Indigenous dialysis patients help sew 1,000 skirts for outback women in the Kimberley

A group of Indigenous dialysis patients who have been sewing skirts for remote community women during their treatments have completed their 1,000th garment. Mary Nellie is more than 400km from home and is among the dozen women who participated to sewing the 1,000th skirt. She is staying in Broome for dialysis treatment, far from friends and family in Fitzroy Crossing.

Access to clothing can be a struggle in remote areas, with less choice for plus-size women. The Bigirl Skirts founders created a simple design, using cotton fabric with two double-stitched pockets to hold the basics. The skirts are sent to Kimberley communities and sold for $10. Four Broome women started the Bigirl Skirts project in 2012 after observing a demand for skirts for plus-size women in remote communities.

Co-founder Solange Rousset said their 1,000th skirt is an important feature considering they only sew for a few hours once a month. But one of Bigirl Skirts’ longstanding members died just a few weeks before the 1,000th skirt celebration. She was in Broome receiving medical treatment. She had had both legs amputated and the women had helped her remain independent. Ms. Rousset said the women had together organized her transport to their monthly gatherings, which made a huge impact on her life. Ms. Rousset said the woman had been the life of the party and the group was mourning the loss.

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