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Texas PinPals are on a Mission with Rose Turner


More than 25 years ago Rose Turner and 5 others started the Texas PinPals. This charity serves the North Dallas area by providing underprivileged children with a wonderful Christmas experience. The children not only receive, buy learn the joy of giving as well. Rose's connection to Sew Powerful came through Liberty Jane as her group searched for patterns for clothes for the dolls the group donates every year. Listen as Rose shares tips and ideas on group sewing sessions you can incorporate into your own sew-a-longs. In the heart of the Christmas season, rejoice with the children of North Dallas who benefit from the generosity of Rose and her Texas PinPals.


First Christian Church in Carrollton, TX, American Sewing Guild, Metrocrest Social Services, Liberty Jane, CPA, doll clothes


We are Sew Powerful, How a Global Community of Seamstresses Is Changing Zambia One Girl at A Time, 2nd edition. By Jason G. Miles and Cinnamon, © 2016 & 2020 Jason G. Miles and Cinnamon, all rights reserved.

American Sewing Guild,

Metorcrest Social Services,

Liberty Jane,


The Sew Powerful Podcast shines a light on the people behind the mission to keep girls in school and create purposeful products in Zambia. Join us every week for a new 30-minute episode to meet new people, hear inspiring stories, and learn how you can join us in this global movement. Whether you sew or not, make purses or not, you will find something to enjoy in every episode. Listen today.


Host: Jan Cancila

Guest: Rose Turner


Jan Cancila, Host 00:04

Welcome to the Sew Powerful podcast. This is your host, Jan Cancila. You know the sound of my sewing machine means it's time for another episode. So let's get started.


Jan 00:20

Welcome. Today we have the privilege of speaking with Rose Turner, who is the founder of a group of ladies called the Texas PinPals. And wait till you hear what they do. Rose is based in the Dallas, Texas area, and she's going to really impress you with what she does for charity. So welcome Rose Turner. How are you today?


Rose Turner, Guest 00:47

Thank you very much. I'm just great. It's a beautiful day here.


Jan 00:50

Yep, it's beautiful where I am, as well. Rose we're talking to you because you submitted a story, and it was selected and published in the "We Are Sew Powerful" book. So, congratulations on that. The name of your story is, The Texas PinPals are on a Mission. And we're going to really delve into what you've been telling us here. So first off, as I look over your shoulder, I see a beautiful picture, I'll call it a picture, you're gonna have to tell us the medium of a rose, which I presume is for your name. So, tell us about that picture.


Rose 01:28

My very athletic older son had to take art in the eighth grade. And this doesn't sit well with football players, you know, but he was responsible for making a drawing. And that rose is made out of colored pencils by a 13-year-old boy. You should see it in person is very nice. It's very good. But of course, he's way too busy to actually do artwork.


Jan 01:56

Oh, but he has the talent, clearly.


Rose 01:59

Incredible talent.


Jan 02:00

Yes. And do you have other children?


Jan 02:04

I have a younger son who is far more artistic than his brother. And I had some incredible pieces in my house. I have a dog in the other room that he did that is just amazing. I've been offered several thousand dollars for it already it's incredible. They're both very talented.


Jan 02:25

Oh, wow. Well, that's fantastic. So back in 1993, you and four of your closest friends, I presume, started a little group. Tell us what was happening back in 1993. And tell us how you started the Texas PinPals.


Rose 02:42

So briefly, I lived in Kansas City, Missouri. And the American Sewing Guild was not known by the American Sewing Guild back then. But I joined it anyway. Then I moved to Florida, and they really weren't established very well in Florida. And then five years later, I moved here to Dallas, and a chapter of the American Sewing Guild was just getting started. So, they founded in May, and had their organizational meetings right after that. I found out about them, right about that same time. And so, by September, we had found five other ladies that would be willing to start a sewing guild group here in North Dallas. And so, we started out as members of the American Sewing Guild and many of us are still members of the American Sewing Guild. But we started with five people in September of 1990, maybe 92.


Jan 03:45



Rose 03:46

So, we met in a retail shop for a while. And then we met in the libraries for a while and then about 15 or 20 years ago, we started meeting at my church, which is the First Christian Church in Carrollton.


Jan 03:59

Okay, and when you formed this group, number one who came up with this clever name of the Texas PinPals?


Rose 04:07

So we didn't have a clever name to start with, because really, there's another group here called Best of the Southwest. And I desperately wanted that name really. One of the members, who was also a very talented lady, came up with kind of a logo thing with the pin and the rotary cutter was the P and then the I. Anyway, it was very stylized, very adorable. And so, we were the Carrollton Lewisville PinPals for a while and then just the PinPals. And then finally, we decided we were going to be the Texas PinPals. And that's what we registered our nonprofit as.


Jan 04:45

Okay, so you are a registered nonprofit as the Texas PinPals.


Rose 04:49

We are.


Jan 04:50

Oh my goodness. Well, congratulations on that. So do you have a mission statement or something like that, that's your guiding principle?


Rose 04:58

No, one of the things that was really important to all of us is that we recognize that we are all intelligent men and women. And we can make up our own rules and our own regulations without a lot of help. So, it's really complicated to be a member of the Texas PinPals. You have to say that you are and pay your dues if you can. That's all. That's enough for us.


Jan 05:26

That sounds pretty reasonable. But you do have a focus, right? Tell us what that focus is.


Rose 05:32

All of us, every one of us have a servant's heart. And we have been together for so long, because we come from the same place. We know that we are blessed, unbelievably blessed with the talent and the ability to use our hands to help others. And we don't take it lightly. We know that being able to sew and serve is not common. It's not something everybody can do. And so we approach it like that.


Rose 06:04

Every year, we have kind of a January meeting, we call it a business meeting. But it's not. It's really a statement of our purpose. And we reaffirm every year that our charity sewing, and our charity work is the most important thing to us. And so that is our focus. What needs are there in the community, and how can we meet them? And how can we do a kind of a superior job that, you know, I will say that I set big goals. I want to be able to do high volume work.


Rose 06:41

They all go right with me, and they have forever, right. And so everyone knows they can bring whatever ideas they want. And we will talk about them. And we will fill those needs, as best we can. And truly all of us, all of us have the same heart. We meet every month, second Saturday at 10am. And then we meet between four and six times more a year than that for an all-day sew-in to make sure we have enough time to get our charity projects done.


Jan 07:13

And how many people are members right now?


Rose 07:15

Well, if you count the ladies that have moved away and still submit their projects for us, we're about 35, but active here in North Dallas, about 25.


Jan 07:26

Okay, well, that's certainly a good number. Now you have a specific project that you do every single year, and then you add on to that project. But what is your main project that you do every year?


Rose 07:40

So there is an organization here in North Dallas called the Metrocrest Social Services, and they serve the people in need in Coppell, Carrollton, Farmers Branch, and Addison. They're a very well-run organization. And they have a Christmas store every year. So all of their clients can come in and buy with credit money, presents for their family if they are approved clients of the Metrocrest. And so, every year now, and I have lost track of how many years we've been doing it. But I think at least 15. We go out and we buy not the American Girl dolls, because those are very expensive, but the American Girl type dolls, and we buy 50 brand new dolls, and then we...


Jan 08:28

Wait wait, wait. Fifty? Five Zero?


Rose 08:31

Five Zero. Fifty.


Jan 08:32

Wow, okay.


Rose 08:34

And then we make a minimum of five complete head to toe outfits for each doll. And we package them, we've got a whole assembly line of packaging and, and we put that all together. And we donate that to the Metrocrest, so that... the group's concept is we want those young women who know what's going on in their families, right? Children are not left in the dark about what's going on. They know when their families are in trouble. But we want those young women to be able to go back to school after the Christmas break and know that they truly got an amazing present for Christmas. They've got something that they will love and cherish, and they have bragging rights. So, we call these little dolls our ambassadors. And so, we commission these little dolls to go out and spread love. And it's a shame we can only do 50 a year but we do what we can to really make sure these are amazing, fabulous outfits. And these dolls are in party dresses, they have quilts, they've got ponchos and crocheted hats. We make probably 500 pairs of shoes every year. I'm telling you we go crazy over these dolls, but they are just precious.


Jan 09:58

Oh my gosh, that sounds amazing. And so I'm guessing that because of the 18-inch doll and the doll clothes and the patterns that you may have stumbled across an organization called Liberty Jane.


Rose 10:16

That's exactly right. So I found out about Liberty Jane. I found out about the work that Jason and Cinnamon do. And that led us straight away to the Sew Powerful purses. It's an amazing story. And it's another way to, you know, to participate. It's another mission project. And so our doll project led us directly to Sew Powerful purses.


Jan 10:42

Well, we're going to take a break right now and we're going to explore in more detail what you've done with Sew Powerful and some of the other work that you continue to do even during the time of COVID. So, listeners, please stay tuned and Rose will give us more details about the Texas PinPals.


Jan 11:03

Have you gotten the second edition of the "We Are Sew Powerful" book? This updated version of the original bestseller, 4.9 out of five stars by the way, is again authored by Sew Powerful co-founders, Jason and Cinnamon Miles. It is available on Amazon in paperback or for your Kindle reader. This latest edition is packed full of moving stories about how Sew Powerful came to be, the volunteers who make it happen. And the way this small movement has grown into a global mission to break the cycle of poverty through education and the dignity of work. And don't forget when you place your order, if you use and designate Sew Powerful as your preferred charity, Amazon will donate a portion of your purchase right back to Sew Powerful. And now back to our podcast.


Jan 12:06

Welcome back. We've been speaking with Rose Turner, the founder of the Texas PinPals, an organization based in the North Dallas, Texas area. It is a charity and they serve charities by sewing doll clothes for 50 dolls that they donate every year so that those who are less fortunate have an opportunity to have a really amazing Christmas gift. But as part of their work, they did come across Liberty Jane and are now sort of, I guess you would say hooked into Sew Powerful. Do you remember how did the group decide to make Sew Powerful purses?


Rose 12:49

So our neighborhood group, which is the PinPals, we're working on the dolls, but we were also part of the larger American Sewing Guild chapter here in Dallas Fort Worth. And so, I served on the board for the American Sewing Guild for many, many, many years, more than 20 years. But my favorite job was to be the person that organized the charity sew. And so, once we found out about the Sew Powerful purses, and then we found out that we could have somebody from Houston come up and talk to us, we created an event for the Dallas Fort Worth chapter so that we could bring people from all over the area in and go through the project and sew and make purchases and see the video and understand the importance of the Sew Powerful project. And that's essentially how we kind of spread it to the larger group. There were one or two of us that had already tried to make a purse off of the pattern. But it wasn't until Shirley came and really explained the incredible importance of the project that we were able to get everybody behind it.


Jan 13:57

And you're talking about Shirley Utz.


Rose 13:59

I am, yes.


Jan 14:00

From Houston, who is one of our premier volunteers at Sew Powerful. So, Shirley came and talked to a big group. How many people were at that meeting?


Rose 14:10

I would say probably 30.


Jan 14:13

Uh huh. All right. And so is that the year that the Texas PinPals adopted Sew Powerful as one of their charities for the year?


Rose 14:21

We were, we were a large part of that group of 30. And so, we were already committed to making as many as we could that year on top of the dolls. And so, I don't remember now how many we made, but we probably made 50 or so that year. And then the next year, because that was this was toward the end like maybe September, October time frame. And every year in January is when we decide what our projects are going to be for the following year. So, we did I think, like I said about 50 that first year, and then the next year, we adopted the Sew Powerful purse as one of our projects for the entire year.


Jan 15:03

Okay, and then we're gonna get into what you did with the pattern in a moment but tell us how you divided up the work among the group to make so many purses.


Rose 15:14

So we have ladies that are world class experts. And we have ladies that do more talking about sewing than they ever actually get behind the sewing machine. And so...


Jan 15:25

You're gonna have some explaining to do when they listen to this podcast.


Rose 15:31

I know, we have, you know, everybody has different requirements, you know, the time limits. And so, we have some ladies that can give us an hour, but they still want to be useful. So, I try hard to come up with ways to divide the workload up to everybody, everyone can participate. Even, we have what we call junior members. And if all they can do is stack and count, then that becomes an important part of the afternoon. And so, it is important, I think, for all groups to really figure out ways to use all of your members, right? Don't, don't let people feel like they're not useful because they are useful, they can help. Maybe not in the same way you're helping but you they can help. And so that's what we always do, we try to break the jobs down so that everyone participates.


Jan 16:22

And so because you were doing this as a group and sort of a divide and conquer type effort, explain what you did with the pattern pieces, because some of the pattern pieces that show up in the booklet are used for interfacing, lining, or the purse fabric itself, the outer fabric. And so we know that that can be confusing, especially if you're a beginning purse maker. So Rose, what did you do to help your group?


Rose 16:50

So, what I did is I took the pattern, and I duplicated the pattern pieces and relabeled them. So, I have a stack that's just for the interfacing, a stack that is just for the lining stack, that's just for the outer fabric. And I write on each pattern piece how many pieces I need: four outer fabrics, you know, over here in the lining pile two of this one. And then the ladies can then they can have a table that's just doing interfacing. A table that is just doing lining. A table that is just pressing and getting them in order. And then somebody else can put them back in a stack that is going to be a purse. And so, you can organize that way so the ladies that are doing the sewing, they're not trying to take a pattern piece off of here, remember what that one was, put it over here on a lining fabric, getting too many linings not enough outer fabrics. In a group setting, that works a lot better to have all of these separate pattern pieces labeled appropriately. And then everyone can work on their thing, and you can get a lot more accomplished.


Jan 17:58

Wow, that sounds like a great tip. So, listeners, if you're organizing a sewing event, listen to what Rose did and sort of divide up the work and make duplicates I guess of some of those pattern pieces and, and make sure that they're clearly marked. So that's fantastic.


Jan 18:17

In your story, you say that one charity project led to the next which I presume you mean the work that you're doing with the dolls led to Sew Powerful. Can you share with our listeners? What is important to you about Sew Powerful? And how does that sort of mesh with what you're doing with the Texas PinPals in terms of your objectives? That's an essay question. Not multiple choice. That was an essay question. Yeah.


Rose 18:51

At our, our annual organizational meeting, we talk about what is important to us that the PinPals focus on every year. And sometimes it might be fitting or just sewing techniques. But there's always an abundance of ideas on what we can do for, to do charity work. Okay. And these women that are my best friends, they are amazing in the kind of projects and the kind of outreach that they want to tackle. And so we talk about it, we figure out who's the most passionate about, it who's going to lead that charge. And then we organize ourselves accordingly the rest of the year so we can take on those projects.


Rose 19:34

Sew Powerful purses really spoke to us because we know how important it is that these young women have a chance to stay in school. And we know how important it is that these older women and mothers have a job and the combination of the two really moved us - many of us are still full-time working women and know the value - know how important it is to be useful as a provider for your family. And Sew Powerful purse aspect of both helping teach and train the young women, provide a better education for them. And then also, slightly older and older women have a purpose and an employment. Both of those functions really, really spoke to all of us.


Jan 20:23

Mm hmm. And Rose, are you working?


Rose 20:28

I work. Yes, I work full time.


Jan 20:30

And what kind of work do you do?


Rose 20:32

I'm a CPA and have been forever. I mostly go into companies that are in trouble in one way or another. Either their business is not surviving, or they've got major system problems or something usually of pretty serious nature. And I go in and help them figure out what that is and turn them around.


Jan 20:53

Well, and do you see any similarities between the talent that you bring to your job and the talent you bring to the Texas PinPals?


Rose 21:03

There is a little bit of that. Sometimes the ladies call me the foreman, because I set pretty lofty goals, but it's the same thing with work. My job is essentially to teach and train and organize and encourage. I hope to give them a way out of their problems and empower them to be able to do 90% of the work themselves to get them to that next place. And hopefully, I do the same thing with the ladies. Like I say, they're pretty amazing on their own. They don't really need me at all anymore. But I like to be involved in in the charity work that we do so.


Jan 21:43

Well. Everything you've done sounds so fascinating. And I love the thought of your charity being built on serving others, and that you help the Metrocrest Social Services with their Christmas store. That just sounds so kind.


Jan 21:59

Rose, thank you so very much for your time. It's been a pleasure to chat with you. I always see your nice, nice comments on Facebook. And now it's fantastic to put a name with a face, but more importantly, to see your heart. And we really appreciate your time today. And I know our listeners are going to really love getting to know you.


Rose 22:23

Well, thank you very much. I would not be able to do anything at all without my amazing, amazing group of women. Every one of them is strong and talented in their own right. And we do it all together because it brings us so much joy and happiness. So, thank you very much, Jan, I appreciate it.


Jan 22:42

Well, thank you. We'll talk to you soon.


Rose 22:44



Jan 22:45

See you on Facebook.


Rose 22:47



Jan 22:47



Jan 22:49

If what you've heard today inspires you to want to make a difference. I urge you to explore the Sew Powerful website at That's SEW POWERFUL dot ORG. The website has great information about the organization. It's where you can download the free purse patterns or even make a donation. We hope you will join us again next week when we bring you another Sew Powerful story. Thanks for listening. Now, go out and have a Sew Powerful day.


Jan Cancila has been making purses for Sew Powerful since 2014. She serves the organization as Director, Global Volunteerism, the Area Manager for Shows and Events-Mid/South USA and as the Houston Regional Coordinator. She was a public speaking major at Hanover College and holds an MBA from Our Lady of the Lake University. Jan had a 25-year career with The Coca-Cola Company before owning and operating a linen and party rental business in Houston. She is married with two grown sons, a lovely daughter-in-law and two remarkable granddaughters. Jan’s published work includes more than 100 online articles for Reach Jan with comments or suggestions at