Monday, June 6, 2011

Essie Edwards: A Phenomenal Milliner, Seamstress, Instructor, and Fashionista

I am totally amazed by this lady.  She's a graduate of Pepperdine University, she has been a milliner for over 60 years (yes over 60 years!), she has been an instructor for the Los Angeles Unified School District for almost 40 years, she is a mother, a source of great support for her students, she is a fashionista, and she is a lovely woman both inside and out.  Mrs. Edwards is a walking example of a phenomenal instructor.  When she walks into the classroom she wears what she has made--suites, purses, hats, belts, etc.  All perfectly made by her loving and guiding hands. As you can see from the image on the left, she is one cute lady, and she really looks sassy in the sporty black BMW she drives.  You Go Girl!

But what I really love about Mrs. Edwards is that she encourages me to be me.  She never insists that I do something the same way and in a particular manner.  In her words, "There is more than one way to do something."  For a person like myself who loves to experiment with different millinery techniques, her words are like music to my ears.  A student has to grow under an instructor with this attitude.  She is patient with her students, and they always praise her for this.

Mrs. Edwards only teach day classes, and I waited seven years to take her class, begging her not to retire.  When I retired,  I could finally attend her class.  Then, I was blessed with Ms. E, my granddaughter.  So once again, I'm without my Mrs. Edwards because I lovingly babysit Ms. E during the day.  I still take an evening millinery classes from my other millinery instructor, Mrs. Eloise King (off and on for 26 years), but I also miss my day class with Mrs. Edwards. 

On May 21 Mrs. Edward held her annual fashion show at the Watts Senior Center and Rose Garden.  I really love attending classes at the Rose Garden; it's lovely, quiet, and peaceful.  Dorothy Sampson is the gardener and caretaker for the garden and center.  She is an extraordinary lady who keeps the grounds and the roses beautifully groomed, even using her own resources at times allowing the roses to maintain their award winning status.  I just have to mention Recreation Facility Director Toni Hester (image to the upper right) because Mrs. Edwards constantly praises her for going beyond the call of her job duties, especially when it comes to her sensitivity to the needs of the seniors, as well as Mrs. Edwards'.

I'll get to the images in a moment, but I wanted to mention how wonderful it is to have a place to go where people are sincerely genuine and supportive and enjoy each others' company.  Below are some images from the fashion show.  These ladies, and the gentleman helping the ladies to the walkway, all make beautiful things in Mrs. Edwards' class.  When I was editing the images, I was thinking how blessed I would be to be able to drive to classes and socialize with people as wonderful as these are 25 years from now, as these ladies are doing today.  Thanks to Mrs. Edwards and all for being such an inspiration.


  1. Es maravilloso conocer a señoras con tanta magia interior y también a bellas damas con bonitos sombreros.

  2. Lee,

    So much style! The outfits, the hats, I see a lot of inspiration in your pictures. Thanks so much for sharing them!

  3. Hi Austin. Thanks; it's good to hear from you.

  4. Wow! A blog about hats :) I love hats!!!

  5. Great. Thanks for your comment. Feel free to make any suggestions about hat-related stuff you would like to see here.

  6. I love her from here! If in the pictures her energy is exciting.

  7. Don, I think attitude makes a difference in our lives, and the willingness to change over time makes us timeless. Mrs. Edwards and theses ladies are wonderful. They drive to school, they sew, and they are so positive. There is no question about how I will live my life for the rest of my life.

  8. Wow. What lovely pictures! I love seeing pictures of lovely and happy ladies decked out in their finest!

    The Watts Rose Garden is lovely, too. It's on my visit list next time I am in LA.