GREENFIELD — Sew cloth diapers out of used T-shirts?
The school assignment gave Elliot Lambert and Avery Spencer the jitters.
“It was gonna be hard,” said Elliot, a Greenfield Central Junior High School seventh-grader, who was among 151 Family and Consumer Sciences students in the so-called “Diaper Brigade.”
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“We didn’t even know how to sew yet. We thought we were all gonna fail at it,” Avery added.
But soon enough, the students became experts on cutting, sewing and adding the shower curtain liner for waterproof protection, all for a good cause.
The students are sending their up-cycled cloth diapers to Haiti through Fellowship of Associates of Medical Evangelism. FAME is an Indianapolis-based agency that teacher Denise Waymire linked with.
“I don’t know. It just came to me,” Waymire said of the idea — but then the real story comes out. “I’m a real Pinterest person.”
Waymire realized by searching the popular website that cloth diapers would be an easy project for first-time sewers. And then she thought back to a friend who recently had went on a mission trip to Haiti.
“You know what? All my kids made pillows in Home Ec. They brought them home, and they just ended in a closet,” Waymire said. “If they do something in class that feels good, maybe they’ll continue to do good.”
As word of the project spread, boxes full of T-shirts were donated by students, teachers and parents. It can take one to two T-shirts to sew a diaper, and each student is sewing at least one. It takes four layers of T-shirts matched against a paper pattern; the finishing touch is Velcro for fastening.
“Once we started doing the different papers on the stitches and sewing the fabric on top of each one, we kind of got the hang of it,” Avery said.
The students even got a pep talk from FAME’s director of mission resources, which was what several students said is what inspired them to make a second or third diaper if they had time.
The project hit home for Braelyn Patty, who visited Haiti two years ago on a mission trip and said she remembers seeing children without diapers. Gracie Moore said even though the project sounded hard at first, it was well worth the effort.
“I really like the fact that we’re doing this for kids that don’t have anything,” Gracie said.