Saturday, 13 April 2013

Princess club

25% of children in Aotearoa live in poverty.  A quarter of all NZ children - its just so wrong.  Our country has slipped further and further down the OECD list of countries for living conditions.

There are many organisations that work hard to address this problem, like the Sallies, City Mission, KidsCan school lunches, food banks, etc.  One place I found a few years ago that is attempting to address this issue in the eastern suburbs of Christchurch is Golden Harvest Trust.  Mel, (an amazingly hope filled woman) and a team of up to 100 volunteers run community clean ups, food parcels, and groups for kids.  The group that caught my attention is Princess Club.  Run for 4-12 yr old girls, they gather weekly and learn essential life skills, all with a Princess theme.  There is Princess Friendship, Princess Manners, Princess Trustworthy to name a few.  Once a month The Palace (a gorgeous space in the Hampshire Street Shops in Aranui) holds Ester's Pamper Palace.  The girls are treated to manicures, foot spas, hair wash and do ups, and they get to wear a gorgeous princess gown.

When I arrived there was one rack of dress ups.  Within a year 120 dresses were hanging on purpose built racks with 80 pairs of princess shoes and 60 tiaras.  A momentus year of design and creation, with lots of volunteers coming and going - assisting with shoe do ups, tiara making and stitching.

Here are some of the results:
black donated dress before
black donated dress after
close up detail to hide stitching
matching tiara to complete the look!

70's bridesmaid number 
refashioning underway!                  
a crazy nightie that the girls loved
crazy nightie becomes empire line gown
my 1st refashion - it was ripped and stained 
beaded detailing for extra princess appeal

$5 opshop taffeta gown
in the throws of a makeover -
lacing to be added

donated fabrics line my shelves
tiara making sessions in the school room

my lovely chaotic work space - rm 14, wainoni primary
a donated shoe rack with
donated shoes

the girls loved this, but too low cut!
solved that problem with insert of satin
snow white makeover

take 1 Pumpkin Patch dress
add some sparkle and bling...
and you have a gown fit for a princess!
butterfly tiara - so much fun to make!
So that's a bit of what i did for most of 2010.  Interrupted slightly by earthquakes, then 2yrs of study, but I am finally able to get back and volunteer some time with Princess Club, starting in May 2013...Yay!!!! :)


  1. Such a lovely thing to do for those girls - I love what you have managed to create from other's cast offs. I hope this year is just as rewarding as it has been for you in the past. x

    1. thanks nin, Its not as full on these days as most of the dresses are finished, just the odd mend here and there and a stocktake to do next term - we have so many dresses its hard to keep up with them all! Such generous people around! :)

  2. love this - I take it you are always keen to receive more by way of shoes and gowns?? Mainly kid sized though yes?

    1. we are kinda running out of room - but do still need little girls shoes (sz 1 - 4) and little girl gowns (sz 5-7). The rest is pretty well catered for, although if i come across anything really stunning, i usually pick it up, and replace one of the more well worn gowns - will be doing a stocktake next term, so will have a clearer idea then on whats needed. :)J
      ps - had the bestest weekend in ages, just what i needed - thanks so much for all your hard work and effort! :)

  3. Justine!!!! What a brilliant use of your opshopping and dressmaking talents. I haven't heard of the princess club before but i can imagine its appeal-and i remember the new harvest trust from when they were over near hillmorten years ago (i think they are the same people). Do sing out if you find you need anything in particular when you do your stocktake xxx