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The Sew Powerful Purse Unboxing Party Live-Stream Replay

On Wednesday night November 11th we unboxed, counted, and prepped the 2015 Sew Powerful Purses. We received 1,619 purses! We did our best to give each purse maker a “shout out”. We want to thank everyone who participated in our Fall Priority Deadline. The next priority deadline is February 1st – so keep sewing! Finally, we invite you to give in support of our program. Join us and help enable the expansion of this program so we can reach more women and girls in Zambia.


Getting involved is easy and we’d love your ongoing support.

Step #1 - Download The Purse Pattern & Make Purses

Simply download the pattern and begin making purses. Make as few or as many as you’d like. Take your time and make them as nice as possible. Remember – they are going to young girls. They like cute and colorful purses.  If you need help look for our sewing tutorials on

Step #2 - Download The Note Card

Download the message card and include a kind greeting in your purse. Write something special to the girl who will receive your work. Maybe a poem, scripture verse, prayer, or word of encouragement.

Step #3 - Tell Your Friends They've Gotta Help You

Share this project on Facebook, Tumblr, Youtube, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and yes – even in actual conversations! Get pumped and show you care by telling everyone they need to get onboard with the program and sew some purses!

Step #4 - Mail The Purses To Us By The Priority Deadline Date (2/1/16)

Be sure to finish your purses and mail them to us by our winter priority deadline – February 1, 2016. Mailing the purses by the priority date will help ensure they get to the girls in a timely manner. Of course we are happy to receive them all year long if you miss the priority deadline.

Step #5 - (Optional, but greatly needed) Give an extra gift of any amount today

(Note – please don’t put money or any gifts in the purses it causes all sorts of problems.)


Send Your Completed Purses To:

Sew Powerful

C/O Cally Leighton

16640 SE Old Petrovitsky Rd, Renton, WA 98058

(Note – please don’t put money or any gifts in the purses it causes all sorts of problems.)

any amount

Get The Free 2015 Purse PDF Pattern

To get the 2015 purse pattern simply click the “Download Now” button and you’ll be asked to enter your email address and then confirm it in your email account. Once you confirm your email you will receive direct access to the pattern. Yes – we will also keep you updated on projects and share encouraging results. You can unsubscribe at any time. If you don’t see the email in your inbox please check your spam (or junk) folder!

Download Now

Get The Note Card Now

Simply click the “Download Now” button and get the note card. Print it out, write a word of encouragement, and include it inside your completed purse.

Download Now


The purses you provide are used in local schools and clinics in Lusaka Zambia as part of Menstration Hygiene Management (MHM) programs. This simple gift – combined with re-usable sanitary pads and health information can make a tremendous difference in the lives of adolescent girls. Read about the amazing results of our 2014 Sew Powerful Purse Project here. Our ministry partners work hard to educate and inform the girls in their community so that they stay in school and grow in confidence and self-esteem. It really is sew powerful!



Education is the most effective investment socially and economically for a nation. Did you know:

  • Girls in rural Africa generally stay home from school while they are on their period.
  • It’s been documented they miss up to six weeks of school each year – a massive systematic disadvantage. 
  • ZanaAfrica has reported that providing sanitary pads and MHM training reduces absenteeism by 75%.



Girls in developing countries have a lack of materials, services, and facilities to help them manage their periods resulting in many school dropouts. Did you know:

  • Girls that drop out of school before completing a secondary education have a 40% pregnancy rate.
  • Educated women have 3.9 children on-average compared to 5.3 children for those who drop out.
  • A Girl in secondary school is 4 times less likely to be HIV-positive than one who drops out.

Self Esteem

Girls of all ages and in all countries deal with challenges to their self esteem. And in cases of extreme poverty the challenges are even more complex. Did you know:

  • When a purse is used strategically as part of a MHM – it gives girls a new-found confidence.
  • A purse is a simple item, but having a personal keepsake – something that you consider your private space – something that was a gift from a caring friend – can mean a lot to a young girl, empowering her to have higher self esteem.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I mail my completed purse in after October 1st?

Yes, we’re happy to receive purses any time. Our 2016 Priority Deadline is February 1st, 2016

Can I Donate A Purse I Make To A Local Girl In Need?

Yes – we’d love to have you use our pattern as a ministry tool in your community.

Can We Make Purses As A Group?

Yes! If you have a women’s ministry program at your church, a Girl Scout Troop, or another type of club – we’d love to have you coordinate a group effort.

I Don’t Sew – How Else Can I Help?

If you don’t sew – you’ve got a great opportunity to become an advocate for the program. Simply march into your local fabric or sewing store and begin talking to the employees about the “Sew Powerful Purse Project”. Ask them if they’d be willing to help you announce it – and work with them to create a movement in your town. Be a bold voice for the poor and share your passion for the project with people – it will be contagious.

I can sew, but not very well, is the pattern hard?

The pattern has an easy option for beginning sewers - it allows you to skip a lot of steps - that should help!

Can I just collect random purses and send them to you?

No, we are only interested in receiving the Liberty Jane Cross body Purse!

Can I Keep A Purse I Make?

Yes – we’d love to have you make a matching purse and keep one and send one to Africa.

Can I Sell The Purses I Make?

Yes. Our hope would be that you’d donate the money you raise to support our project, but if you need it for other reasons – that’s okay too!

Can You Pay For Shipping?

Unfortunately at this time we cannot cover your cost of shipping the purses to us. So we consider it part of your donation. Once we receive the purses we coordinate the shipping to Africa, which is a significant expense.

I Live In Seattle – Can I Drop Off My Purses?

It’s simplest if you just mail your purses to the address listed. Unfortunately we cannot accept local deliveries. However, if you’re doing an event in Seattle, let us know! Maybe we can come and speak to your group. Use the contact form to get in touch.

Between October 2015 and May 2016 we'll coordinate shipping, which might require transporting the purses on a cargo container or an ocean liner, which can take several months. But we'll strive to get the purses to Zambia as quickly as we can.

Can I send you a box of my leftover supplies?

Unfortunately at this time we cannot accept donations of random items. If you'd like, you can sell them and send us the money :)

Do I have to use a specific fabric for the purses?

You can use any fun material you'd like as you make the purses. Denim is good or any heavy weight material that you like. It's up to you!

Help Us Spread The Word!

Use The Hashtag #sewpowerfulpurse & Share Images Of Your Work on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or just use the “Upload Your Photo” option below these examples!

Let’s share this on Pinterest with as many sewing and charity focuses boards as possible!

Download And Share Our Flyer

Download this nice 1-page flyer and give copies to your church, community groups, teachers, Girl Scout troop leader, and even post copies at your local JoAnns Fabrics, or other local stores.

Download It Now


Follow Us On Facebook:

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Have A Question?

If we didn’t answer all of your questions, feel free to drop us a line anytime.

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