Sewing since 12 – Dressmaker uses special skill to school herself, nine children

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Miss Bev has sewn a monumental career out of a childhood pastime – dressmaking.

She told The Beacon that she was 12 years old when she started using needles, fabrics and threat to earn money to send herself to school.

She, years later, used her self-taught skills to fund the schooling of her nine children.

“Every time I mek clothes, everybody admire them,” said the dressmaker extraordinaire, whose real name is Ruby Richards Johnson.

She recalled that her love for fashion was fashioned at home where she, as a child, would help her mother build things from fabric.

“My mother didn’t understand much – only to stitch up something. I tried to advance her system because she couldn’t use inch measure and I started to use it,” Miss Bev explained.

“I continued on that basis until I left school and didn’t have anywhere to go. I went out and was doing babysitting, and everywhere I go I started to build something for somebody and they always admire it…”

Miss Bev, who resides in the Linstead area of St. Catherine, attributed her business longevity to the high quality of her work.

On January 20, she was awarded by one of her clients – Success Academy of Vocational Studies, located in Linstead.

The school’s principal, Patricia Anderson, told the audience that, in 2005 – shortly after the institution opened its doors, she saw a student attired in a well designed uniform.

When she enquired about the designer, the student disclosed that the uniform was built by Miss Bev. The principal stated that she went in search of Miss Bev, whose quality work has kept the school going back to her year after year.

“This designer lady; you only want to give her a piece of material; that’s it,” the principal declared while announcing the award. “Miss Bev has been doing a very good job,” she further said.

Miss Bev, who also sews wedding gowns, thinks her work will keep her in businesses much longer.

She is not scared of new technologies; neither is she scared of globalization and internationally acclaimed fashion trends.

“Most times when I put out my styles or whatever, it’s like I start the trend, and so people always look to see what I am coming with,” Miss Bev said.

She told The Beacon that she does not regret becoming a dressmaker, adding that she would advise young women to enter the profession. “It is better when you can do something to help yourself,” she declared.


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