Senior Ms. Five Hills provides protection for medical personnel

Special to Leader-Press

 

The sewing machine hums as the needle moves up and down, while Senior Ms. Five Hills Donna Higgins, an experienced seamstress, uses her time and talent to protect those in the medical field treating citizens with COVID-19.

“My daughter-in-law is a registered nurse in the intensive care unit. I talked to her about what she needed as I heard about shortages. She told me about need for masks and surgical caps for women like her with long hair and sent me patterns,” Higgins said. 

Higgins, also an avid quilter, used material she had on hand, some of which was more than 13 years old. 

“I have a big stash of fabric from quilting that was perfect to use for this,” Higgins said. “I’ve made five caps and 19 masks and still not out of fabric.”

Higgins uses a pattern measuring 15 inches by 9 inches for masks and a pattern that is 24 inches by 24 inches for caps. 

“I’ve dug deep for elastic and am almost out. I’m using bungee cords from lanyards. I’ve ordered shoe laces for future masks.”

While in the first grade in 1960, Higgins began learning from her mother how to sew. By third grade, Higgins was sewing her own clothes for school using her mother’s 1948 Singer. 

“I sewed because I loved it, not because I needed to,” Higgins said. “By sixth grade, I started sewing  for my mother, grannies, her friends that were teachers, and elderly church members. I didn’t charge much, but enjoyed taking my earnings to Dallas fashion outlets to shop for fabric and occasional for clothes.” 

By junior high school, Higgins was babysitting to earn money to buy her own sewing machine. 

“Daddy said he would match what I earned to get a sewing machine.  I was able to get the top of the line Bernina for $360. That was a lot of money in 1968,” Higgins said.

Higgins continued to sew through high school and college and won second place in a national sewing contest from Bernina in 1973.  

“I took home economics (in high school) and helped make my teacher’s wedding dress with another student for my grade,” Higgins said. “I’ve made men’s suits, shirts, wedding dresses for friends, and clothes for my children through the years. 

“I started sewing masks because of corona virus,” Higgins said. “Now, I am also sewing masks for a family that their newborn is in ICU, the elderly and first responders.”

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