I got in a scuffle with the police while doing this project.
I’m not kidding, people. Apparently it’s dangerous business to help babies in need with a diy charity craft.
Ok, so background – I live in Italy, where my husband is stationed at the embassy. I was driving to buy some fabric (yep, all about helping the local economy) when I stopped to ask some police where I could park. They told me I couldn’t drive there, I showed them my ID and explained, and it being Italy people started gesturing and talking loudly (I love this country – seriously, I must have Italian blood somewhere). It all ended fine, but it reminded me of just how hard it is when you DON’T have the right IDs. When you don’t have the documents, or you look possibly a bit iffy around the edges – in short, it reminded me of what it was like growing up.
You see, I grew up around the bottom of the pile.
We had enough food to eat (we were very lucky). We had clothes to put on (albeit mine were usually hand-me-downs). But, being raised by a single mom that was going back through school to become a chemistry professor (yes, she’s amazing), there were plenty of times when we played the “coasting game” on the way to the gas station so we didn’t run out of gas. I remember my brother making dinner at 12 from scratch, with the least expensive ingredients, while simultaneously watching my sister and I because we didn’t have enough money to get a babysitter. We never, ever, ever had the cool stuff – and birthdays had a present, but I know it’s only because my mom constantly counted pennies.
We were lucky.
Did you know that 2.6 million children die every year before their first month? Yep. There are children in need all over the world – and we have a fantastic way to help babies in need and give their families the hope that is such a necessary ingredient to pull up out of poverty.
Note: Some of these links may include affiliate links[/one_half]
- Assorted colors of 12″x12″ felt
- 4 5/8 yards of printed fabric at 44″ wide (optional: 10 yds fusible woven interfacing – see step 5 for details)
- Hot Glue Gun
- Pins, Large Needle, and measuring tape (or just get this sewing set)
- Embroidery Thread
- Gypsy Sling Purse Pattern from Amy Butler Designs
- Pattern for the Quiet Purse Cutouts
- Sewing Machine, Thread, Scissors [/one_half_last]
Step 1: Sew together 4 of your felt squares in a checkerboard.
Step 2: Sew a strip of your main fabric that is 17″x10″ on either side of your checkerboard (flush with the top).
Pin on the pattern piece from the Gypsy Sling exterior panel and cut out your piece.
Step 3: Cut out the rest of your pieces according to the pattern. Cut out the pieces for the “Quiet Book” panel of your purse (you can get printables for these pieces here). Place the pieces where you want them on the panels.
Step 4: Hot glue all of your pieces in place and velcro onto the backside of all of the extra pieces (Mrs. Potato doesn’t want to lose her flower!). Thread the embroidery floss through the beads and sew under the octopus – we did 1, 2, 3, … and then 9 beads per strand (to help learn counting!). Sew around the edges of all of the felt pieces to secure.
Step 5: Using a large needle, punch through the “shoe” felt and sew in the shoelaces. Sew the cell phone pocket from the gypsy sling pattern sideways next to the shoe (this is for storing all of the extra pieces of felt.
Step 6: Finish the purse following the instructions for the Gypsy Sling. We did NOT do the interfacing for this design and used the fabric strap option.
Voila! Your Quiet Purse Diaper Bag is Complete!
Now it’s time to send those towels to people that need them the most! You have two options – one domestic and one international. Pop your diaper bag into a box and choose your mailing address:
Healthy Babies Project
4501 Grant Street NE
Washington, D.C. 20019[/one_half][one_half_last]International
Via Panama 13
Roma, Italy 00198[/one_half_last]
Did you know that HALF of the world’s population of children is living in poverty? And that 30% of low-income families can’t change their children’s diapers often enough. That is BANANAS, people. So, if you’re feeling like you want to put a bit more in that box, throw in a packet of diapers – with these two amazing organizations that help babies in need, you know it won’t go to waste.
Centro Welcome and Healthy Babies Project are Aina-Approved (so you know they’re amazing) charities that help mothers and children in need. Healthy Babies Project focuses on those low-income families in the United States, bringing assistance since 1991 – and helping those families break out of the cycle of poverty. Centro Welcome is an organization dedicated to helping women and babies in need – most often focusing on immigrant and refugee women. If you want more info on that topic, get this book – it is a harrowing read on the issues refugee and immigrant women face in Italy. If you want to get more involved, check out The Healthy Babies Project and Centro Welcome for more information about what they do and how you can help!
We think these are SO FUN to make – and frankly, we wished we had them for ourselves when our kiddos were still in diapers. Remember to share your creations with us on Instagram by tagging us @ainagiving and using #ChangeCrafters!
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Carmen Westbrook is the CEO and co-founder of Aina Giving, a female-led company that transforms women into world changers. Join the movement of DIY World Change and get our accredited projects, leadership coaching, and nonprofit consulting – email us and tell us how you want to change the world. We’ll help you get there.