Monthly Archives: October 2013

Hot Topics October 2013

74 members, 4 guests and 4 new members were present to hear a very enjoyable talk by Clare Walker about the “Spitfire Women” of World War II.  That war had given women fliers their first opportunity to work as pilots.  Britain led the world in January 1940 when the first 8 women were employed to fly military aircraft in the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) that ferried many types of planes, including the Halifax, the Hurricane and the Spitfire between various locations.  164 women from Britain and 7 other countries flew with the ATA.  During its 5 years existence, 14 women (including Amy Johnson) lost their lives; and 11 women received honours.  From 1943 the ATA women earned equal pay with the men.  This was the first time that the British Government gave its blessing to equal pay for equal work, within an organisation under its jurisdiction.  Clare’s descriptions of the Spitfire Women’s experiences stimulated a lot of interest and questions.  Clare works with the Royal Aeronautical Society, including its Women in Aviation and Aerospace Committee.  After a career in national newspapers and magazine publishing, Clare obtained her pilot’s licence at the age of 50.

  • Agnes Fox reminded members that our November meeting would be our Annual Meeting & 5th Birthday celebrations.
  • Agnes congratulated Angela Maher & Tess Corrigan on winning at the Surrey Federation’s Croquet Taster Day at Surbiton Croquet Club and Julia Whiting for winning one of the Surrey Federation’s Bursaries to Denman.
  • Agnes thanked Frieda Willis and Katie Worsley for running the Theatre Group.  Due to other commitments, they could no longer continue.  She also thanked Gillian and the Social Group for taking over responsibility for organising theatre outings.
  • Ann Dolphin made a further plea for more members prepared to join our Committee, particularly those who would like to be Treasurer or assist with Treasurer work.  With the Annual Meeting due in November, members interested in being on the Committee were asked to contact her by Monday 4 November.
  • Surrey Federation Autumn Meeting – Ann said the information she obtained from Dorking on 30 September was included on the Notice Board.
  • Wimbledon WI at Denman Monday 7 April 2014 – Ann invited members to sign up quickly if they wanted to attend.  There would be 2 workshops (maximum 12 per workshop) covering Vegetable Container Gardening & Bead/Wire Jewellery making.
  • Wimbledon WI – Draw for Denman College Bursary for 2013/14 – Members had the opportunity to apply for 2 bursaries up to a value of £250 each to help contribute towards the cost of a member attending a course at Denman College.  The draw for the winners will take place at our November meeting.

Ann encouraged members to have a look at the Notice Board.  Among the new material put up this month:-

  • Surrey Federation 300 Club An annual subscription and regular draws for cash prizes.  Application form from the Secretary, Ann Dolphin  Closing date 6 November.
  • NFWI AGM Leeds 7 June 2014– Application form to be delegate or observer from the Secretary, Ann Dolphin.  Closing Date 6 January.
  • Surrey at Denman 12-15 June 2014 – Application form/booking details from the Secretary, Ann Dolphin.  Application should be made asap to Surrey and by no later than 17 January 2014.
  • Dress a Girl around the World – Ten dresses were delivered to the Utange orphanage in Mombassa by Julia Whiting earlier this month.  Eileen thanked those who had made the dresses.  We will be able to send more dresses to the orphanage next March so do have a go at making one.  (For details see September meeting Preview and this website –

  • Tables at Craft Fairs – Eileen explained that we are sometimes approached by organisers of Fairs to ask if we wanted to take a table to sell craft goods or produce. If any members would be interested in joining together to take a table and sell things they had made, please add your name to the signup sheet at the next meeting so we can set up a network group.
  • Remembrance Day Poppies – a big thank you to all who used their craft skills to produce poppies, and our members who dug deep in their pockets with their Royal British Legion donations, which will be commemorated at a War Cemetery in France. We are pleased to announce we managed to raise £330.
  • Second-hand book sale – a big thank you to Annette Osborne and the Book Club for arranging this and to members for supporting the sale.  We raised £60 for our WI.
  • Voting for Charity of the Year 2014 – After explanations from Diana about First Touch and Val about Merton & Morden Guild, members voted for their preference which was Merton & Morden Guild for  our Charity of the Year 2014 and the proceeds from the voting will go to them.
  • The Refuge says a big thank you for all the contributions.  They now have stocks to last until January, so please can you hold on to anything until after Christmas, as Lesley will not be taking anything else until then.
  • The Foodbank is low on stock, so anything that you contribute will be gratefully received.  There will be priority lists again soon, but for now anything goes! – full list at  More and more people are now being referred so their stocks are not lasting as long.  Once again a big thank you from them.

We look forward to seeing you in November for our Annual Meeting and a social event to celebrate our 5th Birthday.

Don’t forget also we will be collecting suitable gifts for Carers Support Merton (our Charity of the Year 2013).  The possible gifts (not wrapped) you are invited to bring are

  • vouchers for cinema/toys r us
  • girls and boys toiletries
  • electric toothbrushes
  • annuals – football teams. ben 10, pop bands
  • stationary/art supplies
  • sport gear footballs, tennis racquets
  • craft kits
  • lego
  • beads – make a bracelet.

Reminder about Date change for December Meeting – Originally scheduled for Monday 16 December – to be held on Monday 9 December.

Dress a girl around the world

“Imagine a World where every little girl owned at least one dress! What if that dress was made by you?”

dress a girl around the worldDress a Girl Around the World is a charity set up in America with the aim of sending dresses to girls living in poverty across the world.
We thought this was a great idea.  Some of us got their sewing machines out and Julia, one of our members, took 10 dresses to Utange, Mombasa where a charity works to provide needy children with an education. We are hoping to get photos of the girls wearing the dresses soon.

We are going to continue to make dresses and will be able to send more out in the spring when another visit to Utange is planned.

If you would like to make a dress, the following links should give you the information you need.
All the information on the links is quite clear and the only comment we would make is that the minimum width bias binding should be 5/8th inches (16mm) anything narrower might not stand up to the wear the dress is likely to get. (20mm works well.) Also, although they are called pillowcase dresses, you don’t have to use pillowcases. Any rectangle of fabric is OK and probably easier to work with than a pillowcase.
Introduction, photos etc

Tutorial and full instructions

Video tutorial giving step-by-step instructions

Information about sizes, material needed etc.

If you are not able to make a dress but have fabric you are able to donate for others to sew with, please bring it along to one of our meetings. (Any pieces of cotton, pillowcases or duvet covers would be fine. Also any bits of lace, ribbon etc.)

Armhole pattern

Dress a Girl armhole patterns

Handmade Poppies

Wimbledon WI have been busy sewing, crocheting and knitting poppies to sell to raise funds for The Royal British Legion.  They will be recreating a ‘Flanders Field’ of poppies at the historic Menin Gate, Ypres on Armistice Day and a poppy from the Wimbledon WI will be placed there in commemoration. Our ladies made over 120 poppies which were sold at our meeting and to family and friends and together we were able to raise £330 for the British Legion.


Poppy making evening


The Poppy Making event at Angela’s bakery last Wednesday was very successful and enjoyed by all. Everyone went away having made a lovely poppy either crocheted, knitted or sewn. If these ladies or any of you who couldn’t make the evening, would like to make poppies to sell at the next WI meeting, that would be wonderful. The money raised will go to the Royal British Legion.

Download patterns

Crocheted Poppy pattern

Knitted Poppy pattern