Surrey Hills resident stitching it up

Paula Rhodes’ sewing, alterations business still going strong

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In her Surrey Hills home, professional seamstress Paula Rhodes sews a garment. (Photo by Carol Mowdy Bond)

By Carol Mowdy Bond
Contributing Writer

Surrey Hills resident Paula Rhodes loves to sew. And her professional sewing and alterations business has been going strong for decades. She makes dresses, tailors, and does alterations.

Rhodes said none of her relatives knew how to sew. So, she taught herself, and then found herself stitchin’ up all kinds of things.

“No one taught me to sew,” Rhodes said. “I remember sewing when I was really little. I’ve just always known how to sew.”

Rhodes’ little sister was a vocalist, and always needed fancy clothes for her performances.

Rhodes made all of her sister’s outfits, and doll clothes, and anything else she could think of making.

Then at age 17, Rhodes’ future started to gel. A neighbor was a model, and she was desperate for a certain outfit. Rhodes made the clothing, and the model paid her. That was the beginning of Rhodes’ sewing business. From there, her career took off, and she began sewing for profit.

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As the wife of a rancher, Rhodes and her husband lived in Durham, Kansas. Rhodes connected with the large Mennonite community, and many of the women became her friends. She began sewing dresses for the women. In fact, now the women come to Rhodes’ Surrey Hills home with their fabric. She makes their clothing, and mails the garments back to them.

From 1997 to 2019, Rhodes lived in Cordell. The high school cheerleading squad didn’t buy new uniforms each year. Instead, Rhodes took uniforms completely apart, and remade them to fit the new cheerleaders each year.

As if the sewing machine isn’t a big enough thrill, Rhodes also loves to cross stitch. Framed pictures hang throughout her home, and they all appear to be paintings. But they’re actually Rhodes’ cross stitching projects. That’s how talented she is!

“My career is sewing, and my hobby is sewing,” Rhodes said. “But I also love to grow flowers.”

Besides all that sewing and gardening, Rhodes has five children. Her daughter Eileen Killmer and her husband Eddie live in Yukon. The rest of Rhodes’ children are scattered throughout Oklahoma, and several other states. Of her five grandchildren, granddaughter Amber Earls is a first-grade teacher in the Mustang Public School District. And Rhodes has seven great-grandchildren.

“I love to sew,” Rhodes said. “I don’t know what people do with their time if they don’t sew.”

Rhodes is taking new clients. To connect with her, call (405) 819-3846.