Cleona Bautista - Owner UCOI
If anyone would have told me 6 years ago that I would be sewing and making clothes of any kind, I would have told them they were out of their mind!
On March 3rd, 2012 one of my two sons passed away, that sent my life into something I am not able to describe. In October of 2012 I decided to go visit my dad’s sister who lived in the Palm Springs, California area, about 300 miles from where I lived on the Central Coast of California, in the good weather! But I really needed to get away, so I took a drive down South, to my surprise she wasn’t home, and the neighbors said she was taken to the hospital earlier by ambulance, she was 82 years old. So, I went to see her in the hospital. They did not think that she would make it very long and I felt so bad for her, she had no one. No children and a widow and she didn’t make enough money to pay for home care and she made too much money to qualify for any care in the home for free. She would have had to be put in a convalescent home, and I didn’t want that. My world was already upside down from losing my son and I told her that I would take care of her and so I moved in with her to care for her.
Of course, it was October in the Desert when I first went there, that was not too bad, but I had never lived in the Desert and had no idea what was coming. When it started to get hot (100 - 125 degrees), I started melting. I am a swimmer and where she lived there were pools available to me, but they would not allow me to where clothing into the pool, and I was so miserable. So, I went to LA and bought some swim fabric and took it to a seamstress and I gave her a pattern I made for a top and a swim skirt with shorts in it. I paid her 28.00 per piece to cut them and sew them, so my swim outfit cost me about 80.00 to make after driving to buy fabric and so on. It was getting pricey because I was really liking shopping for fabric.
It started to be a passion and it was getting expensive, then other ladies in my Church wanted to get the outfits to swim in too. There is where it began! I won a lady to the Lord that was a seamstress and boy I thought I had in the bag now, her and I would make these ourselves and be able to offer them to anyone that wanted them at a really good price. She lasted about a month, I bought all the industrial sewing machines needed and cutting tables etc. Got all set up, I cut about 100 pieces and she sewed about 10 pieced and was gone!
I did not know how to use a sewing machine at all. Especially those industrial machines with all the multiple needles and so many spools of thread. Oh boy I was in trouble! I interviewed a few people over the phone and only one in person who were seamstresses. It was a joke, but the one I interviewed was a man, and he came and sat down and just started sewing away on them and talking away too, I would have gone nuts if I had to deal with that. After he left, I just looked to the hills from whence cometh my strength and said, “ok Lord, if that guy can do this, then surely I can do this, You said I could do all thing through You who would strengthen me”. I sat down at one of those machines and picked up one of my cut patterns and took a deep breath and started to sew… I have not stopped yet, all the Glory goes to God!