Lillian Weber makes a beautiful basic peasant dress. She sends them to little girls through the Christian outreach Little Dresses For Africa (LDFA). I posted earlier on Why 99-Year-Old Lillian Weber Is Not Retired.
Lillian Weber’s goal was to make her 1,000th dress by her 100th birthday. On Thursday, March 12, she accomplished that goal, well before her own birthday deadline in early May.
So, in honor of Lillian Weber’s 100th birthday on May 6, 2015, I found a beautiful tutorial over at Once Upon A Sewing Machine for the basic peasant dress (before ruffles and appliques and pockets) just like Lillian makes (with shorter sleeves). Most beginning sewers can do this.
Due to all the interest, this pattern has been digitized and is now available for free. Sizes: 12/18 month, 2T/3T, and 4T. You can find the pattern HERE.
This style of dress requires two easy to cut pattern pieces. You’ll cut two of each piece on the fold. You can use contrasting fabric, so about a 1/2 yard of each.
Other Basic Peasant Dress Patterns and Tutorials
Infant Peasant Dress- Free Pattern and Tutorial -sized 0-3mo. (approx. 8-14lbs.)
Free girls’ downloadable peasant dress pattern for sizes 18 mo. through size 6.
Free Peasant Dress Pattern & Tutorial (printable pattern sizes 12 mo. to 8 years)
I love Lillian Weber in a million ways. You have to respect individuals who are purposeful and creative right into their latter years. I also love how focused and disciplined Lillian is about her work. I hope I can work productively until I’m her age, too! Super inspiring!
It is reported in Africa that girls wearing a new little dress are much less likely to be abducted, abused, or molested because the new little dress shows that someone cares about them.
Because of the widespread AIDS pandemic, little girls are often left to be the primary caregivers of their young siblings. It is hoped that in delivering dresses to these young girls, a seed will be planted in their hearts in the name of Jesus. Through their care, Little Dresses For Africa plants and waters the seeds, and God sends the harvest.
Some of Lillian’s dresses on the little girls
It’s more than just a dress! Although clothing is needed, these little dresses also give an opportunity to hold Bible classes, children’s camps, and informal teaching sessions to increase the understanding of nutrition, clean water, sanitation, and to promote good health and family skills. Many patients who suffer from AIDS are offered encouragement and hope.
Update: Lillian Weber died on the eve of her 101st birthday on May 5, 2016.
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Peasant dress on top found here.