News. Celebrating Sustainable September

25th of September, 2019

Seventy-four dresses produced from upcycled pillowcases have been donated to children in Africa marking The Prince's Foundation’s Sustainable September campaign at Dumfries House.

Members of the weekly sewing bee sessions at the estate used pillowcases donated by individuals and groups throughout Ayrshire and transformed them into garments to be dispatched to those in need via the charity Little Dresses For Africa.

Little Dresses for Africa is a non-profit organisation that provides humanitarian relief to young girls in Africa and other countries in need.

Ashleigh Douglas, Future Textiles manager at The Prince's Foundation, helps run the Tuesday sewing bee for 26 regular participants:

"Our amazing sewing bee group started with the aim of making a dress each for donation to Africa, but, before we knew it, we had produced more than 70 dresses for Little Dresses For Africa.”

“We’re delighted that our donation will kick off Dumfries House’s Sustainable September initiative in a really fitting way, showing that, with a little imagination and effort, you can breathe new life into items that, on the face of it, are no longer needed or usable.”

The project started by using pillowcases donated by the sewing bee members, but as word spread, community and church groups began donating pillowcases as well. Each dress is unique as the sewing bee members used a range of materials and different techniques to add embellishments and decorative features.

"It's great to give back to an amazing charity and to put to good use the skills honed by members of our weekly community sewing bee at Dumfries House."

The Prince’s Foundation is headquartered at Dumfries House which is used to help people engage in learning experiences that promote confidence and personal development, as well as offer training in real-life skills to open up future employment opportunities. The charity’s Future Textiles training initiative was established in 2014 to help address a skills gap in the industry.

Words: Corinna Cunningham

Imagery: Iain Brown