Carnival couture: Alabama seamstress works all year to bring Mardi Gras to life

Carnival couture: Alabama seamstress works all year to bring Mardi Gras to life
For master seamstress Patricia Richardson, Mardi Gras lasts all year long. (Michael Tomberlin / Alabama NewsCenter)

Carnival season may last only a few weeks in the Port City, but for Mobile seamstress Patricia Richardson, it’s Mardi Gras year-round.

The bright, colorful costumes, fashions and apparel are among the hallmarks of the season and that has made Richardson a celebrated fixture in Mobile and beyond.

“Miss Pat is one of the most talented designers in the state of Alabama, if not the South,” said Cart Blackwell, curator of the Mobile Carnival Museum, which features a number of Richardson’s creations. “Miss Pat’s known for her beautiful, colorful, sculptural, well-composed works.”

Patricia Richardson dresses up Mobile for Mardi Gras from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

The award-winning, self-taught master seamstress has been creating gowns, trains and other accessories for decades. Her craftsmanship and commitment to detail have kept her work in high demand.

“I’m at that age and time in my life I just do what I want to do,” Richardson said. “I don’t have to do it. I do it because I enjoy it, because it’s fun.”

After a long career and a host of prized creations, Richardson is now dedicated to teaching the next generation how to make hand-sewn trains.

In addition to Richardson’s creations being on display at the Mobile Carnival Museum, conventions, tourism and even economic development officials have showcased her works to visitors as samples of the creativity that exists in the Port City.

The oldest Mardi Gras celebration in the U.S. kicks off in Mobile Feb. 15, 2019, but for Richardson the Carnival season never ends.

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