Sewing together a community at 91

Martine Brown

There is a common name used whenever someone needs pants hemmed or a dress altered, it’s Martine Brown of Russellville.

Brown has been sewing for quite a few years. She says her mother taught her how to sew when she was a little girl. “I had to stand on a chair to reach the quilting frame when she taught me how to quilt,” Brown said.

Quilting was a big part of her life growing up. She remembers the quilting parties her mother would have. The frame was one that let down from the ceiling. Martine could be found sitting under the quilt that was in the frame listening to the ladies talk and having a good time.

As she became older, she got to use the treadle sewing machine to make her clothes, in addition to learning how to crochet.

Her late husband, Lashley Brown, bought an electric sewing machine when they became popular.

At 91, sewing is still a large part of her life. When the Browns moved to Russellville, she decided to take in sewing for others. There was an extra room in the house that would be perfect for her sewing room.

“I ran only one ad in the paper to hem pants,” Brown said. She has had a steady supply of pants to hem since that single ad.

Brown also does alterations on dresses, pants, and blouses. She recalls the time she had 14 dresses at one time to be altered.

Memory bears have really grown in popularity and she has sewn a lot of them. The bears are fashioned out of a loved one’s clothing.

Some people bring enough clothing for her to make memory blankets. And T-shirt quilts still remain popular.

She is not able to do the hand quilting any longer due to arthritis in her hands.

When visiting her sewing room there is plenty to see, her machines, crochet blankets, and clothes just waiting for her magic touch with a thread and needle.

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