Local seamstress sews unique costume for Santa


Tim Mitchell

Tim Mitchell as Santa Clause.

Kelee Mills, Staff Writer

With Christmas coming right around the corner some people like to dress up in Santa suits. Santa suits can be purchased online, but they can also be handmade out of anything. 

Harrisburg resident Grace Stephens recently crafted a very special Santa suit. 

Stephens has been sewing for ¨50 plus years.¨ She has sewed all different kinds of things in that time

¨I have made wedding dresses, prom dresses, just about anything and now Santa’s suit,¨ Stephens said. 

The complexity of this type of sewing requires special skill, but according to Stephens, she is ¨self-taught”  and considers her talent a  “gift from God.”

This was her very first time sewing for Santa. Mitchell made the costume for Harrisburg resident Tim Mitchell.

¨They called and asked to make his costume and suggested to make the old time costume and use his mother’s 50- plus year old mink coat,¨ Stephens said.

Mitchell is happy with the results. 

¨It is tailor-made. It fits; she did a fabulous job. She took measurements, so it feels good wearing it, not uncomfortable, and a little hot to wear. It is real fur,¨ Mitchell said. 

Mitchell came up with the idea of using his mother’s mink coat. He asked Stephens to make him a traditional suit. 

¨I got the idea from The Christmas Chronicles movies,¨ Mitchell said  

Using an heirloom added a little something special to the project. 

¨It is a very enjoyable experience,¨ Stephens said. 

Mitchell has been playing Santa for ¨35 years.”

¨I lived in Mt. Vernon, originally, went to all the churches and did the programs. After having the suit at churches, I kept the suit,” Mitchell said. 

To further hone his skills, Mitchell went to Santa school in Georgia where there were  “about 100 Santas¨ in attendance.

In addition to the real mink fur on his costume, Mitchell sports his own white beard and hair.

“Kids love the real beard,” Mitchell said.

Playing the role is  fun for Santa Mitchell.

¨I enjoy seeing the kids smile…the adults usually want  to have pictures with me. I once had dogs come in. I had fun with the dogs taking pictures,¨ Mitchell said.

Children and pets aren’t the only ones who enjoy photos with Santa though.

“I had an elderly man who was 70, his son was 50 that came in once,” Mitchell said. 

Once he had ¨75 kids at a church picture session.¨ 

Mitchell’s favorite part about being Santa is ¨the joy it brings to families, get-togethers.”

“Once you put the suit on, you feel like a magical being. The adults enjoy Santa, and it brings joy to my face to see everyone happy,¨ Mitchell said. 

Tim Mitchell as Santa Clause (Tim Mitchell )
Tim Mitchell as Santa Clause. (Grace Stephens)