91-year-old Iris Hagen of Cedar Falls spends a lot of time in one specific room of her house, her sewing area. Hagen has a lot of sewing experience.
She previously worked 17 years at a fabric shop, she volunteered in a sewing class at Peet Junior High in Cedar Falls and she's made numerous quilts and dresses.
The dresses Iris Hagen makes these days are pillowcase dresses for little girls at an orphanage in Haiti.
"I decided one of the happiest things I can do is make something for somebody that they will enjoy," said Iris Hagen.
Hagen started sewing the pillowcase dresses about a year and a half ago. Last spring, she sent 52 dresses to Haiti.
She hopes to send more than 60 dresses this coming April with a group of people going to Haiti from Orchard Hill Church in Cedar Falls.
"It's so much fun, I just can't stop," said Hagen.
Iris Hagen stores her finished dresses in the basement of her long-time church, St. Paul Lutheran in Cedar Falls.
The great-grandmother tries to sew two to three dresses each week from donated pillowcases. It takes about two hours to make one dress.
"I'm slightly addicted to it. If I have two hours, I think I can make another one," she said.
In addition to dresses, Hagen sews schoolbags. Her church fills the bags with supplies to be sent overseas to more than 26 countries by Lutheran World Relief.
Beside sewing, Hagen also likes to stay active in other ways. For her 90th birthday she bought herself an organ, and she takes weekly lessons. She's also participated in water aerobics for 30 years.
"People ask how I managed to grow so old. I tell them get rid of stress," said Iris Hagen.
Hagen reduces her stress by doing what she loves, sewing.
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