Today was spent at the lively women's group in Bulabandi. Those of you familiar with our work over the past 3 years will have heard me speak of these women and their energy, dedication, and progress. They have been working hard to use the capital we gave them last summer, and have also sent 4 of their members to Jinja for embroidery classes each week. I continue to be so proud of their work.
We decided to do a project that no one on our team had ever tried before, but had heard about....HOME-MADE DRESS FORMS! Last summer, we had taught our women about using western-style patterns to cut dresses, so our hope is that these can help them be more creative with their designs, as well as adapt existing dresses and skirts into new styles by changing necklines, adding trims, taking it in, etc. We spoke to them about choosing one close to their customer's size and being sure that the garment will fit. Also, someday these women hope to have a shop in town, so dress forms could be used to display items for sale as well.
We had them choose 3 women of different sizes. In short, the process consisted of wrapping these women in saran wrap, then duct tape, and then stuffing it around a wooden stand we had built for this purpose. It was a really funny time, as the women made comments about eachother's hips, and watched a replica of their friends come to life before their eyes. Once I get some photos, I will post the process here for you to see.
Not only was in EXTREMELY satisfying to accomplish creating these forms, but I was happy to see how we came together as a team to problem-solve. There were many things we had to figure out on the fly, and in front of the women...and we did it. We ended up with 3 beautiful AND FUNCTIONAL dress forms. The only real critique was that the stands needed larger bases, as they kept being blown over by the wind.
Posted by Tara, Fount of Mercy's Vocational Development Director