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!
awww, Bonnie – such a great idea! I will most definitely have to join in on this. I’ll probably upcycle a tee, as it’s hard to find good fabrics here.
Michelle Smith says
As always you are so sweet and generous. I will be making some of these as well. I have plenty of boy stuff to use as well as a ton of stuff to upcycle.
Laurie Guidry says
Bonnie, I found your site because of Project First Day and will definitely be using your pattern, and definitely be back!! Thank you!!
Kris C. says
I think this is a great idea (especially since I now live in MO and was relieved to have our area spared by the tornados). I plan to make new clothes for my two boys for their first day of school so will plan on matching two of each size and donating the second set to Joplin. Can you send the address and info?
April Lott says
Would love to do this. Could I get a copy of the email with the info too? jandalott at verizon dot net Thanks! 🙂
Cherie S says
Thank you so much–I’ve made several skorts for girls and didn’t have a top to go with them and several shorts for the boys but again no shirt–this will allow me to finish off these outfits so that they are complete for someone this fall. I can also add in some long pants too–I no longer have younger kids to sew for so this if something I”m really enjoying!!!
I would love to get in on this. Is it okay if the things we sewed aren’t serged? My serger is out of commission for the time being. Of course all seams will be zig zagged that are woven etc.
Ah man I just wrote a long message of how cool this is. I think my computer ate it.
so here is my info in short, I would love to sew for this, I would love to help and I need Susan’s information so I can get the e-mail from her.
this is going to be great!
I’d love the information for sending a shirt to a child in Joplin.
If I could have the details as well 🙂 thank you
Buffy Scott says
Count me in too! I have been wondering how I could help and this is just the thing! Thanks for passing this along.
Id’ love to help! I couldn’t find the info on her site, will you send me the info please? Thank you Bonnie! (I tweeted about it too..gotta spread the word!)
What a fantastic project. I’d love to get involved. Can you send me the details?
Bonnie, you are so awesome! I will definitely want to participate in this! Please email the info for where to send stuff.
Michelle Smith says
Bonnie, I have actually done a trial run with the shirt, which came out a success, woo hoo! I have 2 cut out for Project First Day, in sizes 5 & 6–same sizes as my boys wear.
I would love to participate! I grew up near Joplin so this project has a special place in my heart! If you would get me the mailing info I would appreciate it!
I’m all over it, Bonnie! Thanks for your generosity and for giving the rest of us the opportunity to be generous, too. 🙂
What a great idea. Please send me the shipping information as well. diapermomma at yahoo dot com. Thanks
I would love to sew one up and mail to them. Could you please email me the address. Thanks
I would love to participate and will spread the word here in NH. Someone on Patternreview.com mentioned The Joplin Project and with a little Googling I found myself here. It’s a wonderful thing you are doing. Please send me the mailing info for my project! Cheers!
Debra L says
I would love to make something to make a child’s first day of school brighter! It’s so generous of you to share the pattern for this, thank you!
Please send me the info and I will get something sent off as quick as I can 🙂
would you accept pre made t-s w/ freezer stencil designs or decorated t-s for boys? or would you prefer they be 100% hand made?
How wonderful of you to share! I’m thrilled to make boy items. My boys are so big, it’s rare that I get to make fun boy stuff!
What a great idea! My kids want (me) to join in. We will make a boy shirt and a girl dress!
What a great opportunity!! Can I get the shipping info too?
I just sent off 15 blankets to Joplin and this is another great outreach for the kids! Sign me up…:))
Kristy - Hopeful Threads says
This is awesome! Sharing now!!!
Susan had received more than 1014 complete outfits as of yesterday (Sunday, July 31) with more coming today, the due date! What an amazing effort on the part of sewers…….
HUGE KUDOS TO SUSAN AND THANKS TO LEZETTE THOMASON AND BONNIE FOR THEIR PATTERN CONTRIBUTIONS!
This whole project just makes me feel warm all over and greatful to know this world is full of wonderful people like you all!
Dotty Hansen says
I just read the article in The Joplin Globe about your efforts. Thank you and your contributors so very much. Thankfully, we had only minor damage to our home, but several of our friends completely lost everything. God has truly been working many miracles in our community through people like you. We are so grateful. I am bookmarking your site because I’m also a sewer.
Connie Beardall says
I found your web site in a quilting magazine. After going to your web site, I read about the shirt and dress project you have for the children of Jopin. This is such a good cause I am wondering will you be continuing this for Christmas gifts as well? I would be glad to sew for the children of Joplin. Please send me the mailing information and any other directions that are needed.
Connie Beardall says
I found your web site in quilting magazine. While browsing I found the comments about the new shirt and dress project, for the children of Joplin. I hope this will be an ongoing project for Christmas. If so, please send me the mailing information and any other information I will need. You are amazing!