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For most households, old pillow cases are nothing important. But things are a lot different for 15 Lutheran Church members in Iowa. This time, they are not only gathering together to attend sewing workshops but are aiming to do something for a better cause. They planned to transform the pile of old pillowcases for their fellow members in Namibia.

In a tiny room in their chapel, 15 volunteers came with scissors, sewing machines, scrap material, scissors and 80 pillowcases. They planned to transform the old linens to a useful dress that will be sent to Namibia Africa. This is a 2 day project where another sewing session is done in Waterloo Cedar Falls.

“We planned to sew 300 dresses” coordinator Jeanette Alton said. “On Saturday, a lady will be will be coming over with 200 pillowcases. Fredsville Lutheran Church members also created 15 dresses and donated this for the same cause as well.

For the first time, Our Savior’s Redeemer and Zion Lutheran churches conducted a dress making project, though there are other projects they have done in the past. Some of these are the 127 filled stockings they have sent for the military personnel in Bethseda’s Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. The same church organization also conducted a fundraising by baking cupcakes and pies and selling them. They raised $1,200 which they donated to Colombia to sustain the medical needs of the residents there.

“The idea of creating dresses for Africa never occurred in my mind until someone bought the entire stack of pillowcases we sold for a garage sale. When I asked her if she has many pillows at home, she said she is going to sew dresses out of them. This is how the sewing project started”, Alton admitted.

To help with the project’s cost, Alton asked for funds at the Thrivent Financial. They were provided free t-shirts for volunteers as well as additional $250 for the shipping cost.

Sewers packed the vintage pillowcases as well as complementary scrap material. They range from paisley to floral. There are also polka dots and checks. These were trimmed and transformed to wonderful finished products.

“All that is needed to be done is just to create armholes, cut the top and decorate them however you want”, Alton told the volunteers.

“After I have visited Africa, I know that there is a need”, Nelson, one of the volunteers said.

Every dress made has a pocket sewn on it. Inside the pocket is a small cross made of plastic canvas and yarn. And a poem entitled “The Cross in my Pocket” is also added. “Spreading the word is one thing that we wanted”, Alton said.