Dress A Girl Project – Guidelines
We hope you’ll make “God’s best dress!” Please carefully read and follow the instructions below for your dress. If you have any questions, contact the Team Leader.
- ONLY 100% cotton or a cotton/poly blend (with mostly cotton) should be used.
- The dresses will be washed in rivers, creeks, watering holes and maybe scrubbed with rocks. Only cotton will stand up to this treatment.
- When choosing fabric, consider the size it will be. Use baby/nursery patterns for smaller sizes.
- ALL dresses should be around 44” wide (the full width of standard fabric), with the finished length between 20” and 34”. (See the sizing chart, which matches typical girl’s sizes here in the States—2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12 and 14.)
- If making a size 12 or 14, please put a small 3-4″ ‘kick-pleat’ in the side or back seam.
- Please do not use patriotic, specialty licensed (Disney, etc.) characters, skulls/Halloween or blatantly Christmas fabric
- PLEASE NOTE: WE ARE NO LONGER USING PILLOWCASES BECAUSE THEY ARE THIN AND SEE THROUGH.
Please note, these are just examples of patterns that may be used. If you have your own dress pattern, please go ahead and use it. We simply ask for a conservative young girl’s dress.
- Ties should also be made of double-wide, double fold bias tape.
- Ties should have enough length to be tied into a bow; otherwise it’s only enough to tie in a knot, which the girls then might not be able to untie. Ties should also be in one length (not pieced together) with the ends turned under.
- Please do not use thin bias tape or ribbon for the ties.
- Placed slightly below the mid-point of the dress (slightly below the waist…think about putting your hands in your pockets and where you’d like them to be.)
- Measure approximately 6” wide x 6″ high–any smaller won’t give much room, AND hands might not fit, any larger and the dress looks out of proportion.
- Pocket fabric should coordinate both in color and pattern, i.e., please don’t use a wild geometric pocket on fabric with a small, feminine floral print.
- We prefer 2 pockets (this might be the only place a girl has to herself for her ‘treasures’ as many times several family members live in a very tiny house).
- Double thickness makes a better pocket.
- Inside seams should be serged or zig-zagged in the seam allowance. A French seam is also a nice, finished seam.
- This ensures that the seams will not break through. Think of little girls playing and running. If the seam opens, she has no way to repair it.
- HEMS: should be very shallow and either serged on the raw edge or turned under.
- The girls have no way of letting down the hem in case of growth, so a shallow hem (1/2-3/4”) is plenty.
- ELASTIC: 7” elastic for ALL sizes, both front and back.
- Elastic stretches and most of the girls are small across their chest area, so larger elastic isn’t needed.
- When making T-shirt dresses, please do not use T-shirts with inappropriate messaging, cartoon characters, etc. (Remember these girls are targets of sex trafficking, so ‘Daddy’s Girl’ on a T-shirt wouldn’t be appropriate.)
- Make sure the T-shirt is sized appropriately for the overall length and size of dress (ie don’t use a size 4 t-shirt when the finished dress length will be a 10)
- Avoid white fabric or thin fabric (gingham, for example, tends to be very thin).
- We are trying to give the girls dignity so please! No think fabric. Hold fabric up to a light source. Is it see-through?
- Avoid using fabric that has: Americana/patriotic; Halloween (skulls, pumpkins, ghosts); obvious Christmas (Santa, snowmen; though red/green holly or pine/berry patterns ok); Disney or any character fabric (Cinderella, SpongeBob, Star Wars etc.); or any printed English words.
- None of these things would be appropriate in a foreign country. Think about a little girl wearing a dress made out of the fabric chosen…is it appropriate?
- All edges should be either zig zagged or turned under, no raw edges exposed.
- Ensure that all the raw edges are enclosed in the bias tape ties and that the bias is securely fastened where it intersects with the elastic.
- Should all be securely SEWN on or can easily be removed for washing.
- Could include appliques, yo-yo’s, buttons, braided or woven trims, ric rack, lace, or eyelet.
- Please do not use hot glue to attach decorations or embellishments.
- If using ribbon as decoration please ensure to use a FABRIC ribbon (ie grosgrain), not CRAFT ribbon that will eventually disintegrate in water, which would be problematic with washing!
- The dress each girl receives maybe the ONLY dress they EVER have. We want it to be a high-quality product in which they feel dignified and beautiful.
- These girls live in areas where they are easy targets for trafficking. Does the dress you are making add to their dignity?
- Girls in some of these countries are considered ‘less than human’ just by virtue of their sex, and they have no standing in their societies. We want them to know that they are loved by God and that they are indeed precious, with high standing in the eyes of God. We show them that by taking care to make the best dress possible.
- Some of these dresses will go to some of the poorest-of-the-poor, and the poor deserve nice things with good workmanship, not just leftovers or hand-me-downs. “The Lord hears the cry of the poor,” we want to honor Him by honoring them.
- Is the dress that you are making a dress that you would be proud having your daughter or granddaughter wear? Is it “God’s best dress”?
THANK YOU for serving God by giving young girls around the world the dignity of having a new dress.