By Ukee Washington

NORTH WALES, Pa. (CBS) — A Montgomery County woman is sending brotherly love around the world, using recycled fabrics and a lot of sewing skills.

“I have all the time in the world so I can just keep sewing,” Marilyn O’Donnell said.

READ MORE: Philadelphia's Fourth Of July Festivities Kick Off With Concert, Fireworks

After losing her husband about six years ago, O’Donnell found her purpose right here, behind a sewing machine.

“I could play cards all day, I could play puzzles, I could watch television. But I’m doing something for somebody,” O’Donnell said.

This North Wales mother of eight and grandmother of 26 turns donated sheets, pillowcases, and curtains into dresses — and gives them away. She was inspired to start after one of her daughters went on a volunteer trip to Haiti.

“She says, ‘Mom, you’ve never seen anything so poor in your life,'” O’Donnell said.

So she put out the word to friends: give her old fabric.

“Old drapes, I’ll take ’em all apart. Any sheets that have torn at the bottom, I can go around the sides and use the sides. Fitted sheets, I’ll take and cut all the elastic off,” O’Donnell said.

READ MORE: 2022 Wawa Welcome America Festival Guide: Road Closures, Public Transportation Information

Each dress takes about five-and-a-half hours to make, including finishing touches like flowers.

“Somebody gave me a bunch of these and I just love ’em,” O’Donnell said. “I make sure that every button is a little different or every trim is a little different, just so that they all feel that it’s theirs.”

O’Donnell has donated at least 2,600 dresses. Church groups and even Marilyn’s own grandsons take dresses to places like Haiti, Nicaragua, and Puerto Rico to give to young girls.

“Now I’m looking for someone who happens to go over to someplace that could take them or anybody local that could use them, because I don’t want to stop making them,” O’Donnell said.

Marilyn will turn 87 in February. She wants seniors to know they are never too old to do something for others.

“I’ll do it till the day I die now,” O’Donnell said.

Marilyn has 500 more dresses ready to go. She hopes to find someone to take them to a country in need.

MORE NEWS: CBS3 SummerFest: Catch The Ocean Breeze Without Sitting On Sand With Atlantic City Cruises

To contact her, email

Ukee Washington