Dot Powers can do it all, according to her Schooner Estates neighbor and distant relative Mary Tully.

“There is nothing that she can’t do. I’m lucky that she lives across from me. She’s a special lady,” said Tully, 77, a Bethel native who moved back to the area recently from Marblehead, Mass.

When Tully decided to put on a Christopher Banks fashion show at the Auburn retirement community, she asked Powers, 89, a native of Rumford, to participate.

“I needed a project. It was something different and I wanted it to be special,” said Tully, who has organized every detail of Saturday’s show, down to photography, music and food.

Originally asked to model, Powers decided she only would be in the show if she could make her own dress. Out of newspapers. All sewed to an old nightgown. With sight in only one eye.

“It took about a week and a half in my spare time to sew,” Powers explained. “It wasn’t too bad to work with the newspaper. Every now and then I would get a bad piece, so I’d just throw it on the floor and when I had a full bag I gave it to Schooner to build a fire with.”


“Don’t even recycle your newspapers, just make yourself a new dress,” Tully quipped.

“What are we going to call this? Is this the all-American new silk?” Powers joked.

To make her recycled fashion, Powers would fold a newspaper page into a fan before stitching it over the shoulder area. The back is decorated with curled slips of paper and the skirt is carefully cut fringes of mid-July’s news. She even fashioned a hat to match her outfit.

“It’s nothing you’re going to put through the washing machine,” Powers said with a laugh.

The duo are still working on the musical number that will accompany Powers’ sashay down the cat walk, but whatever it is, it is sure to be fun.

“I just want to have fun with the people that are in it and for it to be a success and to be fun. I’ve enjoyed planning it,” Tully said.


They’re expecting at least 100 people and Tully has a few surprises planned for the audience.

“When I can’t sleep, I just go over the plans. I don’t want to miss a beat,” Tully said.

Tully has 16 models lined up from the staff and residents of Schooner Estates.

“I wanted to get full billing. It’s such a good group of people. I didn’t want anybody to get left out. And people who are in it couldn’t wait to be asked. They’re excited,” Tully said.

The show is free and open to the public at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5, on the village green of Schooner Estates in Auburn. Tea, sandwiches and desserts will be served. For more information, call 207-784-2900.

Comments are no longer available on this story