Friday, June 11, 2010

Easy Sewing for U.S. Soldiers

Amidst the million other projects I have planned, an email came to me yesterday from a co-worker that caused me to re-adjust my sewing priorities.

A group of students in my school recently did a donation drive to fill care packages for soldiers, which were wonderfully received in Iraq by a local unit from Michigan.  The woman that makes this all happen runs an organization called "Desert Angels", and she got a "Thank You" for the packages and a request for "neck coolers".  She emailed my co-worker (who organized the donation drive) looking home sewers that might be able to make them, and that's where I came into the picture.
I did a little research and found out that these much sought-after and highly appreciated "neck coolers" are thin cotton tubular scarves that are soaked in water and keep the soldiers cool in the extreme temperatures of the desert.  They contain a small amount (2 tsp.) of special absorbent beads that slowly release the water and keep the neck cool.  The scarves are "rechargeable" and can be rewet over and over again, and each only calls for 4" of 45" wide fabric.  I ordered the smallest bag of beads from the microsorb website, which is 2 lbs and is enough to make 100 cool ties ($19.95 including s/h).  The website also shows how to use the beads to make other helpful cooling items like vests and helmet coolers, and includes links on how to get connected with making donations.

The directions for construction were emailed to me from the Desert Angels, and are a little different from the microsorb website (easier, IMO).  I plan on using either muslin or tan/olive cotton, and I talked to the "home ec" teachers I work with, and they really want to participate (and do this as a student project next year!).  So, here are the links for the instructions that I received from Desert Angels (made by the Ortonville MI Sewing Group), but there are a number of others you can find online by Googling "neck coolers".
Page 1, Page 2, Page 3, Page 4, Care Labels to attach when finished.

I thought some of you might be interested in making some and sending them to our troops, so I'm sharing my information.  I will let you know how our "sewing session" goes, which is planned for June 25!  With a few sewing machines going and others helping cut and iron, we should have 100 made in no time at all!


Jennifer said...

This is great! I would be so interested in doing this in my area! I live in Savannah, GA and we have 2 army bases right here in the area. We are very military concious in this area and I love trying to do what I can to help out the soldiers! It just fills me up with joy when I see in our paper when our local troops are going to be coming home. They really sacrifice so much for us! What a wonderful way to show a little of our thanks! I am going to look around to see if anyone in my area is doing something like this and try to make some as well. How do I find out where to send them too?

Thanks for posting this!

beangirl said...

That is awesomeness!

Ann's Fashion Studio said...

This is a super idea. Thank you.

angie.a said...

Very cool. I'll have to see if I can get my hands on some beads too!

Anonymous said...

I love this idea too, Kristine. I'm going to follow your lead and order some beads and spend some time on this project too. Thanks for sharing the idea and the information as to how to make it happen.

Michelle said...

What a great idea!!! Have fun with your new project!