Susan Stewart of Susan Stewart Designs has organized an effort to provide handmade clothing for the children of Joplin, Missouri in time for their first day of school this fall. Susan lives near Joplin and wrote in her newsletter last month, “Thousands of people have lost everything. The summer will pass and the Red Cross will leave. And school will start, somehow, somewhere, because all those schools will not yet be re-built. Do you remember being excited about the start of the school year when you were young? I certainly do! And I always had a new dress for the first day of school. I loved those new first-day-of-school dresses; I think my Dad took a picture of me every year, and for years I remembered what I wore for the first day of each new grade. Now, what do we all do? We sew!” Susan went on to encourage her readers to sew for the children of Joplin, and “Project First Day” was born.
Susan is asking sewists from around the country to sew a dress for a little girl or a top for a little boy in Joplin to brighten their first day of school in August. Susan has also asked that every dress or top include a personal note to the child who receives it to let them know how special they are. The deadline to send your creations to Susan is August 1st, so you have about a month to sew and ship. If you’re not on Susan’s newsletter list and you’d like all the specifics and the shipping address, simply fill out the form that you’ll find on her website’s Contact Page, and she’ll get back to you with all the information that you need.
When I first heard of Susan’s plan, I felt an overwhelming urge to get involved. I emailed her, and we talked back and forth a bit. Many of you know that we have a house full of little boys, and, well, it’s harder to find sewing patterns for little boys than it is for little girls. To help make sure that there are plenty of fun tops for the little boys in Joplin on their first day of school in August, I’m offering the Charlie Tee pattern from my Charlie Tee & Hoodie as a free pdf download through August 1st!
I don’t mind at all if you’d like to use the pattern to sew for your loved ones. I just ask that if you download the pattern, you sew something for Project First Day. We’re doing this on the honor system.
To download the pdf file, just click the picture below:
There are four different ways to sew this tee, so you have a few options: The Basic Tee, The Ringer Tee and The Horizontal and Vertical Colorblocked Tees.
These tees are, of course, sewn with cotton knit or cotton blend knit fabrics. Younger boys would probably be thrilled with fun boyish prints, while older boys will likely prefer stripes or solids. If you’re new to sewing with knits, I highly recommend choosing interlocks over jerseys or ribbed knits because they’re simply easier to sew. For tips on the different types of knits and how to sew them all, check out my Knit Knowledge Series.
If you’d like to shop locally, I primarily purchase my solid interlocks at Joann Fabrics and Hancocks. Joann Fabrics has a nice cotton/poly interlock, and Hancocks carries 100% cotton interlock. You can use these interlocks for the necklines, too. If you prefer using ribbing for the neckline, Joann’s cotton/spandex ribbed knits will give you great results. Joann’s also stocks some really nice print interlocks, but they tend to be more feminine or babyish.
The best place to find print knits for boys is online. These are a few of my favorite shops: The Fabric Fairy, Nature’s Fabrics, A & A’s Fabric Attic, Girl Charlee and Print Knits Studio. (Those names are all clickable and take you directly to the websites.)
One last thing, I put together a quick tutorial for how to use a pdf pattern, in case there are a few of you who haven’t used one before. It’s really easy, I promise! PDF Sewing Pattern Tutorial
If you have any questions, please feel free to email me or leave a comment, and I’ll get back with you as soon as possible! Now go sew a tee . . . or a dress . . . and send it off to Joplin so that a little girl or boy will feel a little extra love on the first day of school this fall!