Dressmaker, Age 100, Sews A Dress A Day For African Children

Posted by GreaterGoodness

More than 1,000 little girls in Africa have pretty new dresses to wear because of Lillian Weber. The Iowa native, who recently turned 100 years old, has been sewing one dress per day for several years and set herself a goal of completing 1,000 dresses by her 100th birthday. Little Dresses for Africa is a non-profit organization based in Michigan. When a group of women took a mission trip to Malawi, they noticed the lack of suitable clothing and decided to sponsor a pillowcase dress project. Even beginning sewers can make a pillowcase dress because the hem and sides are already finished. The group offers patterns that can be used to turn pillowcases into sundresses perfect for the African climate.

Weber has been sewing since she was nine years old.

facebook.com/littledressesfor africa

facebook.com/littledressesfor africa


In 2011, she joined a group of women in her senior living complex that were working on the dresses. Soon, making a daily dress became part of Weber’s routine. She personalizes each dress with stitching or embroidery; otherwise, she could make two per day. Weber beat her goal and completed 1,051 dresses by the time she turned 100.

Little Dresses for Africa’s founder and director, Rachel O’Neill, told Fox News the dresses are more than just clothing — they actually save lives. With high rates of parental death, little girls are often left in the care of siblings. “When a little girl is wearing a new dress they’re much less likely to be messed with because someone knows they’re being taken care of,” said O’Neill.

facebook.com/littledressesfor africa

facebook.com/littledressesfor africa

To honor Weber’s contributions, O’Neill traveled to Weber’s home for the 100th birthday celebration and presented her with a plaque commemorating her achievement. Weber told her local television station that she doesn’t plan to quit sewing just because she reached her goal. Little Dresses for Africa has delivered more than three million dresses to children in African orphanages, villages and churches since it began in 2008. Read about other great ways to help women around the world.

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