Its funny how life is sometimes. You can be going along all hunky dory doing your thing and then you make one small decision and it changes your whole life. I met Heidi Totten in January of 2017 and began to learn all about her trips to Kenya and 100 humanitarians. We were talking one day in September and I was telling her how I like to sew and create my own patterns. She asked if I wanted to go to Kenya- if you’ve met Heidi, you know she does this all the time. I said yes, at some point, but what can I do now?

She asked me if I could make and underwear pattern.

….This is where everything in my life began to change….

I said yes.

An underwear pattern. How often do you think about underwear here in the United States? Maybe once a day, –you know to make sure you put on a clean pair. The point is we rarely think about it, its just part of all the other stuff we don’t really think about here. But that’s not the case in Kenya and other developing countries. There are people- Women and girls who don’t even know what underwear or panties are!

Talk about an eye opener for me. I will never be ungrateful for the things I have ever again.

Heidi told me Christine’s story, and she told me the story of these beautiful girls that missed school every month, had to sit on cardboard for a week and wait while they bled and life went by. These girls that are taught to get a boyfriend, so the boy can get them what they need (feminine hygiene products) to help them stop bleeding and/or sex and then pregnancy. These girls then end up dropping out of school, in early marriages with FGM, prostitution and being young mothers on the streets. For these girls, a pair of underwear is life changing.

Yes, I said yes!

I have sons,There’s like 3 styles of underwear for boys. That’s it 1, 2, 3. Style A,B, or C.

Then you look at girls and it’s like you need freaking library card catalog system just to find ONE style!

Hipster, boy shorts, granny, bikini, skimpy bikini, high cut, low cut, boxer cut, and who knows how many others! But wait there’s more then there’s like hipster style A, B and C…

Anyways musings of a pattern designer.

As I did my research, I started drawing up ideas for the pattern. Every time I finished a drawing I would here a voice in my head that said, “its to much, keep it simple.” I went through several drawings always making them more and more simple, it wasn’t enough. It wasn’t right yet.

One day I was looking at pictures from 100 humanitarians past expeditions. I realized I needed to make this pattern in a way that it would not need anything extra but the fabric and thread.  Did you know most underwear styles here use elastic? I found out later, elastic is hard to find in Kenya.

I made the underwear pattern in eight sizes, with three pattern pieces, no extras. Fabric and thread. Simple.

Heidi and I met up and I gave her the pattern to take to Christine, who would be making underwear from the pattern, in Kenya.

Then she asks, “Can you make this pattern from a T-shirt?”

Yes, yes you can.

One pattern. 8 sizes and you can make it from a T-shirt. Simple.

By small and simple things great things can happen.

-Marissa Waldrop

 

Marissa Waldrop is a wife and Mother to 4 sons. She has always had a passion for creative expression and to inspire others to do their best. Marissa has a Bachelors of Science degree in Communication from Brigham Young Univ. Idaho, over 25 years of experience sewing and creating with fabric and other mediums, and over 5 years of experience as a leader in mentoring and coaching others to embrace creative expression and communication within themselves.