Dallas-area Scouts turn pillowcases into clothing




Posted on March 14, 2012 at 4:56 AM

Updated Wednesday, Dec 4 at 9:16 PM

North Texas Girl Scouts are on a mission to sew dresses for little girls in Africa. Many have never made anything from scratch, let alone a dress.

"We just take the pillow cases and measure it," explained 15-year-old Gabby Gifford.

It's a good measure of their character as these teenagers are spending their spring break fashioning dresses from a standard pillow case for girls across the globe.

Gabby is the president of the Girls Advisory Board, and she brought her own sewing machine, as did many of the other Scouts.

"It's very important, because Girl Scouting is not just about cookies like everybody thinks, but it really does build courage, confidence, and character," Gabby said. "It also builds leadership skills which you can use during your whole life."

Savanna Butterfield never imagined herself as a "Suzy Homemaker," and it was fun watching her carefully construct a dress.

"I go really slow; I don't like going fast," she said.

The Girl Scouts are sewing at their own pace to give back, but there have been some missteps. "My first time I totally messed up so bad," Savanna admitted with a laugh.

But this really is a perfect partnership. These Scouts, from Dallas' Northeast Conference, are helping the Alpha Xi Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority with their initiative to attack global poverty.

Sorority member Donnetta Henry said the organization started the project seven months ago, and so far has 900 dresses.

"The girls in Africa are mostly orphaned by AIDS, and they're in these orphanages," Henry said. "They really don't have enough dresses to wear. This builds self-esteem in the girls. This may be the only dress an African girl gets for the entire year."

Dallas-area Girl Scouts take pride in helping to improve self-image across the world, and they feel there is no greater gift.

"I think this one is pretty good. It's one of my favorites," Savanna said, admiring her handiwork.

Each dress, made with love, will soon be on their way to girls in Liberia — a small act of kindness that goes a long way.

E-mail ddenmon@wfaa.com