Ever since she was a young girl growing up in Belize, Rose Perriott has loved to sew, and she has turned her hobby into a career. For the past three years she has served as a seamstress at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, where she keeps the linens mended for patients who are themselves on the mend, and keeps the uniforms of hospital staff looking uniformly good.
How did you get your start in sewing?
My mom taught me how to sew when I was a young girl. I had so much fun making dresses for my dolls. As a teenager, I helped a neighbor who did seamstress work. She sparked my interest in learning the trade. What I love about sewing is that you can create your own designs. You can make what you want to wear in the style that flatters you instead of settling for something on a store clothing rack.
What does your job as a seamstress at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center involve?
I do a lot of alterations, such as mending torn linens like sheets and bath blankets, replacing missing buttons, swapping new pockets for stained ones on lab coats and replacing missing tie-strings on scrubs worn by UCLA staff. I also do alteration work on uniforms.
What is the best part of your job?
Every day, I get to do something that I love and that I’m good at doing. It’s really gratifying when UCLA staff compliment me on my work. Everyone is so appreciative when I make adjustments to their uniforms so they have a better fit.
During my 30 years as a paid seamstress, I’ve learned how to operate just about every type of sewing machine. I’m always learning something new that I can apply to my job and to the designs that I create for family and friends.
What makes a day at work memorable for you?
Sometimes I have repairs that have to be done right away. [One day] when I was coming into work, an employee approached me and asked if I could repair his pants. I said it was no problem, but I could see that he was a little embarrassed. Then he told me what needed to be repaired and it turned out to be in a sensitive area of his pants! I got him a pair of scrubs to wear while I made the repair. I felt that I saved his day and we both thought it was funny — afterwards!
What are some of your outside interests and hobbies?
I make some of my clothes like dresses, pants, blouses and skirts. I’ve made a couple of wedding gowns for family members. I also create costumes for religious functions. When my friends go to a shopping mall and can’t find something they want to wear to a special event, they come to me with their designs, and I create the item for them. It’s very rewarding to take something from a concept design to a finished product and see someone wearing it.
When I’m not sewing, I’m usually spending time with family and friends, reading or attending church functions. As much as possible, I try to travel back to my home country, Belize, to visit family and friends.
This story was originally published in UCLA Health Employee News.