Penny tells her story on YOUTUBE
DESIGNER BY NECESSITY
By: Rodney T. Hard
Out of necessity, on a tight budget with her Army husband’s mediocre salary, Penny taught herself to sew and make her own clothes at an early age. Jay and Jeannie, her two children, wore clothes designed and made by Penny.
Penny and children in 1975 wearing her own creations.
When Penny moved to the United States as a young mother of two, she moved from base to base with her husband Jim. She started designing and making wedding dresses, prom dresses, and other clothes for friends and acquaintances to make extra money.
While living in Louisville, Kentucky, her work was noticed by several designers and she was asked to show her designs at fashion shows at the Seelbach Hotel and Hyatt Regency.
At the Seelbach fashion show, though young and shy, Penny was given the microphone to describe her creations as the models displayed them on the runway. Though her English was not that good, her cute accent and beautiful dress she designed and was wearing stole the show.
When the show director took the microphone and started to describe Penny’s dress, she reached down and lifted the flap on her overlapping wrap exposing Penny’s legs. Shy Penny instinctively smacked the announcer in embarrassment knocking the microphone out of her hand. Then she turned beet red in the face as the audience clapped in approval and amusement.
At an older age, with eyes not so sharp and too many other responsibilities at her restaurant, she has retired her Singer sewing machine and given up her favorite pastime.
Once in awhile though, I can see her eyes light up when we pass a fabric store. If she decides to go in to look, I can just figure it’s going to be a long afternoon.
Dress worn by Penny as fashion presenter at Louisville's Hyatt Regency Hotel
Dress worn by Penny as fashion presenter at Louisville's Seelbach Hotel in 1984
Dr. Rodney T. Hard
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