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Monday, December 17, 2012

So, Sew, So

I made my first outfit when I was nine or ten. It was a simple pattern; shorts and a matching top. I learned how to sew in a Girl Scout class and soon made many of my own clothes; a tradition that continued well into adulthood. 
First outfit

I liked having outfits that were unique. I also found; because of my size and shape, I had trouble finding clothing that fit. I was forever altering skirts and pants to fit my very tiny waist. Even when I worked at Disney World, which had the largest inventory of uniforms in the world, my skirts had to be altered to fit. Mostly I made clothes for myself but I did make a blouse for my Mom.
Blouse for Mom

As I grew older, my shape evened out somewhat, though I still have trouble finding pants and skirts that fit. I loved making evening clothes; sparkly dresses, silky blouses, wild print skirts. It was not uncommon for me to drop my first husband off at work (he worked in a nightclub as a deejay) at 8 pm, stop at the fabric store on the way home, make myself an outfit and be back out at the nightclub at 11 pm wearing it. After his death, I went back to work in an office and switched from making evening wear to business attire.

My Bridesmaids dresses
When I met and later married my 
Wonderful Husband, I made my Bridesmaid's dresses and a matching one for myself. No hideous dresses for my girls; I wanted them to be able to wear their gowns for other occasions and they did! I stopped sewing about seven years ago; my manual dexterity had deteriorated to the point that I couldn't even thread the needle. I almost sold my machine, but couldn't bring myself to do it. It was an expensive machine and I made weekly payments on it when I was just 19, so I covered it up and put it in a closet.

Look alike dolls
After my Parkinson's diagnosis and medications that gave me some relief, I dug the machine out again. I couldn't do the really fancy stuff I used to. Most of my clothing these days is designed to be easy on and off. I did manage to make look-a-like dolls for our 23rd wedding anniversary and a basic quilt for our bed, but other than to shorten pants, my creating clothing days were over, until this summer.

My shirts before project
I had a closet full of shirts that I loved, but could no longer wear because I couldn't do the buttons. So, I started a project. I was going to cut off the excess and make all these blouses tie in front style. In my old sewing days, this would have been an afternoon project. Instead, it took three months, but I finally finished them. I took the extra fabric I cut off and made hatbands for my cowboy hat, so now I can match my hat to the shirt. It was fun to make something unique again and even more fun when people say "I love your top and matching hat." Here are a few of my creations.

Living with Parkinson's can be a challenge, but instead of focusing on what you can't do, or what you used to be able to do, focus on what you CAN do. Have a Happy Parkie Day!


  1. so inspiring that you focus on the things you CAN do!

  2. Bev,

    Do you feel like the DBS has increased your manual dexterity? Is sewing more possible now?


  3. Excellent story Bev. It may take us longer to do things now, and people, as well as us, have to get used to that. Due to my parkinson's and arthritis I have been sticking mainly to snap close shirts. My first wife, God Bless her, made her own clothes after she was confined to a wheelchair by cutting open skirts etc. and sewing in velcro. After she lost the use of her hands her mother did this for her but she always had a say in the designing, of course.
    Keep on going, Never give up!