Sewing in Bend, Oregon

Marilyn Will, 74 and Helen Lilley, 89, sew for the children

Marilyn Will, 74 and Helen Lilley, 89, sew for the children

Marilyn Will, 74, left, shows Helen Lilley, 89, how to put the finishing touches on a child’s dress during a meeting of the Little Dresses for Africa group at Touchmark Retirement on Tuesday.
Photos by Andy Tullis / The Bulletin

Little dresses, big contribution

Though many of them have not sewn for years, members of the Little Dresses for Africa group have sewn more than 20 dresses to be sent to Africa. Most of the seamstresses are retirees living at Touchmark Retirement in Bend. The group has met regularly in the center’s arts and crafts room. Each dress is made with less than a yard of material, and some of the residents have gotten creative about where that material comes from. Jean Dillard, 91, wrote in an e-mail that she used two table runners that her daughter had embroidered to make one dress. “I made the cutest little dress for a 3-year-old to wear in Africa that you ever have seen,” Dillard wrote. The group plans to send its dresses to a fabric store in Wisconsin that will forward them on to Africa.

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