Ovation: Lillian Weber Sews Little Dresses For Africa.
I can’t sew to save my life. Being an arts-and-crafts sort of person, I’ve learned to piece together different projects over the years using a needle and thread and even, to a small extent, a simple sewing machine but I will never possess the qualifications to compete on Project Runway.
I learned simple, basic sewing skills from my mother, a wonderfully creative woman who often found herself with more adventures in her day than hours in which to complete them. When we needed a button sewn back onto a shirt, she would lovingly replace it using whatever thread remained in her favorite needle from the last time she had mended something. Yes, there were times when white buttons were sewn back on to blue shirts with red thread but it was better than not having a button and she did it with so much love and good humor that we really didn’t care.
I’m confident that neither I nor my mother could make a dress from scratch like Lillian Weber.
Throughout the last few years, Lillian has made more than 840 dresses for a Christian nonprofit organization called Little Dresses for Africa that distributes clothes to some of the world’s most vulnerable children in orphanages, churches and schools in Africa. She hopes to cross the 1,000 dress mark before long.
Lillian Weber is ninety-nine years old and reportedly starts work on a new dress every single morning and, after a break in the middle of the day, finishes the dress in the afternoon. Even though she makes the dresses quickly, she tries to make each one different and special.
“It is just what I like to do.” – Lillian Weber.
Weber has been sewing dressing for Little Dresses for Africa since 2011 when she and a group of other seniors decided to work together to support the organization. One lady in the group had seen a documentary about the charity, which has collected more than 2.5 million dresses and distributed them to forty-seven countries in Africa and other countries, and thought it would be a great way to help the children so far away from their hometown in Iowa.
Although Weber will celebrate her 100th birthday next May, she has no intention of slowing down saying she will not quit sewing if she gets to that thousandth dress. She’ll keep on sewing.
If she sews those dresses with half as much love as my mother sewed on our little buttons, I think those little girls will feel extra special wearing their new dresses.
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