Friday, June 22, 2018
News Roundup

Woman's sewing skills clothe needy children around the globe

Forty young Haitian girls pulled on dresses recently — some for the first time — thanks to the efforts of a New Port Richey amateur seamstress-humanitarian and the Brooksville Rotary Club.

Dee Ford, 72, a twice-retired food service director, was looking for an outlet with an altruistic bent that might draw on her interests in sewing or art.

"Every little girl should have a dress," Ford said.

So, she started sewing.

Knowing of world service efforts through her husband's affiliation with Rotary International, Ford was confident of finding routes to get her sewing results to young girls in need.

"I've made hundreds of dresses over maybe two years," Ford said. "I can whip up 10 dresses in a week, and I don't sew all day."

Through church mission trips as well as Rotary, Ford's hand-sewn frocks have dressed youngsters in Nicaragua, Guatemala, Brazil, Ethiopia and Haiti, the latter four or five times. She has begun to sew shorts for little boys, too.

Brooksville Rotarians surprised Ford recently when she was invited to talk to the club about the program she calls Dresses Without Borders.

"They brought me tons of materials and trims," the seamstress said.

One member bought her a slick and speedy rotary cutter.

"They were so generous. They brought me to tears," Ford said, noting that fabric is expensive.

Early on, Ford found a simple sundress pattern on the Internet, designed to be made from a pillowcase.

"I started with pillowcases. They're already hemmed," she noted.

When Ford exhausted a stack of cases donated by friends, she shopped thrift stores for fabric remnants and bedsheets, "gently used, so they're not thin."

A young girl's dress can be made from as little as three-fourths of a yard of fabric.

"I run like a factory," Ford explained. "I cut out maybe 10, then sew up the side seams, then cut the armholes. I love to use grosgrain ribbon for the ties, (but) it's expensive."

When ribbon isn't available for binding the sleeveless armholes, with enough length to tie in a bow at the shoulder, Ford utilizes double-folded seam tape or makes her own bias tape from fabric, an exacting chore.

"I don't get bored," Ford insists.

She calls on her artistic talents to "get creative." She'll add pockets — "kids love pockets" — or handmade appliques, lace, rickrack, buttons, other trims, "doing different things with them."

Ford is interested in having additional amateur seamstresses join her effort.

"You don't have to live next door to me to do this," she said.

A relative in her native Pittsburgh got together a group of do-gooders who sewed up 90 dresses in a day. A friend in Seattle sent her 10 handmade dresses.

Emphasizing that the machine stitching is neither complicated nor time-consuming, Ford speaks about the personal fulfillment of sewing children's wear.

"It's the humanitarian part that interests me," she said.

Ford said Dresses Without Borders is merely a name she gave her endeavor.

"I don't have an organization. I don't want money. It's just a hobby," she insists.

But, it's an endeavor that she acknowledges gives her a lot of self-satisfaction.

Beth Gray can be contacted at [email protected]

 
Comments
Rodney Page’s takeaways from Rays-Yankees

Rodney Page’s takeaways from Rays-Yankees

1. SS Willy Adames had a nice night, and there appear to be many more in his future. He had two hits, an RBI and an inning-ending leaping catch on a line drive by Didi Gregorius in the fifth.2. DH C.J. Cron needs to shake things up. Take a different ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Marc Anthony pays a visit to the Trop

Marc Anthony pays a visit to the Trop

By Allana BarefieldTimes Staff WriterST. PETERSBURG — Latin pop star Marc Anthony visited Tropicana Field on Friday to see his beloved Yankees play the Rays.Anthony spent nearly an hour on the field before the game as fans and players surrounde...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rays journal: Daniel Robertson’s return crowds up infield

Rays journal: Daniel Robertson’s return crowds up infield

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays reinstated INF Daniel Robertson from the 10-day disabled list (left hamstring strain). To make room, RHP Austin Pruitt was sent to Triple-A Durham."It's out of my mind. I don't think about (the hamstring) when I'm bend...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Brady Singer, Gators eliminated by Arkansas at CWS

Brady Singer, Gators eliminated by Arkansas at CWS

Times wiresOMAHA, Neb.  —Defending champion Florida failed to win a third straight elimination game, losing to Arkansas 5-2 Friday night and departing the College World Series.The Gators (49-21) had to win to force a rematch. The Razorback...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rays hang on for a 2-1 win over Yankees

Rays hang on for a 2-1 win over Yankees

ST. PETERSBURG – Many times this season the Rays' strategy of opening the game with a short reliever and using the bullpen to finish hasn't had much success.Friday wasn't one of those nights.A total of six pitchers held the Yankees and their va...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Rowdies fall to Penn FC

Rowdies fall to Penn FC

By Darek SharpTimes CorrespondentST. PETERSBURG — For the second time this season, Penn FC got two goals from a former Rowdie that led the way to a win over Tampa Bay.Lucky Mkosana doubled his season total Friday in a comeback 2-1 win before an...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Ronald Darby’s friend: Jameis Winston got into second Uber ride alone

Ronald Darby’s friend: Jameis Winston got into second Uber ride alone

New details emerged Friday night about the Uber ride in Arizona in March 2016 that led to Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston's three-game suspension to start the upcoming season, including the fact that Winston was in a car that night with a former Vand...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Tampa boy, 14, shot on bike, police asking for help

Tampa boy, 14, shot on bike, police asking for help

TAMPA — Police want to know who shot 14-year-old De’Nico Thomas after a night of playing video games.Thomas was at a friend’s home Wednesday night and walking home when Tampa police said he was shot, resulting in life-threatening injuries.As he faces...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Carlton: That snake-like thing living under your refrigerator? It’s a skink. Welcome to Florida

Carlton: That snake-like thing living under your refrigerator? It’s a skink. Welcome to Florida

At first I thought it was a snake.Because wouldn’t it be typically Florida to come home and find a snake poking its nose out from under your stove? Which wouldn’t be a problem or anything. I would just have to move out is all.But no, the creature tha...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Man, 78, proposes to newfound love at ‘senior’ prom in Riverview

Man, 78, proposes to newfound love at ‘senior’ prom in Riverview

RIVERVIEWJaime Rodriguez, 78, popped the question Friday morning but skipped the "getting down on one knee" part."If I get on my knee, you’d have to help me," he told the emcee a moment before asking Luz Rivera to marry him.Rivera, 69, smiled and sai...
Updated: 6 hours ago