HOLMEN, Wis. -- A woman is being called a fairy godmother in her town of Holmen, Wisconsin.
Judy Wolff’s farmhouse is stuffed with sparkle and lace, helping to make dress dreams come true.
"This is just, not even a fourth of what I have," Wolff told WXOW.
She’s a self-taught, dry-cleaning whiz and seamstress, creating magical prom and wedding gowns to donate or offer at a fraction of the price.
"It makes them happy! One little girl goes, 'I've never been a princess before!' She was twirling around and just … That's the thanks I get. I love it,” Wolff said.
Any money paid for the gowns goes right back into the business, paying for storage or the purchase of second-hand gowns for Wolff to restore.
She started her work after seeing the possibility of new life for her daughter’s discarded formal dresses.
"There's not a dress that you can't use. If it's got something wrong with it you can tear it apart and make it into something else,” Wolff said.
That spirit of ingenuity and repurposing is a lesson she tucks between the tulle and satin, and passes along to the recipients of the dresses.
"And I say it right to them. ‘All I ask is that you pay it forward. Give the dress to someone else when you're done with it,’” Wolff explained.
Wolff wants them to learn to give back to their community. She spends time with some of them teaching them to sew tiny gowns for stillborn or premature babies that don’t survive.
Her granddaughter was stillborn, and Wolff says she was motivated to create tiny gowns after not having options at the time of the burial.
"And when I saw that poor little girl, with this diaper three times bigger than her, laying in there wrapped in a blanket -- I couldn't believe it."
Wolff has a history of volunteering. She is currently on permanent disability because of the health effects of her time volunteering at Ground Zero after 9/11.
"I still don't regret going, I mean, I look at all the people that I was able to help. Even though I'm sick. That there were a lot of people I could help while I was there,” Wolff recalled.
To date, she has given away about 500 dresses.