Still Sewing at Age 91

With summer on its way, the need for shorts and summer tops for kids and sundresses and skirts for girls is fast approaching . While the SD winters can be very cold and brutal, the summers can be just as intolerable without the proper attire.

Several months ago  I happened to see an article in our newspaper about a friend of mine, Betty Troxell,  whom I’d worked with while volunteering for Habitat for Humanity where I served as a family coordinator for 9 years.  She made quilts for every family member who moved into a new Habitat home in our community  -I think to the tune of 350 plus quilts. She had also done the same for another community chapter about 45 miles from here.  I had lost touch with Betty after leaving Habitat so was happy to read this story about her.

The article mentioned Betty had been  busy making shorts and tops for children in Haiti-25 sets in all and was now in a nursing home as she was confined to a wheelchair due to some fractures she had incurred. I was not surprised to read that Betty was still actively sewing.  A few months later I saw a column in the newspaper that stated that she needed help adjusting the tension on her sewing machine so I immediately contacted her to offer my services and we reconnected again.  While filling her in on Sew For Kids and our summer project she offered to make some short sets for us. She already had patterns and fabric and was able to turn out 20 short sets for kids 2T-5T in short order.

Betty has been sewing for 80 years, was a member of the local 4-H club in her community and made all her children’s clothing. Once her children were grown Betty had more time and began making quilts for people in our community, to date she has made over 750 and is still going strong.  Her quilts have gone to the community day care center for low income children, to the Crisis Nursery, a place to house abused and neglected children, to Habitat for Humanity families and to Salt and Light and Restoration Ministries – all groups helping those in need in our community.

Because of Betty’s talents and giving heart, the community has helped with projects she takes on by providing material and notions.  She said, “I’ve never bought any material for my projects, all of it has been donated by people who support my efforts”.  Betty is not opposed to repurposing old clothing for her projects and is great at using up all the donated fabric scraps she receives by making fun and interesting quilts that are especially loved by children.

Betty said she is the only one in the nursing home who is sewing.  “While I have the option to  just sit here and do nothing all day, I much prefer to continue to help those in need “ she said. And she may be sewing for many years to come. She said her pacemaker check a few days ago indicated the battery would last another 6 or 7 years. We certainly hope that’s the case.

We thank Betty for her tireless efforts and willingness to share her skills and help others. Won’t you please join her and all of us by sewing summer clothing or any of the items for our ongoing projects and help the kids of Wanblee.  Thanks from Sew For Kids.

Meet Betty in her workspace   Betty with samples of her work


2 thoughts on “Still Sewing at Age 91

  1. After reading this, I was making room for my daughter to return home for a few days. That involved moving a lot of yarn and fabric. I realized what a wealth of materials I have to work with and , inspired by this story, I’m going to try to use as much as I can without unnecessarily buying more. What a great lady. Thank you for her story Carol. diane NM

  2. She is quite the lady . She is now making some burp cloths with her leftover material. I will post her outfits Was washing them for sending to the Rez but wanted to get the blog up so will add to the post shortly. Yes use what you have. Its amazing what you can make out of the things you already have.
    Thanks for the comment Diane . Will let Betty know what you said.

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