Children, Christmas cheer to benefit from sewing project

CONTRIBUTED PHOTOS — Some of the Central Iowa Sewing Guild members with the dolls that they styled. From left to right, the members pictured are DeAnn Hebert, Amy Garrett, Diane McCauley, Beth Wehrman, Linda Enghausen and Rita Riskedahl. Rita Riskedahl (far right) is pictured with one of the stuffed animals created for the donation.

The Central Iowa Sewing Guild is stitching their way toward making the holidays brighter for local children.

As part of its annual service project, the sewing group got to work putting together wardrobes for dolls and stitching handmade stuffed animals. The 18-inch dolls, accompanied by their newly made clothes and accessories, will be donated to both the Salvation Army of Marshalltown as well as the Bidwell Riverside Center in Des Moines.

As is tradition, the sewing guild meets regularly to discuss their craft and expertise and also to come up with its yearly service project. The guild has several members from Marshalltown but also has members spread out across Central Iowa.

Nancy Reis, one of the members, suggested the project, having been aware of a similar effort in Texas. With the plan firmly in place, they did what they do best: they began sewing.

The guild consists of 96 members, but this project was left to 35 of the members. By the time they were done, they had a total of 66 dolls with various outfits and about 30 stuffed animals to be split between Marshalltown and Des Moines.

The dolls are packaged in individual bags with the various items created by the sewing guild. All toys will be delivered to the Salvation Army on Dec. 8.

“Each doll has at least three different outfits that members have sewn for it,” said Rita Riskedahl, membership chair of the group.

Joann Neven, one of the participating members, said she put between 10 and 13 hours into making the different doll clothes. There is a large variety of clothes, and either a blanket or a sleeping bag will be included with each of the dolls.

“We feel this will be a very popular gift that a parent would select for their child,” Neven said.

All dolls will be packaged with their assorted items in a plastic bag before donation.

Riskedahl and Neven plan to drop off Marshalltown’s portion of the gifts at the Salvation Army next week. The Salvation Army is doing the giveaway in mid-December.

The stuffed animals and dolls, ready for donation.


Contact Susanna Meyer at 641-753-6611 or



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