dryer and Henderson have sent 346 garments to the organization, including two slack sets, 12 pairs of shorts and 17 short sets.
The women modestly say it’s just a small piece of the pie when compared to the 45,000 articles of clothing Children Hemmed in Prayer has distributed to developing nations such as Mexico, China, Haiti and El Salvador. But to the girl who receives the dress made by Dryer or Henderson, it makes all the difference in the world.
Since the majority of countries have hot climates, Henderson said the dresses are made of light cotton material. Not that the women are picky: “We’ll use any material we can get,” said Henderson, and Dryer added, “It only takes about a yard to make a dress.”
The women have found gold mines of fabric scraps, buttons and thread at garage sales. Other resources include remnants from people who no longer sew and cash donations from people who don’t know how to sew.
Not to say others haven’t sewn. Women from the WMU and some members of the Disabled American Veterans have sewn dresses, but not with the regularity of Dryer and Henderson.
Henderson said the women sew “when we have a minute.” That may mean that they finish their handwork while watching TV.
The women estimated that each dress takes a couple of hours from beginning to end. The pattern is simple, explained the women. But to a young girl who wears a size 3 to 8, it is a masterpiece. A brand new dress, made just for her.
And because of those girls, the women aren’t unplugging their sewing machines any time soon.
“I think there is a need,” said Henderson. “It feels like I’m doing something worthwhile,” added Dryer.
Fabric donations can be dropped off at the Buffalo Reflex.
For more information about Children Hemmed in Prayer visit www.hemmedinprayer.org.
MICHELLE BELL/The Buffalo Reflex