December 11, 2011
By Associated Press
You won’t find the designers of Illinois Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon’s wardrobe on the pages of fashion magazines.
Simon makes her own clothes, even a full-length silk gown and 1940s-era wool suit for her January inauguration.
“I’m pretty proud of it,” she recently told the Herald and Review in Decatur. Simon started sewing as a youth in 4-H, making an elastic waistband skirt, and earned a useful skill when she grew to 5-foot-11 and was too tall for many pants.
Simon, who splits her time between Springfield and her home in Carbondale, has sewn prom and homecoming dresses and Halloween costumes for her two daughters. Her favorite was a kangaroo costume with a detachable tail and pouch to collect candy.
“I’m 50 years old now, and when I was little, I think everyone had someone somewhere in the family who knew how to sew, and I think that’s less common now,” Simon said.
Deepika Prakash, the founder of international online sewing community PatternReview.com, told the Herald and Review that Simon’s habit of wearing her own creations even for her most publicized events lets people see that homemade clothes don’t have to be “happy hands at home outfits” or have a “Becky Home-ecky” look, Prakash said.
“The more we get people talking about this, I think it definitely changes the image,” Prakash said.
Sewing, says Simon, lets her make sure she’s “not too absorbed in government and politics that I forget real life.”