St. Ben’s makes pillowcase dresses for Haitian girls

Published Jan 29, 2013 at 12:01 am (Updated Jan 23, 2013 at 5:07 pm)

Members of the Women of St. Benedict’s Church in McMurray usually spend the winter months crocheting items like hats, mittens and scarves, to be included in shoeboxes sent before Christmas to the less fortunate in Appalachia.

However, after reading about how members of New Day Church on Circle Drive in Upper St. Clair made dresses from pillowcases for girls in impoverished Haiti, the ladies decided to dedicate January to sewing instead of crocheting.

Cecelia Satler is president of the Women of St. Ben’s and is thrilled to report that more than 30 members completed more than 100 dresses.

“Our goal was only 50,” she said, surrounded by women at sewing machines, arranging dresses by size and cutting even more fabric.

The dresses are made from standard and king pillowcases, along with elastic or drawstring necklines. Some are decorated with fancy buttons and pockets. A standard pillowcase makes a small dress, while a king is for the larger or older girls.

In Haiti, young girls who are dressed in clean, new-looking dresses are thought to have families and are usually left alone by those who wish to exploit them.

The dresses made by the Women of St. Ben’s will be hand-carried by those from New Day, and presented to Pastor Vaugelas Pierre in Haiti for distribution.

Raina Diges made more than 10 dresses, while Satler said she was up to at least 13 of the pillowcase dresses. “And I have one lady who made 20 dresses at home,” Satler said. “The first day, three retired men came to the door with bags of pillowcases.”

The last day of making dresses was Jan. 29 and by Feb. 5 the ladies will be back to crocheting.

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