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2017 Return of Shower Caddies

2 May

This is year three for our adhoc group of friends to provide homemade shower caddies to the women of Wheeler Mission Shelter for Women and Children @ Christmas.  Photos below are the first 25 of 72 caddies.  We gather in November to fill the shower caddies with personal care items.

The caddies are made of outdoor fabric which is water and mildew resistant.  I take the opportunity to maximize the colors and patterns of with each fabric order.  Having placed 10 orders in 3 years, I am VERY satisfied with ordering online, delivery, quality and value from fabricguru.com.

This design features four outer pockets, plus three buttonhole slits in the bottom for drainage.

Book Review: Sewing can be Dangerous by SR Mallery

25 Apr

Sewing can be Dangerous and other small threads…the title grabbed my attention.  As much time as I have spent sewing over the years, I never thought of it as dangerous.  Sooo…how is sewing dangerous?  S.R. Mallery’s collection of eleven short stories have fascinating characters from eleven times and places.

Danger exists in conditions in the garment district, delivering a warning message, communicating directions, disguising passports…to name a few.  My favorite short story is “Precious Gifts” set in the Washington Territory in the 1870s.    Mama bought a new Singer Perpendicular Action Sewing Machine.  You have to read the story to find out why she set up her new machine in the corn field.  The story tells of her passion for sewing, aiding a young Chinook Indian on his Spirit Quest, exchanging gifts and adverting a conflict due to her quilt making magic.  Love it!

Supporting volunteers in Iowa who support Days for Girls International!

21 Feb

Elfcroft’s last shipment was divided between church, university and women’s groups to be delivered to Ghana, Guatemala and Uganda as complete kits.  Pads and liners are the most labor intensive items.

https://www.daysforgirls.org

39 more "sets" of 8 tri-fold flannel pads ready to ship!

One plus 39 more “sets” of 8 tri-fold flannel pads ready to ship!

Total of 80 shields with PUL lining to support 40 kits.

Total of 80 shields with PUL lining to support 40 kits.

 

 

 

2017 Recycling solution from sewing room

7 Feb

2014, I purchased flannel fabric in one to three yard lengths.  Each Days for Girls International kit includes 8 reversible, tri-fold, flannel pads.  My strategy included sewing pads from 8 different colors and patterns for each kit.  By year-end, I had over 30 types of remnants.   Variation due to cutting, shrinking from washing and fabric width created a significant amount of remnants in strips and block shapes.  I recycled these scraps into two light weight blankets.

In the three years since the original post, I tightened my strategy on purchasing flannel to reduce the waste (given my experience with shrinkage and end of bolt pieces).  The most significant change was to buy 4.5 yard lengths.  My 2017 striped flannel piece represents is a reduction of over 75% scrap.

Stripes

2014 pieced flannel strips, 18 fabrics in 18 different widths

2017 flannel recycling

2017 flannel recycling

 

 

 

Priority: Days for Girls International

10 Jan

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Yes, dear Eve (office assistant) we are ready to ship liners and pads to the Days for Girls International Chapter in Iowa…but the box is not BIG enough.

FYI Elfcroft’s 2016 contributions were included in kits assembled in Iowa then distributed to communities in Uganda, Ghana, Haiti and Swaziland.

Our first 2017 shipment has 320 tri-fold, reversible, top stitched flannel pads….

Featuring bold, bright, varied color and patterns

Featuring bold, bright, varied color and patterns

dfgi_2017_pads_img_20170106_134944242_hdr-copy

Liners stacked 10 high. Polyurethane laminate or PUL middle. Pockets to insert pad. Wings will have snap installed at assembly location.

Plus Liners (stacked 10 high) with polyurethane laminate or PUL middle and pockets to insert folded pad. Wings will have a snap installed at assembly location.

These components are put in draw string bags with (2) pairs of panties, wash cloth, soap, and (2) ziplock gallon size freezer bags to help washing.  The design intention is for each kit to be reused over a three-year time frame.

http://www.daysforgirls.org

Just one of many reasons Days for Girls International is so important…

http://mobile.nytimes.com/blogs/lens/2017/01/05/in-nepal-monthly-exile-for-women/?_r=0&referer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2F

 

Encore! 2016 Shower Caddie gift bags good to GO!

22 Nov

Santa’s elves had a busy afternoon filling shower caddies gift bags for the residents of Wheeler Mission for Women.

Stuffing?

Stuffing?

Sweet treats

Sweet treats

Elves?

Elves?

 

 

 

Our Leader

Our Leader

Our service project started in April.  25 yards of outdoor fabric was sewn into 72 homemade shower caddies featured in two blog posts (progress reports).  These gift bags will be delivered to Wheeler Mission for Women for Christmas.

Bold graphics

Bold graphics

Stripes and graphics

Stripes and graphics

Our wish is that these gifts will remind the ladies they are loved all year long.

International Day of the Girl Child (United Nations)

11 Oct

October 11, 2016:  International Day of the Girl Child

Let girls be girls!  United Nations Women’s website identifies child marriage as a global problem thrwarting women’s development mentally (education is suspended), physically (bear children too early) and spiritually (vulnerable to violence).

http://www.unwomen.org/en/news/in-focus/girl-child

Every day is a day for girl power @ Days for Girls International.

http://www.daysforgirls.org/day-of-the-girl

Days for Girls International developed reusable feminine hygiene kits (in bright colors and bold patterns) produced and delivered via crowdsourcing.  Check out DfGI 2015’s annual report…the photos are amazing:

days-for-girls-annual-report-2015

Elfcroft has shipped components supporting 195 kits since 2014.  Plus, we have a head start on a 2017 shipment.  Check out a sample of the work:

Lean closet movement and second chances

19 Jul

Goodwill promotes that vicious cycle “Shop, Donate, Shop, Donate”.  TLC’s “What Not to Wear” had Stacy and Clinton demonstrating weekly how to make over nominee’s wardrobe/closet.  Cuyana promotes lean closets as a business plan by including a mailer for clothing donation with each clothing purchase.

https://www.cuyana.com/story/lean-closet

For the past fifteen years, I have travelled often, primarily to three destinations.  For me the “twist” on lean closets is to have three functional closets in three different states with the goal to reduce luggage plus packing and unpacking.  (Easy laundry access at each place makes this workable.)       1) Home base  2)Farm  3) Warm weather.   As time goes by, transfers between closets wring a little more use out of my clothing.

I have an example for extending the life/value of clothing.

I still love the colors and pattern of culottes I purchased 25 years ago.  The waist was always a little snug.  I had it altered professionally to raise the hem and expand the waist.  The alteration was very well done.  However, the change was awkward because the culotte style tended to bunch up.  My remedy removed the excess material and sewed it back as a true skirt.

From culotte to skirt

From culotte to skirt

For a much more involved projects, check out “Go Green” Sew News Feb/Mar 2013.  One article illustrates “Giving an old scarf new life as trim on a fitted sweatshirt jacket” or “Mix and match worn sweaters of a funky up-cycled shoulder bag” …..ahhh the possibilities…

Homestretch stitching for 2016 Shower Caddie project

12 Jul

Less than 5 of 72 shower caddies to complete for the ladies at Wheeler Mission for Women and Children.  The shower caddies will be functional gift bags filled with personal care products this Christmas.

We had a jump start this year with a donation of outdoor fabric in the form of new (rejected) cushion covers.  The cushion cover seams were ripped and the fabric cut and sewn into 15 of the 72 caddies.  The caddies are cylindrical bags with four external flared pockets.  The bottom has three button-hole slits for the occasions water needs to drain.  The handles are top stitched.  Each caddie is made from one third yard of 54″outdoor fabric purchased from fabricguru.com.Showercaddie_encore_IMG_20160409_094804363 copyIMG_20160421_144050693_HDR copy

 

 

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Shower Caddie Encore

12 Apr

Back by popular demand…shower caddies as functional gift bags for the women at Wheeler Mission for Women and Children.  Our adhoc group of benefactors delivered 72 overstuffed caddies for Christmas last year.

We have a “green light” and a jump start for 2016.  A friend of a friend saved LLBean outdoor seat cushion covers from the REJECT bin.  The Plan:  Recycle as shower caddies.  Enough fabric for 13 of the 72.

Outdoor seat cushion covers undergoing "ripping" or deconstruction.

Outdoor seat cushion covers undergoing “ripping” or deconstruction.

I asked our group leader (who also has Master Black Belt Six Sigma certification), if there was VOC (voice of customer) feedback to incorporate this year.  Her suggestion…”leave off the button holes”.  Yes, I put button holes in the caddies last year to drain water that might accumulate in the bottom.

Six equally spaced button holes on a radius is a little time consuming.

Six equally spaced button holes on a radius is a little time consuming.

I did that without DRBTR!  (Design Review Based upon Test Results).  Do shower caddies without slots hold water?  YES.  Is that a problem?  Maybe.  Search for a suitable mesh fabric bottom was unsuccessful.

Mock up for test

Mock up for test:  Fill with one cup of water.

  1. No slots:            Drains      3.42-3.70 minutes          Over twenty times as slow
  2. One slot:            Drains        .60-.70 minutes            Four times as slow
  3. Two slots:          Drains        .28-.38 minutes            Twice as slow
  4. Three slots:   Drains      .15-.18 minutes         Baseline

The winner is a three slot design for the few occasions when water may accumulate it is a reasonable feature to have.  I will use parallel slots to save the time preparing the radial layout.

Here we go AGAIN!