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We need you (yes you). Pillowcase dresses are go!

Further to our update last week on the Dress A Girl Around the World campaign, coordinated by Louise at SewScrumptious, we are dedicating this week’s craft club to making some dresses. They are really simple to make and are ideal for novices to have a go at sewing.

There are two ways to make the dresses. There is a pattern dress which can be cut from about a metre of fabric. I rustled up a test one last week and it really is quite simple. This has an elasticated neckline and the armhole binding is continued to use as a shoulder tie

pillowcase dress, dress a girl around the world

The second way is to cut away some armholes and the neckline from a ready made pillowcase (hence the name) and add a draw through neckline using ribbon to create the gathers at the neckline and to give the ties for the shoulders.

Claire, the fabulously talented secretary of Stoke Newington WI has posted a video tutorial of how to make the pillowcase dress. Take a look and see how easy it is to do.

Linked with permission

We’d love you to join us this Wednesday (25th April) at SIDAC social club, 7.30pm to make a dress. Or just come along and see how one is made and maybe go away and do one.

We’ve got some supplies, but if you want to make a dress from scratch, here is what you will need to bring:

  • 1 plain pillowcase (not too worn or see through if preloved or Matalan sell a pack of 2 for £3) or approximately 1 metre fabric
  • an additional strip of contrast fabric if you want to make the pattern dress with contrast band or add a pocket
  • 2m of bias binding if making pattern dress or 1/2m if making from pillowcase
  • 1/2 inch wide elastic (if making elastic casing dress)
  • coordinating thread
  • ribbon for pillowcase dress
  • scissors
  • pins
  • safety pins
If you have any questions, please ask, and let us know if you can make it.
The dresses are then sent to little girls who have had trauma or poverty in their lives and the difference a pretty dress can make to them is evident in some of the photographs Louise has of recipients. Lets hope we can put a smile on a few more little girls faces. Are you up for it?
Photo credit: http://sewscrumptious.blogspot.co.uk/
Photo credit: http://sewscrumptious.blogspot.co.uk/
If you can’t sew but have some pillowcases you would like to donate then we would be happy to receive them.
Sue Morris - April 26, 2012 - 1:56 pm

Gorgeous little dresses – I hope you made loads last night!

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Family History Websites

Here is a list of the websites that you can access for free for family history research:

http://www.lancashirebmd.org.uk/ – Lancashire birth, deaths and marriages

http://www.ukbmd.org.uk/ – national births, deaths and marriages

http://crem.oltps.sthelens.gov.uk:8080/crem/servlet/Telesearch#results – St Helens Crem

http://www.xmission.com/~nelsonb/lws.htm – Lancashire wills

http://www.cheshire.gov.uk/Recordoffice/wills/ – Cheshire wills

http://www.lan-opc.org.uk – parish records online

http://www.familysearch.org/eng/default.asp – Latter Day Saints

http://pilot.familysearch.org/recordsearch/start.html#start – LDS pilot site

http://www.btinternet.com/~m.royden/mrlhp/index.html – Mike Royden local history pages

Sue Whalley - April 19, 2012 - 7:50 pm

Also try http://www.freebmd.org.uk/ for births, deaths and marriages.

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Gardening Handy Tips and Hints

Thanks to everyone who contributed their gardening hints and tips at the last meeting. We hope you will find them useful!

Rather than planting bulbs directly in the ground place them in a plastic pot first and then bury the pot. 3 benefits:
1 – bulbs can easily be lifted out of the ground without damaging them
2 – Stops them spreading all over your garden
3 – stops you accidently digging them up, disturbing them, or damaging them when you’re digging

Sandra Thompson

Cut old wellies & make mules – they’re easier to put on
Sandra Thompson

Always wear gloves to avoid scratches & infection
Sandra Thompson


Pre weeding/gardening smother hands in handcream – the soil’s much easier to wash off
Sue Morris

Dig nails into a bar of soap before gardening as they’ll be much easier to clean & put extra handcream around your cuticles, again much easier to clean
Sarah McDonagh
Use lids of fabric conditioner bottles or similar to top garden canes for eye protection. Use florist foam or plasticine inside to secure

(They come in lots of pretty colours that blend with your plants)
Sue B

Half bury guinness cans in the ground near your veg to stop these pests from eating them
Fiona Sheil & Sandra Thompson

ALWAYS have a trip switch on lawn mower
Jenny Bumford

Use coffee cups eg ‘Starbucks’ as bio-degradable planters
Angela Snell

Use mushroom containers to plant your seedlings and similar sized clear containers as the lid to create a mini greenhouse
Sarah McDonagh

Save teapots with broken lids and make decorative planters for patios & indoors

A good weed control is hot water you’ve boiled your spuds in – excellent for those tricky weeds in between paving
Sue Morris

Pinch out ‘side shoots’ – makes the main plant grow stronger but don’t compost the shoots pop them into water to make more plants
Jen Boyd

Keep an old curtain handy with your gardening tools…

  • Spread it under hedges & shrubs when clipping them back. It catches the clippings
  • Place curtain on the lawn when you’re planting or digging nearby, it keeps the lawn “clean”
  • Cover new or tender plants with it if there’s likely to be a frost
  • Drape it over your plants growing along the fence when you are painting
  • If your outside table is your potting shed cover the table with the curtain before you start seed planting, potting on, propagating etc – to clear up the mess just shake the mess onto the garden or into the bin
  • Fold it and use it as a kneeler

If you don’t then you ought to if you have a little bit of space… reduces green waste and give the slugs something useful to much on and is better and cheaper than bought composts.

Sarah McDonagh

Encorage birds into your garden – you’ll be surprised how many species there are and they held with pest control. Be warned – it wastes a lot of time as you soon become addicted to watching what they’re up to.
Sarah McDonagh



Karen C - April 18, 2012 - 10:47 pm

Lovin’ these tips, especially the hand cream before weeding. Will try this out next time!

Val - April 28, 2012 - 5:45 pm

The photos of flowers used are really stunning! And well done to the team who put the hints and tips together.

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Crafting for Charity

In the last meeting we talked about the possibility of WISH becoming involved in Project Linus and the ‘Dress a girl around the world’ appeal.

Project Linus is a volunteer organisation providing handmade patchwork quilts and knitted/crocheted blankets for sick or traumatised babies, children and teenagers. You can read more about the organisation here


The ‘dress a girl around the world’ charity feels that every girl deserves a pretty dress. Dresses are made following a simple pattern, using a pillowcase or similar sized piece of material. The dresses are delivered direct to girls in developing countries. The project is also now looking at making shorts for boys. You can read more about the project here.


We are hoping to get people involved in the projects during the Wednesday Craft Night. If you would like to take part come along on a Wednesday from 7.30pm at

SIDAC Sports and Social Club
Wheatsheaf Avenue (just off applecorn close)
Sutton Leach
St Helens
TEL.01744 813822

[...] to our update last week on the Dress A Girl Around the World campaign, coordinated by Louise at SewScrumptious, we are dedicating this week’s craft club to making [...]

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Silk Painting With Sue

Photo credit:lovefibre

We are happy to announce that there are a couple of extra places available on the popular Silk Painting sessions with Sue B.

The details of the 2 sessions are as follows (both sessions need to be attended):

Dates: Monday 21st and Monday 28th May 2012

Time: 7.30PM – Approx. 9.30PM

Venue: St Mary’s Lowe House Hall, Crab Street, St Helens, WA10 2DE

What to bring: Preferably 1 or 2 A4 canvasses (available cheaply from B&M, Wilkinsons, Dunelm Mill) It doesn’t matter if there is a picture on one side as we will be using the reverse side.

Cost: Sue will provide all the other products needed at cost price.

No experience is necessary – just your imagination. You will hopefully finish one or two samples to take away from the sessions.

If you are interested, please contact wisthelens@gmail.com to reserve a place.

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