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Ill. woman makes dresses for Honduras

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012 11:56 a.m. CDT
In this Nov. 14, 2012, photo, Marilyn Gibbs sorts through some of the latest dresses at her home in Freeport that she has made to send to Honduras on a mission trip in January. Last year, Gibbs made 67 dresses, which were sent to orphanages in Africa. (AP Photo/The Journal-Standard, Joe Tamborello)

FREEPORT (AP) — Each day when Marilyn Gibbs of Freeport has some spare time, she can be found in the basement of her home in what she calls "my cave." The cave is actually the place Gibbs sews, and these days she has been spending a lot of time sewing.

Gibbs is making dresses that will be taken to Honduras on a mission trip in January. These simple, but ornate, dresses are given to children in orphanages. It was last year when Gibbs sent 67 dresses to Africa on a mission trip taken by Amanda Cummins of Cedarville. Cummins made that mission trip through an organization at her college. The local church that assists with sending these dresses is Cedarville Emmanuel Church.

Gibbs is humble about her charitable contribution to help young girls have a pretty dress. She said getting involved in making the dresses makes her smile. She takes her sewing seriously. She adds special details to each dress she makes.

"I got involved doing this by reading an article in The Journal-Standard," Gibbs said. "I like to sew, and I figured I had the time, so now this is what I do in my spare time."

Mission to Help

Gibbs is now attaining her personal best. She set a goal this year to make 100 dresses. She has 19 to go, but said with the extra material she still has, she will surpass her goal.

Gibbs said the pattern for the dresses is called a Pillow Dress. It is a Simplicity pattern she got from the website www.littledressesforafrica.org. While the pattern is used to make dresses from pillow cases, Gibbs said the average pillow case is not enough material to make dresses of a larger size. Gibbs said she has modified the pattern to make dresses of all sizes. She also likes to detail each dress.

"The patterns don't have details to these dresses, but I do that on my own," Gibbs said. "I add ribbons and buttons to each dress."

Gibbs said by making these dresses, she knows it will put a smile on the faces of the young girls who will get to wear them. She said when she gets in the flow of her creations, she can make two dresses in an hour.

"This is just a past-time for me and it makes me feel good," she said. "I don't like to send money, because I never know if people actually get it, but with these dresses, I know they go to the children."

Dresses to Honduras

Terri Cummins is one of the women who will make sure the dresses Gibbs is making will be delivered. Terri said the dresses will be taken to Honduras in January. She said Gibbs makes a difference with her contribution.

"We have people who donate the material to Marilyn and we get it to her — she does a wonderful job," Terri said. "What I like is how Marilyn embellishes the designs — I know the girls will love them."

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