Friday, May 27, 2011

Only a Couple of Weeks!

First of all I want to send out a big THANK YOU to all of you who have made donations to support my trip! Debbie Cook posted a link on her blog asking all of her readers to even just send $5.00. Well, lots did (and some donated more) and that really did add up! Thank you again! Tomorrow we are having a huge rummage sale at our church and the proceeds are going toward our trip. Please pray that we will raise the money we need because I am still about $1200 short, and so is Karen. Our trip is just a short time away - we are leaving on the 13th of June.

This is a picture of Kathy and me. I met Kathy on my first trip to Uganda. She lives in a small village called Kasana. She speaks more English than most of the women I've met there, but maybe she just has more confidence. Last spring she took Karen and I on a walk through the village, and when we got struck by a downpour, she ran us into her home. It is a mud and thatch adobe hut, and it was nice and cool inside. The whole hut was probably about 10 feet in diameter. She lives there with her husband and some children, but I don't think they are hers. She has a job selling some kind of porridge in the evening in the center of the village. For many, this is all they eat. They do grow some different fruit and vegetables there in the village, but I think most of it is sold in a nearby town. The only transportation you see there other than foot traffic, is the occasional bicycle. If someone wants to go into the town (about 15 minute drive by car)they either walk down the main road at the edge of the village or walk until they catch a boda boda. Bodas are motorcycle taxis. They are everywhere. Some people even take a bicycle taxi.

I believe that Kathy will be one of the women we will be setting up with her own sewing machine. She was one of the more adept last year and seems to have a "business mind." Of course, business in Uganda is nothing like it is here. I am anxious to go back and see the women we got to share with last year. Some of them were pregnant then, so we may get to see their new babies.

Thank you all for your prayers, support, and comments I have received regarding our trip this year. Gwen asked if I would consider to "open it up" to new people! Absolutely! We would love to have more people come. If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, and feel that God has put it on your heart to serve these women in this way, please let me know and I can give you more details on how to get involved.

I would appreciate your prayers over the next few weeks that Karen and I would stay healthy, that we will have energy and compassion, that we will be well used by God, and have safe travel. Having rheumatoid arthritis, sitting still for more than an hour or two can be miserable. Our air travel alone is over 20 hours, plus we have layovers. I can almost never sleep on the plane, so I am usually a little wiped out for the first few days. I also need to return healthy, as I am having surgery as soon as I return. Pray for the women of Uganda, that they would have strength and faith to endure all of the struggles they face every day. They are always so inspired when they find out how many people are praying for them and helped to support us to get us there. They just cannot believe it.

Again, if you would care to support this mission, you can either send money directly to me through paypal or donate directly to International Messengers. My email is and International Messengers address is in my last post.

I did get this outfit finished and will be wearing it during my trip. I bought this fabric in Uganda last year. Actually, they would never make a dress out of this. It is too thin. They use a much heavier cotton for their dresses. They use this fabric for something they put on over their skirts, like an apron. I wanted something lighter weight because it is so hot there.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Uganda Update

I'm in the middle (or should I say late stages? ) of planning my trip to Uganda. For those of you who may be new to my blog, I will give you the background.
It all started a few years ago when I listened to a podcast of an interview with Sandra Betzina. She happened to mention that she had just returned from Ethiopa where she goes every year to teach women to sew. She didn't say any more about it, but, I thought "I wonder if that is some kind of mission trip." I also wondered how you would get involved in something like that and thought that maybe I would want to do it. A few weeks later I was talking to a friend of mine who had gone on a medical mission to Uganda. I was asking her about it and mentioned this podcast I had heard. She said she knew someone who could set up a trip like that and that we should come over for lunch that day since he was going to be there on a visit from MN.

Andy and I went to my friends house for lunch and talked to a man named John Pipes, who I had met once before. He used to attend our church a long time ago, but had since moved to MN. John works for International Messengers and does ministry in the villages of Uganda. I told him what I was interested in and he said, "You decide what you would like to do, when you can go, and I'll set up the trip." Wow! I think that was during winter and on my Easter break I was on a plane to Uganda with no one I knew meeting someone I had only met a couple of times before, to go to a country where most of the people don't speak English (even though it is the "official" language) having very little idea of what I'd be doing there.

There were some other college kids that we met up with, but they were doing a music ministry and I was the only one doing sewing. It was so fun and amazing and rewarding. I couldn't believe how appreciative the women (and men) were just over the fact that I had come. It didn't even matter if I had taught them anything or done anything, they were just excited that I was there.

The following year, I went again, and this time spent more time in the Village. I got to see some of the same faces as the year before and lots of new ones. Some of the women did speak limited English but they have such a heavy accent that I could not understand most of what they said! They asked me what language I speak. I replied "English." They said, "No you don't" It was so funny. They said they could not understand me either. That second year I took another lady friend with me and we worked with the women in the villages teaching them to sew on treadle machines and doing bible study in the afternoon. Here is a picture of the women in the skirts that they made:

This year I have the opportunity to go again. I am very excited, but I'm asking for your help if any of you feel lead to do so. Our expenses this year will be much higher because of air fare. Our plane tickets alone are over $2700! This is what we will be doing.

It takes about 2 days to get to Uganda. The first day we are there, we will be shopping in Kampala for fabric and 2 sewing machines. These will be used in the villages. The next day, we will be traveling to Jinja, which is a much smaller town. It is on the equator and is where the "origin of the Nile" is. There is a pastor's conference that weekend on purity and we will be ministering to the wives. There are a lot of problems in Uganda with infidelity, domestic abuse, alcoholism, aides, and corruption as well as extreme poverty, yellow fever, and malaria. Here is a picture of one of the "classrooms" that we saw when we were in the slums of Kampala

Last year one woman asked us what we would do in her position. Her husband has been having an affair with another woman, and now he has brought this woman home to live with him and the wife. He expects the wife to take care of the children and home as well as cook for him and his new girlfriend! I'm telling you, the situations they deal with are nothing like what we have here. One woman asked us if we could take a couple of her children home with us because she couldn't afford to feed all of them.
After the pastor's conference, we will be going into the villages for the next week. We will be teaching the majority of the women who come hand sewing and embroidery. The two machines we purchase will be given to two of the women who the pastor has chosen to start up their own businesses. I will be teaching them more sewing skills and helping them find a way to market what they make. They will pay us back with a small amount of money each month from what they make so that we can buy two more machines to get more women involved in the business of sewing,. At this point, I'm thinking school uniforms since there are millions of children there and they all wear uniforms. Most of the uniforms you see children in are worn, stained and falling apart. We still don't have all the details worked out on this yet.

Please be thinking and praying about whether this is something you would like to help support. All donations are greatly appreciated. There are two ways to donate. You could send a check to me directly at Nancy Winningham, 1430 S. Grand Street, Visalia, CA 93292. If you would like a tax receipt, you can send a check to International Messengers with a note that it is for me and the Ugandan sewing ministry. Their address is PO Box 618, Clear Lake, IA 50428-0618. You will receive a receipt that can be used for a tax write off. Thank you so much for your thoughts, prayers, and any support you can give. These women across the globe are grateful!

ETA: Debbie Cook suggested that use PayPal and I hadn't even thought of that. Thanks, Debbie! If you would like to support me by making a donation through PayPal, my email address is

Friday, May 06, 2011

Performance Fabric

In August of 2009, I bought an length of "performance fabric" from
It is called Dryflex. 90% polyester, 10% lycra. It is print on one side and solid on the other. I bought it to make a tank top, just to see how it would work. The website said that it was breathable and moisture wicking, so I wanted to give it a try. 6977 At first, I had trouble getting my machine not to skip stitches (good thing I tried on a sample first.) I changed to a #10 jersey ball point needle and a narrow zigzag, and that worked perfectly.
The shirt pattern is New Look 6977. I have made this top before and it is pretty easy. What I like about it is that it has raglan sleeves that just cover the shoulder but are still as cool as a sleeveless top.

The neckline has a separate band that is stitched on and is gathered in the front with clear elastic. I couldn't find my clear elastic, so I cut an elastic hanger out of a cardigan and used it!

I finished the seams with the serger and did the hems with the coverstitch machine.

I never thought I'd be a fan of one seam pants, but I have to say, I've been loving these. I'll be glad when the weather cools down next week so that I can wear them one day. It was 96 yesterday and probably that again today.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

New Pants - V1197

I just finished making these new pants and I really like them. They are not quite a legging, but they are not quite trousers, either. They are a slim pant. They actually look slimmer on the pattern envelope, so I'm thinking that maybe I should have made a size C instead of a size D. I will definitely make these again. There is no side seam,but there is a slit in the side. Super fast and super easy. These will work well with some of the longer tops I've been wanting to make.