Little Girls’ Fashion 

By Magnolia Brown

A high fashion designer once said: “Playing dress-up begins at age five and never truly ends.”

While reflecting upon the many dresses, suits, shoes, and purses hanging in the three closets that God has blessed me with, I thought about the many little girls in Haiti and other parts of the world who had little or nothing fancy to wear. Absent for them are the opportunities to decide whether they would wear the A-line blue dress or a flare style because they only have just a few dresses or none. I looked back to a time when I was a child. My mother would stay up long hours into the night making beautiful little dresses and skirts for my eight sisters and me. She designed beautiful little girls’ fashions for us using the Sears and Roebuck and JCPenney’s Catalogs. There were no Simplicity, McCall’s, Vogue, See and Sew, Butterick or digital patterns for her.   I remember her precious Singer foot pedaling sewing machine humming into the night. Anxiously, we would take bets on which one she would finish first. What seemed like a pile of different colored material, tape measures, and pieces of paper with our individual body measurements magically in days turned into a beautiful wardrobe of clothes ready for school and church.

As we grew into what she referred to as “little ladies,” my mother taught us how to sew dresses, skirts, and blouses and how to accentuate them with belts, scarves, and not “over the top” jewelry. Looking at what I have today rekindled a spark of using those skills again to help other little girls. While I was never able to hand cut a dress pattern, I can use the manufactured ones and alter them to achieve a different look and size. Over the last two months, it has been a rewarding feeling to create 32 little girls’ dresses ranging in sizes 3 to 16 1/2. It is my goal to complete 40 or more little dresses, matching purses, and face masks. No little girl is ever completely dressed without her purse. Because of the current COVID-19 pandemic, a matching face mask can be a fashion statement as well as CDC health requirement.

As I cut and sew each little dress, I visualize the little girls who will wear them. I pray that they find the joy of selecting a dress of their choice and the right size as I had sewing them. There is real “give back pleasure” sharing with others.

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