Yesterday was my birthday and I’m celebrating the entire month of August. That’s right! August is mine this year! Hahaha! I plan to treat myself well and the fun has already begun.

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To get prepared for all the festivities, I decided to make several birthday outfits to wear this month. I wanted something very classy and dressy to wear out with my sons, and I’m very pleased with this look. BUT, I have to tell you the story of how this masterpiece started out as a mistake.

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This is pattern #12 of my personal challenge to sew 22 patterns that I already have in the year 2022. That means I have 10 more to go. You can see Pattern #11 HERE.

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This post is all about the skirt, but the top is the dramatic piece that brought the entire look together. My original plan was to sew the top that’s included with the pattern. However, since it’s summertime, I decided to go with a cooler option.


I envisioned an off-the-shoulder look with one long sleeve. Since I don’t have a pattern for that style, I decided to alter McCall’s 7531 to create the look I wanted.


To achieve the design, I shortened the dress to top length, altered the neckline, cut the fabric, and all was well (so I thought).

I sat down to pin the shoulder seams together and discovered that I had cut the front and back with right sides up. Noooooooo!!! I was supposed to invert one of the pieces since I cut on a single layer of fabric. I literally screamed because there was no fabric left to cut another piece.


Giving up wasn’t an option, so I  went completely outside construction rules and made it work. The center back seam is not perfectly aligned but I care not one bit. I’m WEARING THIS TOP in all its beautiful imperfection.

Just in case you’re wondering how I hacked the pattern, I’ve added a few photos below. I’m not going into details about the alteration because I literally started drawing lines to create  what I wanted. I don’t have guidelines or measurements to share because I didn’t use any. The original front and back were my templates to create new pattern pieces.

McCall's 7531 TOP
McCall's 7531 TOP

I added a dart in the back to remove the excess fabric that appeared from pulling the shoulder seam across the back to meet the front shoulder on the other side.


When I tried it on with the skirt, I squealed with delight because it was better than I had envisioned. This top was meant to be sleeveless. I’m in LOVE with my first birthday outfit.



The Vogue 1605 formal skirt is a Badgley Mischka design. It’s fitted through the hip and lined, with a center back invisible zipper and train. It features pleat details on the left hip, front waistband, and bow accent. The pattern is currently available on the Something Delightful website as a printed pattern only. The company rates the pattern as Advanced, and I agree. However, I’m an Intermediate sewist and was able to complete the skirt with no problem.


The pattern instructions are fairly straightforward and do a decent job of walking you through the instructions. There are eleven pattern pieces required to complete the skirt and lining.

Inside the Garment

One thing I absolutely love about sewing my own clothes is the ability to choose the fabrics, including lining. When I pulled this fabric to sew the skirt, I knew I wanted a pink lining and I’m pleased with how it looks against the skirt.


Alterations Information

Following the finished garment measurements on the front pattern piece, I cut a size 14. The skirt fits very well without alterations to any of the seams.

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Fabric Options

The fabric suggestions on the back of the pattern envelope call for moderate stretch knits. For the skirt: Stretch Satin and Stretch Twill. I purchased this textured, metallic knit many years ago from the Michael Levine Loft, before they closed that department. It’s very lightweight and not scratchy against the skin.

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The lining is a lightweight knit from JoAnn Fabrics. I love how the pink shows when I’m seated at the fountain.

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I made the bow and decided not to use it because when placed the way I would want to wear it (see photo #2), the front draping on the skirt would be covered up. Also, it’s quite heavy for the waistband. You can see the thickness in photo #3.


Notions Information

For the skirt, the pattern calls for a 9” invisible zipper and one hook and eye closure.


My Plans for the Garment

This skirt is for special occasions. I wore it out to dinner with my sons on Sunday night to a fine restaurant. Yes, honey, I stepped into the place looking totally EXTRA! Hahaahaa! I also plan to wear this outfit for a future speaking engagement and other events where formal attire is requested.

Styling Options

I like the idea of styling the pieces separately. I’ll definitely wear the top with a pair of jeans, dressy trousers, pencil skirt, and palazzo pants. The skirt would also look nice in the winter with a long sleeve turtleneck, or button down white blouse with the collar popped up, accessorized with pearls. OMGoodness!!! YES!

Styling Option #1

I styled it with a pair of rhinestone heels, rhinestone clutch purse, rhinestone necklace, drop earrings, and beaded bracelets.

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Styling Option #2

This hat is what inspired my vision for the outfit. It’s my grandmother’s hat. She passed away in January, a few days before her 102nd Birthday. This entire outfit was made in her memory.

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I wanted to make a gown to wear with her hat and carry her red handkerchief that I kept. I forgot to get a photo with the handkerchief, but I do have video.

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My Madear was a very sharp and classy lady. She loved to dress up and kept her home spotless. I wear this piece with pride because she inspired my love for hats. She was the first lady I saw wear a hat and I will treasure this one for the rest of my life.

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Styling Option #3

I’m an Audrey Hepburn fan. When I completed the outfit and saw it on my dress form, I knew I would style it with my elbow-length gloves and tiara. Oh, how I love dressing up! If I ever get invited to a formal, evening tea party, I’m ready.

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In my early twenties, I participated in local modeling events in Los Angeles. I learned about poise and posture while engaged with modeling and pageants. I won a couple of titles and was 1st runner up in one pageant. I kept all of my tiaras and display them in my sewing studio.

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In Memory of Madear

How would you wear the skirt?

Would you sew this skirt? Do you have the pattern? How would you style it? Talk to me in the comments. I would love to hear from you.

Don't Forget your Sewing Project Checklist

Did you know that I created a Sewing Project Checklist to help you stay organized while sewing your garments? If you missed the video where I shared 3 Steps to Time Saving Sewing for Beginners, check it out to learn how you can streamline your sewing process. Tap the link below to get a Free PDF copy of the Checklist.


Links to Products, Posts & Tutorials

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(DISCLAIMER: This blog post may contain affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small commission on qualifying purchases. All opinions in this post are my own.).)

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This Post Has 113 Comments

  1. Sandra

    Your tutorial and posts are fantastic. Your classy outfits and talent for styling and sewing are inspiring. During a low in my life (the death of my mother), reading your book and your sweet sprit were just what I needed when I couldn’t rest. Isn’t God good?

  2. Sheila

    Anita, you did an awesome job with that pattern. That dress is the BOMB!! It is so beautiful. I would have never thought to create a dress like that from that pattern. It is just beautiful, and you look so beautiful in it. You have created another Masterpiece!!

  3. Agatha

    Anita, although all your styling options are beautiful, I chose number one because it exudes such poise and radiance that my first thought was Eartha Kitt and Josephine Baker have nothing on this sister. Your Madear was 102 and if she was anything like you she is giving them a fashion show in heaven.
    Happy Birthday the best is yet to come.

    1. Anita Morris

      Thank you so much, Agatha! Madear really was a sharp lady with much class.

  4. Stephanie

    Happy Birthday! I love the dress. It looks fabulous on you. Sorry to hear about your grandma. She looks like she was a spunky lady. WOW! 102. I’m not sure I would want to live that long. God bless you Anita. You never cease to amaze me.

  5. Kathleen

    Wow, I have seen this outfit on Instagram, but I’m so happy that I took the time to read the blog post as well. I had no idea it was skirt and top and your styling ideas for both the combined peices and as seperates are amazing. I also love the little personal snippets you add in about your poise & posture coming from your modelling / pagent days. I must admit, along with the sewing, I love seeing your poses in your makes as you are always so elegant.

  6. Little Stitchy

    Hi Anita,
    It’s me again.
    Just wondering, in the photos it appears that you left a raw edge on both the skirt and the skirt lining or did you hem each?
    I’m thinking, due to the nature of the fashion fabric, the finished hem might not flow as well as the raw edge.

    1. Anita Morris

      You are absolutely right, Little Stitchy! I left them raw on purpose.

  7. Rose

    Gorgeous!!!!! I love it. Happy August Birthday to you. The gown fits you perfectly!

  8. Kim Smith

    Fantastic dress love the hat and the sentimental feelings for it
    What great inspiration honouring your grandma with your beautiful top/skirt
    You will always treasure that make

  9. Pam

    Happy Birthday blessings ! Your dress is stunning !

  10. Ros Reed

    Hi Anita, Beautiful design. Sometimes our mistakes turn out to be our prize possession!!!! Happy Birthday!!!!!??

  11. Mary

    Happy Birthday with many more Blessings, and also love the dress. ???

  12. Mary

    Happy Birthday with I more Blessings, also love the dress.

  13. Vivian

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! I love the idea of celebrating ALL month. Your outfit is beautiful!! YOU AREABSOLUTELY ROCKING IT!!!!!!

  14. Aida Hernandez

    I absolutely love your birthday dress! I really like the off shoulder strap and how it looks in the back of the top. The skirt hangs in all the right places! Great choice :-). Happy birthday Anita!

  15. Cheryl Hinton

    I hope you had a wonderful birthday. The outfit is spectacular, If I didn’t read your blog I would have thought it was a one piece dress. I love the fabric choice and all the matching accessories. I think I still would have wanted to see the bow on the skirt maybe not permanent but as choice #4. I think it would have looked nice on you.

  16. Dale

    Happy Birthday Anita?? you look marvelous in your outfit! I know you had a marvelous time with your Sons❤️

  17. Linda

    Happy belated birthday! This outfit is so glam, I just love it! I think my favorite may be the first, with the rhinestones, as you’re looking classy and a bit earthy/casual. However, that said, pairing with Madear’s fascinator is stunning. I don’t think I would make this skirt – linings can be phobic 🙂 I loved the little touch of pink you showed with that lining, though. Maybe we could have a sew along with something with an easy lining (?). I hope your birthday was wonderful. Thanks for all you do for us!

  18. Ana Maria

    Happy b-day!!! I hope you had a great day

  19. Trish

    Happy Birthday Anita. May God bless you with many, many more. And, your dress and you are gorgeous!

  20. Glenda

    Love the top and skirt. Happy Birthday!
    Love the accessories too. You are gorgeous as always

  21. jaenine

    Happy Birthday!!! You look absolutely regal in Slate Gray. A prefect dress for your special celebration.

    1. jaenine

      Correction: The top and skirt set is lovely.

  22. Deborah

    Happy birthday enjoy. love the outfit.

  23. Brigitte

    Happy belated birthday Anita, I hope you had a wonderful evening with your son’s and may I say you look absolutely stunning in your beautiful outfit ❤️

  24. Carmen

    Oh, Madam Anita! The outfit is Beautiful. I love the way you just kept in going even after the error. I’m a person that believes the show must go on. If you don’t have something to finish the recipe or the project, improvise & use what you have! So sorry to hear about your grandmother. The fact that she has inspired you shows you carry her I. Your heart. I got emotional when you spoke about the hat. Now you have a treasure.
    I look forward to all your blogs. Thank you.

  25. Theresa ‘Terrie’ Harmon

    Happy Birthday Anita ?
    ❤️Ing the top and skirt! They’re both so classy. Thanks for the tips on different ways to style the pieces.
    Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful family pics!

  26. Joy

    Happy belated birthday?Wow you look stunning. And I never thought that was a skirt and top. Perfect alterations. Just awesome ??

  27. Terri P

    Happy Birthday Anita! Looking gorgeous as always ?

  28. Karen

    Love the look and happy birthday.l also will be making me some things for my birthday . it’s on August 12

  29. Heide V

    You look stunning! Happy belated birthday ??? Wishing you a year brimming with realized dreams, new adventures, abundance, blessings and a whole lot of laughter 🙂

  30. Karen

    Happy Birthday!
    You have a lovely family! I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the details of the construction of this gorgeous outfit. Thank you for also including the mistake and how you you just powered through. So helpful to hear that!

  31. Monica

    Happy Happy Birthday!!!! what a beautiful family and WOW what a beautiful top and skirt. I thought it was a dress very surprised to see it was not. That makes it even more special you can mix and match with other tops and skirts or pants.
    I pray you had an enjoyable time with your sons. Anita continue to create and inspire!!

  32. Kristin

    What a beautiful outfit! I believe one of your gifts is choosing patterns that fit your shape and body type. You look amazing and wear it with confidence and comfort. What a beautiful family, such a blessing. Thanks for all of your inspiration.

  33. Angie

    How beautiful nd I was so surprised to see it was a top and skirt, not a dress. I even have the dress pattern but would never have thought to hack it into the top. Gorgeous!

  34. Judy

    Giiirrllll! You’re a genius how you fixed that top! You’re beautiful inside and out!

  35. Tracy Morris

    Happy Birthday Anita! Your dress is amazing. Love the style and thanks for sharing in your sewing journey of this dress. The pictures of your family is beautiful. You are a special lady and I pray you enjoyed your special day. Keep doing what you are doing and May GOD continue to bless you abundantly.

  36. Sharon

    I love, love, love this beautiful ensemble. You look fantastic! Great idea to make it two pieces. Comfortable! The skirt lining really ups the game and I’ll bet it feels good on and your skirt moves like liquid and does not ‘stick’ to you when you move. So many ways to style these pieces. Either together or with other items in your wardrobe (closet). That hat is priceless. Belonging to your grandmother and it looks great on you. Both of your sons are so handsome. Job well done. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Anita Morris

      Yes, Sharon, the skirt is so comfortable and the lining feels very good against my body.

  37. Lucrecia

    Happy Birthday Anita. You rock in your birthday dress absolutely gorgeous! God bless you?

  38. Ann

    Belated Happy Birthday Wishes !!

    I hope your birthday was as great as the beautiful top and skirt that you made 🙂 Your mistake was positively beautiful !

    Keep on Serge’n Sewing!

  39. Mary Jean Cunningham

    Happy Birthday, Anita, and that outfit is stunning – a happy accident! You must have breathed a giant sigh of relief when it turned out even better than hoped for. It is so nice to “meet” your family – wonderful that you were inspired by your grandmother’s hat – she was obviously an amazing woman (I love that green jacket she was wearing!) and no need to tell you how lucky you were to have her, but I’ll say it anyway!

  40. Terri

    Happy Birthday! you look like a model, you are shining bright.?

  41. Karen

    Happy, Happy, Happy Birthday, Anita! I looooooooooooove this outfit! You look stunning….just absolutely gorgeous!

  42. Debbie

    Happy Birthday ??

  43. Kenneth Muhammad

    You have a beautiful family Sister and you’re wearing that dress so well! Happy Birthday with many more returns with happiness, good health and peace of mind!

  44. Sharon Thomas

    Beautiful as always!!!

  45. Yvette

    Happy, happy birthday Anita! Hope you had a wonderful day with your family. Another fantastic creation you have sewn. I have no words!! Lol absolutely beautiful. You are truly an inspiration. Thank you ?

  46. Debbie Burgess

    I love everything about your birthday dress! You are so beautiful inside and out. Do you mind sharing what kind of undergarments you wear with this top? I can’t find anything that looks natural.

    1. Anita Morris

      Thank you so much, Debbie. Yes, I’m wearing a strapless bra and shape wear on the bottom.

  47. Angela

    Happy Birthday (Holiday)? Ms Anita!
    The dress is gorgeous and so are you. Praying you have a wonderful and bless time.

  48. Ramona

    I am so happy that the comments are working now. What started as a mishap ended with a masterpiece. You look amazing, Anita!

  49. Pat

    Your dress is beautiful! I am so impressed by your save of the top. I agree – it is perfection.

  50. Deborah

    Hi Anita, Happy Birthday !!! i love how you put the two patterns to gather. I have that same pattern.
    I want to thank you for sharing. you wearing it well.

  51. Patrice

    Have a blessed and safe birthday Anita.

  52. Jacqueline

    You are looking so gorgeous as ever, and you have not aged at all since your earlier videos. I love your sew alongs, it really helps for me as a almost beginner sewist. Please do more sew alongs videos looking forward.

  53. Ericka E.

    Happy Birthday ? Anita! Absolutely classy and gorgeous.

  54. Jacqueline

    Happy birthday Anita. I love the your outfit and I have that pattern.

  55. Stacie

    Birthday outfit #1 does true homage to the great Ms. Hepburn. I have always loved her style and you absolutely capture that effortless sophistication and elegance. Nicely done! And Happy Birthday! God bless!

  56. Jacqueline Ferri

    Anita! I love that fabric and the outfit is gorgeous! But what was really inspiring was your story and the photos of you with your handsome sons . Your grandma sounds like a wonderful woman . I see her love of hats!
    Thank you for sharing!

  57. Marita

    You look so glamorous in that outfit. I showed my husband and he agreed.
    You did a great fix on that mistake. It totally looks as if it was always meant to be that way.


  58. Latonya

    I love the outfit, hat, and the color. You looked beautiful as always. Hope you had a happy birthday.

  59. Devoria

    You have your birthday, evening/party, and holiday dress, all in one.
    This is the most gorgeous outfit, and that top really sets if off!??❤️????
    That outfit would be astronomically pricey in the big box stores.

  60. Maureen

    Anita, you look beautiful in your Birthday dress. Happy Birthday.

  61. Ida

    Loved the post! Thank you for sharing your beautiful grandmother with us!
    Happy Birthday month Beautiful Lady!
    You sure inspire me!?

  62. Elsie

    Let me just say: WOW, WOW, OUT OF SIGHT!!! You were fierce on your birthday! ????. I loved ? ALL 3 LOOKS. But, my favorite is the Audrey Hepburn look, very glamorous. ALT himself would have written a fabulous review for Vogue. ??? Happy belated birthday. ???

    Thank you for all the inspiration,

  63. Yvette

    You look FAB-U-LOUS!! Love all the looks! I hope you had a spectacular birthday celebration ? your family

  64. Lydia

    Happy Birthday, Anita! You look fabulous sew sister!

  65. Lisa

    Happy Birthday! I really like the center seam being off-center, it goes with the asymmetry of the top!

  66. Shon Cowan

    Yesssss Yessss Yessss!! ?
    You ALWAYS do the darn thing!! That dress and whole look (as you know) is simply gorgeous!! Fits so beautifully!! Be so glad when I can see to fit myself as well! Go ahead Anita! So happy for you!

    Happy Blessed Birthday Celebration all month! I ain’t even mad ha!

    Love you Sis!



    1. Anita Morris

      Shon!!! Thank you so much! Listen, once you start sewing for yourself, you will never go back to buying clothes. I can’t wait for you to join the SEW Sisters!!!

  67. Robin

    Happy Birthday, Anita! Your dress is stunning and so are you. Thanks for posting and keeping us informed on your sewing projects. Enjoy your birthday month!

    1. Anita Morris

      Thank you so much, Robin! I’m enjoying my birthday month so far. I have more great outings planned with friends and family. I’m so excited!!! ?

  68. Anita Morris

    Oh my goodness, Eileen! We had such an amazing evening. They were all smiles and this mama was overjoyed and delighted.

  69. Tonya (Little Stitchy)

    Happy Birthday Ms Anita! You look absolutely stunning in your elegant 2piece gown. Well Done!
    Unbelievable the skirt patter has 11 pieces! Whew!
    I agree, I think the finished product looks much more streamlined without that enormous bow. I think it would add a bunch of bulk (literally) and take from the elegance of the look.
    I actually have the McCall’s Pattern that you used for the top and have made a couple of TNT dresses. The free hand pattern hack you made and the back dart and off-centered seam look like they absolutely belong right where you put them. Amazing results! The mistake you made while cutting…. well let me tell you, I can totally relate and definitely literally screamed so load the cat screamed too. LOL =^..^=
    The inspiration that you give other Sewists is priceless. Making a cutting mistake is devastating but you made an even better finished product from that mistake. You are a true champion 🙂
    Thank you for sharing,
    Keep stitching!

    1. Anita Morris

      Little Stitchy!!! Thank you so much. I just laughed out so LOUD about you and the cat screaming! LOLOL!!! ? That is too funny! I love McCall’s 7531 forever. I love it when we can turn our mistakes into masterpieces.

  70. Henrietta Brown

    Hello Anita
    Your whole out fit is right on point.

  71. Caroline

    You look stunning. Happy Birthday!!

  72. Anita Pitre

    Girlfriend, you are wearing that DRESS!! It looks amazing on you and I’m envying that size 10 frame of yours. (I lost mine about 10 years ago, LOL)

    All of the ways you styled it are very classy. I would have also tried to style it with the bow draped over that left shoulder, if I wasn’t wearing the hat…just so that it wouldn’t be so busy. But I’m loving all the ways you made it work. <3 <3

    Bravo, SEW SISTER!!

    1. Anita Morris

      Anita!!! Thank you so much! Oh, YES! The bow over the shoulder would be absolutely stunning (without the hat).

  73. France

    Dear Anita,

    You look beautiful in your birthday gown as always ! Than you for sharing and Happy Birthday ! You are an inspiration !

  74. Carla Leilani

    Happy Birthday Anita, you look absolutely amazing! I absolutely love each piece. I initially thought it was a dress. Reading this I now know that you made a skirt and top. Love, Love, Love everything about your Birthday look. I saw your post on Instagram and when you pulled out the red handkerchief, all I could say was WoW!! Shine Bright like a diamond! You are such an inspiration.

    1. Anita Morris

      Carla!!! Thank you so much! Oh, I’m so glad you saw the video on Instagram. That handkerchief is absolutely beautiful. I’ll have to share a close up one day when I wear it with another outfit that I make.

  75. Lia Walker

    You are absolutely beautiful inside and out! The gown is FABULOUS, too. Keep inspiring us all! Blessings!

  76. Brenda Maxey

    Forgot to say Happy Birthda!

  77. Vanessa Knight

    Your birthday dress was stunning, you were absolutely beautiful as always.

  78. Gaynell

    Hi Anita. That is one beautiful gown! You looked great wearing it. Happy Belated Birthday!!?

  79. Brenda Maxey

    Thanks for fixing the problem, I thought it was my issue somehow. The outfit is beautiful, you are lovely, and I appreciate hearing that things don’t always go perfectly on every project, somehow that’s encouraging, lol. I have a question: How much fabric do you buy when you find something you love but don’t have a clue what you will make with it. Being a quilter I often have this problem, and it does become a stash-storage issue, lol. Your handsome sons look like they’re very proud to be taking mom to a birthday dinner celebration.

    1. Anita Morris

      Hi Brenda! I’m so glad the SEW Sisters brought it to my attention. I’m glad you like the outfit.

      Sometimes, when I look at the fabric, I have an idea of what kind of garment, just not which pattern I’ll use. For instance: If I see a fabric and think it will look nice as a maxi dress, I’ll get 4-5 yards. If I’m thinking pants, I’ll get 2-3 yards. I always get extra because I’m always changing my mind. LOL! And, like you, the fabric collection has grown over the years. That’s why I stopped buying fabric for so long after my purge a few years ago.

      My birthday dinner with the boys was so amazing.

  80. Lisa St


  81. Krista

    You look absolutely stunning! I love the story of your grandmother’s hat. It looks lovely with your birthday gown. Happy Birthday!

    1. Anita Morris

      Thank you so much, Krista! Thank you for reading and the birthday love.

  82. Dagmar

    Dear Anita, happy Birthday to you?, you look beautiful, chic and elegant your outfit! I also have got some hats inherited from my dearest grandma, she would be 103 years old this year if she was alive, I remember her everyday. Your styling options are awesome ?, I would style it similar. Enjoy the summertime!

    1. Anita Morris

      Hi Dagmar! Oh, how awesome that you have hats from your grandma too. Thank you so much. You enjoy your summertime too.

  83. Monique

    Happy Belated Birthday, Anita! You look fabulous – beautiful dress.

  84. Dorothy S Veal

    Hey Anita, I just love the dress, and you look fabulous in it. Loved the pics, family is everything. And Happy Birthday (month), all the best to you. Dorothy

    1. Anita Morris

      Thank you so much, Dorothy. Yes, family is EVERYTHING!!!