Sewing for Charity, Anyone?: Giving back with your hobby.

sewing for charity

Sewing for Charity, Anyone?

One of the nicest things about sewing is that it gives us a great chance to show people who are in need that we care about them. All of us may have already sewn something for our family and friends, but not many of us have sewn something for charity.

Indeed, sewing for people who are in need is one of the most wonderful ways for us to share our love of sewing and to show those who are not as lucky as we are that we care about them. Finding a bit of extra fabric should not be that difficult so the next step is to choose the item that you will be stitching and which charitable organization you are planning to help.

We did an article a while ago talking about MJ from MJ's Lost Cause which was ultimately a great success with 720 handmade totes donated and delivered to very needy chemo patients.  We wanted to share with the group some other very worthy causes or ideas where you can practice the sewing that you love while helping someone really in need.

Read More HERE

Sew a pillowcase

For instance, here's an idea.  Pretty much anybody can make a pillowcase, so this is a sewing project that you can easily do.  I'm also sure that there is a hospital, orphanage or aged-care facility near your neighborhood that will be more than happy to receive your cheerful home sewn pillowcases. In fact, the website is challenging sewers all over the world to donate a million pillowcases to any charitable organization. You can have your donation counted by simply sending them an email with your name and the number of pillowcases you have donated to a charitable organization of your own choice. Think about the people who will be sleeping better because of your gift to them.

If you're looking for a quick and easy way to make a pillowcase.  Please check out the step-by-step instructions in this video:

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Sew a simple dress with a free dress pattern

Another interesting project is sponsored by Hope 4 Women International and it is called Dress a Girl Around the World program. Simply make dresses for girls by using minimal fabric and you can give pride and dignity to unfortunate girls from many parts of the world that may have nothing to wear. You will be surprised to learn that there are still many areas in the world where basic clothing is considered a luxury.  To help you out here's a long list of completely free dress patterns at our partner site

FREE Patterns HERE

Sew a chemo hat

Sewing chemo hats and turbans is another simple and quick charity project that you can easily do.  These items can be donated to radiation treatment centers in your area to be distributed to their patients for free.  For a tutorial on how to make a chemo hat, see the tutorial linked below.

chemo headwear patternMore HERE

You can also try sewing hospital bed saddlebags for people living in a hospice. These saddlebags are very helpful to those who are bedridden or are tied to a wheelchair because it will provide them a place to put their personal stuff so that they are within their easy reach.  Make a check with the local hospice and hospital in and check if this is an item they could use and then you can get your project going. These simple items can give them comfort and the nice idea that there is someone who cares for them.

These are just a few of the possibilities where you can use your sewing for charity and I am sure there are many ideas and organizations out there that could use your sewing skills for their causes. Once you get in touch with them and other relevant institutions in your area, you will certainly find the project that is closest to your heart. Sewing for charity is something that anyone of us can do and this is a sewing project where satisfaction is guaranteed from both sides of the fence. And now is a good time as any to start!

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84 Responses to Sewing for Charity, Anyone?: Giving back with your hobby.

  1. Liz Schmalzried says:

    Quilts for Kids makes child size quilts for kids in the hospital, at shelters and other places kids need them. Our group has a sewing day once a month, and also makes twin size quilts for homeless kids at the local schools. I got involved a year ago and have learned a lot about quilting, and enjoy the ladies (and one gentleman) in the group.

  2. Mary Lou says:

    I haven’t seen Little Dresses for Africa (LDFA) mentioned yet. They accept any simple (no buttons, zips, or snaps) dress. They also provide little britches for the boys, and menstrual products for the girls.

  3. Laura says:

    Foster youth is my charity of choice. I sew quilts, for newborns to teens and drop them off with a local social worker who works with foster kids. I am able to make about 2 a month. My inspiration was Local chapters will distribute your quilts to children in need.

  4. Ann says:

    I have participated in the Days for Girls charity. It’s a great opportunity to help poor girls in developing countries stay in school.

    I also wanted to encourage you to check out the website Just Serve.

    The lady who is just beginning her sewing ministry can post it on the website for free. It is available throughout the U.S., but I don’t know about other countries.

  5. Mary I says:

    I sew purses for Fantastic group that provides jobs, training & education to keep girls in school all month. Make dresses for IU School of Medicine program in Kenya called Ampath. Use free dress pattern from Oliver + S.

  6. Shirley U. says: is my passion. I sew purses for girls in an urban slum in Lusaka, Zambia. Those purses are filled with locally made reusable feminine hygiene products and given to girls, along with health education, to help them stay in school, instead of missing several days due their monthly cycle. The organization is also involved in training seamstresses, maintaining a medical clinic, and investing in a farm so the kids actually have something to eat. (Good nutrition is necessary for AIDS antiviral drugs to work; a large percentage of the kids are HIV positive.) I have been to Zambia with this organization and have seen first hand the important work it does. The purses I make are an investment in the life of a girl.

  7. Phil Clark says:

    I am a 74 year old male and have been sewing for the Dorcas Ministry: Sewing for Jesus. My church is part of the M.A.G.I. ((Make a Godly Impression). We send a shoe box size package to Honduras and Africa. This year I did 40 dresses, 30 shirts, 118 back packs and 140 washable sanitary napkins. I wouldn’t have said anything but there are many men sewers that just don’t speak up. I have also given many other quilts, dresses and such to other projects for the last several years.

    • Karen says:

      Beautiful work Phil! I know there are many talented male sewists using their skills to help others. I have had my class of 12 year olds making tote bags out of donated preloved pillowcases for a local charity that gives new mums clothing and nappies to take home. Trying to lessen our reliance on plastic bags!

  8. Lisa Latiff says:

    I started Emily’s Blankie Brigade in honor of my daughter who passed away from Mitochondrial Disease December 2016. Last year was when I kicked it off. Seven of my daughter ‘s doctors received a quilt for themselves as a thank you for always taking great care of her. Then each of the doctors received a couple of quilts to handout to their patients that could use one.
    I have donated over 700 quilts over the years to several hospitals for children. Now they are all in honor of my daughter. Most of the quilts that I have been making go to my daughter’s neurologist because of the MDA clinic.
    We are on Facebook, Emily’s Blankie Brigade

  9. Tara says:

    I am making purses for and have just finished 35 lap quilts that my church is collecting for Veterans. I am also making baby layettes for the baby shower that my church has once a year for teenage mothers.

  10. Glenda Gassner says:

    I sew for Days for Girls at the Eugene, Oregon chapter. We make sustainable feminine hygiene kits. It helps keep girls in school.

  11. Katie says: is another cause you can see for. Making RARE Bears for children with rare diseases.

  12. Robin Townsend says:

    This is a cause dear to my heart and have wanted to start a sewing for charity group for a couple of years. I recently started attending a small Presbyterian church and though not a member have just received permission this week from church leaders to start a group with the church providing the meeting/sewing space one Saturday a month. This is “sew” new I haven’t gathered a group yet. It’s just me. Will put something in the church bulletin Easter Sunday asking for participants and something on social media for community participation. Some groups I’ve read about include Days for Girls, Dress a Girl Around the World, Capes for Kids, Sharing the Weight. Would be grateful for your prayers and good thoughts for volunteers and supplies as this group gets going.

    • Elizabeth says:

      What a wonderful ministry, Robin! I will be praying for you and all who join this great cause. I became involved in a ministry like this in the early 2000s, and I cannot believe what an incredible blessing it has been in my life.

    • Maggie Drafts says:

      Robin, thank you for starting this project. May God bless your efforts.
      I would certainly come join you if you lived in my area! I hope many will respond!

  13. Carolyn says:

    This is awesome, I would love to do this.

  14. Sarah Hairston says:

    Several ladies at our church sew little comfort bears for our local children’s hospital and I have made comfort blankets and baby bibs for new mothers.

    If you want to give making baby bibs a try, you can use this great tutorial from Missouri Star Quilting Company.

  15. Sharleen Newland says:

    I sew for animals. Profits from the sales of these giraffes go to the Anti Poaching Unit, Pilanesburg, Africa to provide funds to help prevent the poaching of endangered rhinos, and also to support the nurseries that feed and shelter orphaned babies.

  16. Dottie says:

    We make pillowcases for the local children’s hospital, children’s quilts for a variety of organizations, and soft toys for the police, firemen & EMTs to carry in their vehicles.

    I am given a lot of scraps from a variety of sources and it’s so much fun to go through each bag to see what treasures are inside. Then more fun in trying to figure out what design/pattern to make.

    So much love goes into each item even though we never see the recipients.

  17. Ami Knight says:

    I am just learning how to sew. I wanted to make something to give back so I made little port pillows. They are small pillows that have velcro attachments to wrap around a seat belt for chemo patients. The seat belt tends to right across their chest where the chemo port is. I included a little poem of comfort for each.
    Take this little port pillow,
    In hopes it brings you ease.
    Wrap the straps around the seatbelt strap,
    Adjust until you please.
    May this bring you comfort, however slight
    As you battle this battle
    As you fight this fight.
    With prayers & blessings to you & yours
    Ami Knight & Brett Tanner

  18. Kathy s says:

    Team Tabitha , Acts-9-36, sews pillow case dresses for our low income girls and Costa Rica. T shirt dresses for Africa. Pillow cases for everyone needing prayer, which we monogram.
    Next week chemo caps. Port pillows, lumpectomy pillows. Angel blankets, fingerless gloves, totes for walkers, bibs for nursing homes. There are 12 of us and we meet 3 times a week. Ideas prayers and laughter flow. Don’t be overwhelmed. Just get started.

  19. Val Reid says:

    Quirky Quilters Hull , based in the UK adopt a charity each year . This year we are organising a sew-a-long for Project Linus and our ladies are making quilts fot this worthwhile project. Using everone’s sewing skills is so worthwhile especially for thise less fortunate than ourselves. A quilt or any gift made with love gives a lot of comfort .

  20. Cathy Ferrin says:

    Debi (So Sew Easy) posted a suggestion a couple of years ago about sharing our sewing talents and donating items to charities. Readers posted suggestions on various charitable groups. At that time I got together a group of friends and we made items for Days for Girls. I delivered them to a local chapter which added them to the kits they were shipping. I learned lots of info about this organization on-line and found that they have great tutorials on how to participate. Recently I have been sewing items to help with fundraising events for my local Relay for Life (American Cancer Society) team. There are so many worthy charities who can use handcrafted items. I’m glad to see that you are discussing this again.

    • Belinda says:

      I, too, have sewn for Days for Girls. We help sew washable/reusable menstrual kits for girls in third world countries. Without these supplies, the girls have to stay home during their periods and often drop out of school. This is a game changer for these girls and goes a long way towards giving them independence. There are Days for Girls chapters all over the US and other countries as well. There is an excellent chapter near me that makes the process very easy to get a group of friends together for an afternoon and feel like we’ve made a real difference in the world.

      I’m impressed with many of the other charities that have been mentioned here.

  21. Wen says:

    I make quilts for project Linus

  22. Lou Anne says:

    I agree that there are many needs that can be met with simple sewing skills. The need is great and the seamstresses are so few. I feel over-whelmed.
    I will pass this message on to others, too.

  23. Pat Gabriel says:

    I am fortunate to be in a sewing group (called Sew Sew Gang) that sews for charity. We have sewn pillows to go under arms for cancel patients, tote bags for children, quilts, receiving blankets, baby clothes, diaper bags, teddy bears, curtains for a shelter, etc. A lot of the fabric is from our personal stashes, but we have had some donations of money from churches and individuals. We try to give our items locally, but we do venture into Houston when needed. We also have done one project for our servicemen abroad.

    • Luci Loney says:

      Those little under arm pillows are wonderful. Received them right before my breast cancer surgery, also a beautiful blanket. I have been sewing clothes for disadvantaged children for a number of years.

  24. linda m grant says:

    So many ladies out there with no or little insurance, that need help. So please HELP

  25. Martha Highfield says:

    Check out Days for Girls

    Sustainable and needed feminine hygiene kits to keep girls in school and women at work. Training available. Multiple ways to contribute partially made or fully made kits.

    • Donna Klug says: You may find a team in your area. They are listed on the web site. They reached their goal of 1 million thus past year. That’s how many girls no longer miss school one week a month, therefore able to stay in school. It’s also education.

  26. Gina Jacobson says:

    This is a really great reminder that we all have ways to give back to those less fortunate. I have a sewing group at my church where we sew dresses and have contributed to the Dress a Girl Around the World charity in the past. It was very rewarding to know how much our efforts made a difference in the lives of so many little girls. Thanks for highlighting this organization and the other ideas on how to give back.

  27. Radhakrishna Peruri says:

    I am Radhakrishna are u help to sewing project

  28. Hélène says:

    Do you know of a charity that will accept hand sewn instead of machine sewn items?

  29. sewing says:

    I will like to get involved sewing for charity.

  30. kellie says:

    I sew for Angel Babies. I find comfort in doing this as I have more than 1 Angel Baby.

  31. Dona says:

    I sew for foster children. Foster children come into the system with NOTHING. I make pillows, blankets and softies so that they have something to cuddle with. They are scared, confused, and no one is familiar to them Please consider foster children in your area. It makes such a difference when they have something to hold close to them!

  32. Shirley Lynn says:

    I am currently making lap robes for veterans. I also make baby quilts for needy babies and Christmas stockings for Keystone Soldiers to fill and send to soldiers

  33. Becky says: Days for Girls is an awesome charity. I participated in it last year, but it’s going on all year long.

  34. Dell Culver says:

    Great column. How do I get a pattern for hospital bed saddlebags?

  35. Kendra says:

    There is a charity that is called So Sew Powerful that makes handbags for girls in Africa to carry their menstrual items in so that they will feel comfortable going to school. They also travel to Africa once a year to provide sewing instructions and sewing machines for the women to sew the menstrual pads and clothing.

  36. annmarieot says:

    I also volunteer for Days for Girls. We make kits with flannel menstrual pads, waterproof shields to put them in, panties, etc., all in a pretty drawsring bag. Those who sew and cut, iron,shop, etc. get as much from this as the girls who receive the kits.

  37. Cas Wucher says:

    I sew sustainable feminine hygiene products for girls in third world countries. Checkout for information how to get involved. It’s a wonderful organization.

    • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

      We should chat about what you do.

      • Cas Wucher says:

        I retired in Sept and was looking for an organization that I could support from home on a regular basis. Days for Girls impact girls and women in 87 countries on 6 continents. Having sustainable/washable feminine hygiene products allow girls to go to school during their periods. Many girls stay home each month because they don’t have sanitary supplies.
        I’ve been fortunate in that my sister and a family friend were quilters and no longer quilt. They’ve donated 100% cotton fabric as well as thread. I’ve worked my way through their donations and have been searching for other ways to obtain fabric.
        In addition to the cotton fabric, the shields use PUL as a liner which provides a waterproof barrier. Days for Girls makes the PUL available at a very reasonable price.
        The liners are made of flannel, they are 9 inches square with a 6 inch piece of flannel added down the center. I’ve purchased the flannel and have made over 600 of the liners.
        If you have any ideas for fabric donations that would be awesome!

        • Mayra at So Sew Easy says:

          Not at the moment Cas, let’s keep in touch I feel we can work together in the future.

    • Cathy Ferrin says:

      I’ve participated in the Days for Girls sewing project also (with a group of friends)—it is well established and helps young women all around the world.
      A great organization!

  38. faden(r)echt says:

    So far I’ve sewn quite a number of wrap around bodies for the cardiological children’s station of the University hospital in Tübingen, Germany. These are required to nurse the kids with all the medical devices.
    I’m also thinking about joining a group of sewists under the label “mini decki”, a project that has been started by Simone Maurer from Switzerland. “Mini decki” means “my blanket” and it aims at providing all the refugees’ kids with a sewn blanket as symbol of a warm welcome (and a real one) and a small piece of personal comfort. Following the example of the Swiss sewers, ladies in other European countries have gathered and are sewing small blankets as well.
    There is still so much to do.

  39. Victoria says:

    I donate time and items to our local domestic violence refuges. Cushions so far and I have curtains next on my list!
    Thanks for the great ideas for other charity projects. As much as the item itself, you’d be surprised how much it means to a recipient that someone took time out of their day to think of them.

What do you think?