ALTON - Lillian Bates, owner of Lillian By Design at 136 Front St. in Alton, has had many high points in her legendary career as an area seamstress/designer, but recently she had another when she worked on a costume for Andrea Moore. Moore was runner-up in the World's Miss Tourism Pageant in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. Andrea participated in the Mrs. Division of the event.

Andrea Moore, left, and Lillian Bates.Andrea said her costume portion of the event was so much fun and she has now been asked to make a couple of appearances at local events after those photos have been viewed. She said Lillian contributed significantly to the honor with her alterations and sewing work.

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"Lillian does a phenomenal job," Andrea said. "She will be a go-to person for me now in these kinds of situations.

"She met my timelines when I needed them and I couldn't say enough about what she did with my dress and costumes."

Lillian said Andrea is a very nice person and she thought her end work with her turned out well.

"It was a thrill to work with Andrea and do work like this," Lillian said, who was very thankful the area woman did so well in the Miss Tourism Pageant.

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Lillian has said her love of creating with fabric began when she took her first sewing class in summer school when she was 14.

"I continued all through school," she said of sewing and working with fabric. "One of the outfits was a very loud lime green Midi skirt and bolero vest. My mom found the fabric in the attic! And we had to wear our outfits to school! That was a lot of green."

Lillian honors the craft and sharpens her skills through classes from experts, internships, and an abundance of practice. She is highly trained and graduated from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville with a Bachelor of Arts degree with an emphasis on textiles. She has developed new lines of clothing - the "Lillian by Design" label as well as designing and creating Demi-Couture clothing for individual clients.

The beauty of Lillian's work is showcased when designing wearable art, with her goal to make each piece unique, specifically fitted to the individual.

Lillian has made all kinds of costumes from drag shows, to wedding gowns, mother's gowns in weddings, high school costumes and so much more.

"I like helping people," she said. "I have a lot of people who come to me with emergencies of something that went wrong with a gown or other situations. I am clever about how to fix things. I have had several things come in and I had to mull it over for a bit to come up with a solution, but I can't think of anything I have ever turned away. I love working in Alton a lot and love my clients and work a lot."

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