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Centenarian Lillian Weber still making a dress per day for kids

By - May 29, 2015
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Reaching the age of 100 is a major life milestone, but Lillian Weber who lives in a farmhouse in Bettendorf, Iowa, USA is very modest about it indeed. She is more focussed on her efforts of having spent every day over the last three-and-a-half years in making one dress per day for a children’s charity that sends clothes for young kids based in Africa. She had given herself a target of making 1000 dresses by 100 years old, and just a month before her birthday this month she exceeded her goal and is still continuing to make more dresses.


Lillian has been making simple dresses with her own creative touches for the not-for-profit group called “Little Dresses for Africa” based in Michigan, USA.

It was on Thursday, March 12, 2015 that she accomplished the 1000 by 100 goal, well before her self-set deadline.



Lillian’s daughters say their mother works the dress making into her daily routine, and she does it just because she wants to help the little girls who will wear them. Making dresses helps the girls, but her work also poses as a message to the rest of us.

Her daughter, Linda Purcell said:

“It’s not good enough that she makes the dresses; she has to put something on the front to make it look special, to give it her mark.”

Speaking about the process of creating, Lillian said:

“Nine times out of ten, they always say, “Well old people don’t do anything, but I want to show that they do. I probably could have even made 2 dresses per day, but I managed to do at least one which I am happy with.” Lillian said.

And now that she has exceeded 1000 dresses by 100, she isn’t about to stop just yet either:

“I told myself that as soon as I get this one done, I’ll probably go to the next one so maybe I should put a target on the next 1000 now too!” she said.

Lillian with Rachel from 'Little Dresses for Africa project'

Lillian with Rachel from ‘Little Dresses for Africa project’

Since Lillian has been helping make dresses for the organization, the founder, Rachel O’Neill, said a lot of positive attention has been brought to the group, which also helps build schools and dig wells for drinking water.

Rachel flew out to be with Lillian on her 100th birthday this month and they all had a wonderful day of celebration with family and friends.



A very happy birthday to Lillian… and a real inspiration for us all to be as proactive as possible with the skills and time we may be able to spare for others in need, wherever we may be based in the world!



Rachel is now in Malawi in Africa where she reached just this week to deliver a batch of dresses herself and we’ll be sharing the impact the project is having in the region from the efforts of Lillian and all the dress makers involved with the project.

Little Dresses for Africa


Little Dresses for Africa, founded in 2008, has received more than 2.5 million dresses from all 50 states, plus the U.K., Ireland, Canada, Mexico and Australia, according to the Michigan-based organization’s website.

The nonprofit has distributed dresses to orphanages, churches, and schools in 47 countries throughout Africa.

Find out more and get involved via the charity website:

e: [email protected]