Today's Date

Click here to listen to Manuel, a Hawaiian song. Choose Windows Media Player.

My bioligical dad brought me a hand crank sewing machine back from WWII. The sewing machine was made in Germany and did a simple chain stitch but it served its' purpose. At age 5, I made my own doll clothes. My grandmother was a seamstress. I paid careful attention to how she made my aunt's formals and my dresses. She would hold paper up to my body, used a pencil and sometimes just pins to outline my body. Then she would use the pattern she created and cut out the fabric. She made dresses, shirts, shorts, formals, and did alterations. Note: when I say costumes, it is clothing for the entire family. I would lay my dolls down on paper, trace their outline to create a pattern. Then I would cut out the material, and make the doll clothes on the small chain stitch sewing machine. Today, that sewing machine is a collector's item. I wish I still had it. For my twelfth birthday, I received a portable electric sewing machine and I have been making my own clothes ever since. During my senior year I remember making a dress before bedtime and wearing it to school the next day. After graduating from high school, I married a military man. Observing the way a professional military uniform place altered one pair of my husband's kakhi's, I determined I could do a better job. They merely took the shirts in at the side seams without cutting away any fabric. It was obvious the uniforms had been altered. My opinion of alterations is that you should not be able to tell the garment has been altered. It should look new. Hence, I have been doing alterations since age 18. Hmm-m-m, that gives me how many years of experience? As of December 12, 2016 I am now 76 years of age, do the math. I tried working for a well known formal wear business. They liked my sewing skills and were going to teach me how to make tuxedos. I quit because the pay was not enough. However, when I find the picture I will upload a newspaper article that has me wearing the Bi-Centenial costume and holding up a western suit I made for my son. For clown costumes, I have a personality test you can take to determine the type clown character that best suits your personality. Please note that I am retired; however, I will offer consultation for you if you wish.

photo of roaring twenties shimmy dresses


Size22 shimmy dresses made for The Magic
Dragon clown supplies, and costume shop
in Irving, Texas. They were made of
washable satin and and 7" long fringe.
The headpieces were made with feathers
and sequins. The draw string purses were
made from the left over scraps of satin.
Shimmy dresses are normally only available
in sizes 8-12; however, larger women do
request this type costume. There is 
seven yards of fringe on each dress.

This Marie Antoinette costume was for the Bi-Centenial celebration when I lived in Carthage, Texas. I won a blue ribbon at the Louisiana State Fair in Shreveport, La. The entire costume was handmade, not one stitch was done on the sewing machine. The separate bodice was brocade velvet. The skirts and the rest were satins and lace. The bodice back fastened with tiny buttons I hand covered. The lace ruffles were hand pleated and sewn on as I made each pleat. I used left over brocade velvet to cover the shoes. I used this costume and a western outfit I made my son as visual aids for a report I gave in American History in college. The outfit was a suit coat, slacks, a shirt, and a bolo tie. My teacher asked if the costume fit me. I tried it on and it did. He had my picture taken for the college newspaper along with me holding the western outfit. Here the costume is on display in a store window at Birdwell's Dept. in Carthage, TX. Years later I sold this costume to The Magic Dragon Costume Shop and many times wish I still had it.

photo of Marie Antoinette type costume

photo of Paul Revere and the Raiders jacket


This costume jacket was designed to
resemble that of the rock group,
Paul Revere and the Raiders.
I had to create the pattern by
altering and combining two patterns.
It is a cutaway in the front and
tails in the back. I made the frogs
and sleeve stripes from scratch.
The guy in the picture is Mark when 
he and his brother, Mike, had the 
band known as The Shades in
Arlington, Texas.

This sweat suit was made in the soccer team colors, blue and yellow. The boy in the photo is Joey in Fort Worth, Texas.

photo of Joey in blue and yellow sweat suit

photo of me in swimsuit


This blue swim suit was an Oleg Casini
one piece bikini. My mother said she
guessed it covered enough. Yes, I made
this too and the woman in the photo
is me in my younger days as a divorcee,
pre widow-hood and pre injuries.

This summer formal was a long sun dress with spaghetti straps, three skirts; the underskirt, two sheer skirts one of which was a solid color and the other a floral print. The overblouse had 3/4 length sleeves and a sash that wrapped around the waist twice. The dress had hand rolled hems and french seams. The woman in the photo is me when I used to sing at weddings. This was in Longview, Texas where I sang at a co-worker's daughter's wedding.

photo of me in a summer formal

photo of me in a middle eastern dance costume


Belly Dancing Costume
This costume was two skirts, one solid aqua
satin and the other a floral print silk saree.
The harem pants were made of fushia peach skin.
The belly bra was covered with turquoise
sequins and trimmed with white sequins.
There were two veils, one solid fushia,
the other a black and gold metallic sheer
print. The vest was a gold colored heavy
cotton and polyester with gold sequin
trim. And yes, the dancer is me.

photo of me in a middle eastern dance costume


This is the same belly dance costume. I performed
at a singles April Fool Costume party. When the 
host said it was a costume party I told him I
might wear my belly dancing costume. He asked
if I could do the dance and I told him yes, I
was a dancer in Michigan. He then asked if I
would dance at the party and I said yes. The 
first dance was a veil dance without the zils.
Then a finger zils dance followed by a basket
dance and I think I did a cane dance. One guy
tried to balance the basket and could not.
There is a head piece worn that the basket
sits on top of. This was fun. And this picture
was funny. That stuffed penquin was looking 
my way. Oh to bend backwards like that today.
This was April 1992 in Fort Worth, Texas.
So this was post car wreck injuries. I
did make this costume. When I changed out'
of costume and people picked it up they could
not believe the weight. With all the pieces
yes it was heavy.

I did the upholstery on the amusement rides at the Fort Worth Stockyards in the Stockyard Station area. Plus, I also came in third in National ( MOTTA ) antique car upholstery competition. Click here to see the rides and the trophy. You can be inovative. I took an aunt's black lace dress size 16 and made a size 8 roaring 20s dress. I took the short sleeves off and made cloche type hats by sewing them together. Flowers are easy to make with left over fabrics and ribbons. I used scrap fabric from the dresses to make draw string purses and the headbands. A velvet dress I bought at a thrift store I shortened, took the long sleeves off, made slits on the side seams to just above my knees and connected the slits with strips made from the scraps from shortening the dress. That was another roaring twenties dress. A feather from a tiny stuffed toy peacock purchased at a garage sale was used to make a head band using beaded trim. This dress was worn for a performance at Maple Hill Mall in Kalamazoo, Michigan. An elderly gentleman friend of mine was retired from Gibson Guitar and had a studio in his home. He recorded music using his guitars and an organ. At the performances we did he played his steel guitar and used the recorded music for the accompaniment music. A neighbor was given a size 48 mens's 3 piece suit. He did not have funds to have it altered which most seamstresses would not have tackled but I did. He had been our of work for over 6 months. I resized the jacket, the slacks and the vest down to a size 42 and charged him $5.00 to save his pride.

The music: "Manuela" recorded and sequenced by Kalani Nishimura

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