Nelly The Neighborhood Dressmaker

It is not easy to find clothes here in Ecuador. Well let me make that a bit clearer. It is not easy to find clothes for someone my size here in Ecuador. I am not gargantuan but I do not fit in the normal Large sizes either. You can find some items but they are so expensive and the quality is not always that great for what you find. My friend Eva mentioned that Nelly, our across the street neighbor, is a wonderful seamstress.  Several weeks ago Nelly’s daughter Erika came by showing me some of her mother’s hand-made items for the kitchen. She had covers for the microwave, covers for the blender as well as some great looking aprons, kitchen pot holders and gloves.  I asked her about making a dress for me. She said she would make whatever I wanted.

On our next trip to Portoviejo I found several fabric stores that had just what I was looking for so I bought three different pieces of material.

San Clemente 6.16.2013 003

Nelly is on the left and Erika is on my right – their home is behind our heads. What a lovely Mother and Daughter pair! One day last week both Mom and Daughter came over and took my measurements and discussed what I was looking for. By the end of the week they came back to have me try on the dresses, a few alterations were needed but they all looked so good. On Saturday Erika delivered all three dresses and here they are.

San Clemente 6.19.2013 003

Now I am having Nellie make up two hot looking beach dresses for me as well as two other dresses. Nelly will make me blouses or shorts or skirts anything I want. So I am now looking for things I would like her to make and then I need to make another trip into Portoviejo for more fabric. She is also going to recover our one wood beach lounge.

It’s a little life, our life, but it’s a good life. I can remember that it was not so long ago my chores were not so much fun, my choices quite different. Now it seems not a different time so much, but a different world. And viva la difference!


24 thoughts on “Nelly The Neighborhood Dressmaker

    • Hi Sue,
      I bought 1 1/2 meters of material for each dress at $9 each piece and Nellie charged me $8 per dress and she supplied the zippers. I think she should be finished with the other dresses today, as soon as I get them I will take photos. Thanks for following our blog, Nancy

  1. What a lovely post & photo of the three of you……..I wish I had a neighbor like Nellie! can’t wait to see your new beach dresses. there was a time way back when I used to make my best friend & my clothes on an old Singer Treadle sewing machine when we were student nurses. it was a fantastic machine once I got the hang of it.

    • Hi Deanna, I used to sew years ago back in high school, I even made my graduation dress, commencement gown and many special occasion dresses but then you start to work and are taking care of a home I just never found the time to keep it up. Nellie is a wiz, she took my measurements and I drew her a very rough sketch of what I was looking for and in a week I had three dresses…how wonderful she is…Today she brought over the chair I had her replace the sling seating, it is a sling type beach chair that is very popular here…She did a great job and it actually feels more comfortable than what was on it originally. I am sure she can make seat cushions for me and curtains but first I need to finish my house before I start looking for furniture. thanks for following us, Nancy

  2. My Spanish teacher in Quito has many of her things made after she picks the perfect fabrics in the local stores at a fair price . I am having the same problem finding clothes . Sometimes the local store clerks just shake their heads when I ask for something in their largest size…knowjng it won’t fit before I even try it on. It can be a bit unsettling. But I have found a few things at SuperExito..which has branches in other parts of Ecuador. Enjoy wearing the new dresses…the prints are pretty and they are made just for your body.

    • Eileen, thanks for your comment, I have also found some items at SuperExito but the one in Portoviejo really has very little. I am looking forward to our trip to Guayaquil to do a little shopping…now to find bras that are not all padding and a cup size larger than a B…ha ha Nancy

    • Diane, We feel so blessed. This is a great family, Nellie is a masterful seamstress, Erika sells Avon and Ebel along with several other catalogues….Sergio, the father is almost always ready to sell me lobster, Eric, the son loves to bring me a few live Stone Crabs handing them across the fence….there are so many advantages to living on this block I have lost count…but I never forget to count our blessings. Have a wonderful evening, Nancy

  3. Nancy and Joe, you guys are so blessed. What a awesome life you have. I am so glad you are on the blog! I missed hearing what all was happening with you. The dresses are nice- you are so lucky to have such talented friends. Blessings, Karen

  4. Yay!! You’re back! I missed your blog terribly. I love your dresses; how awesome to have a talented neighbor like Nellie. You are blessed.

    • Hi Mary, thanks, I really do not know addresses, while Joe and I are walking in Centro we found two nice stores with the materials that I bought for those first three dresses. Around Super Exito and the Hot Dog stand, there must be an incentive in going shopping for fabric for Joe so getting him a hot dog seems to do the trick. I know there are so many places to get fabric, you just need to walk around downtown looking until you find one that carries nice cotton material or at least material that will be cool…Nelly delivered four more items to me this afternoon, I will take more photos and post in a day or so…just trying to catch up on all my photos from the last month that I have not posted…be well, N PS was your get-away WONDERFUL???

      • yes, was nice to get away from the humdrum of taking care of the house, cooking etc. But our bit of paradise is much nicer. Lorena and Diego , owners of the hostel we stayed at (Amalur) will be coming for lunch Thursday with their daughter Luna.
        Diego has been to SC , Meirs (which is the person who probably told you we were in Canoa) but Lorena has never been here. Very nice people.

        • Mary and John, you are exactly right, as soon as Meier got back he told the table we were at of your adventures ha ha Can’t keep a secret here ever haha

  5. Nice!! They will keep you cool. Did you go to the fabric shop in Charapoto? I found some I want to go back and get when I come back.

    • Hi Susan, No, Joe and were walking around centro Portoviejo and found two shops where I get this material. I will post the pictures of the other dresses she delivered yesterday,,,she does a great job for those of us that are “sewing impaired” not you of course, I am sure you could sew circles around anyone in this area. kisses, N

  6. I notice here in Panama, they don’t sell patterns anywhere. People who sew just seem to know how to make things. I have to admire that since I’m definitely not to that point, though I would love to learn. How nice to have someone who can sew things that are just right for you! You look wonderful in your dress 🙂

    • Kris, thanks Nelly did a great job and she just delivered 4 more dresses to me last week. I just have not done a post on them yet…very cute. Especially the two for the beach…N

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