VENTURA COUNTY, Calif. - A local seamstress known for her authentic and coveted Flamenco-style dresses is racking up a record number of creations for this year's Old Spanish Days celebration in Santa Barbara.
Candi Cruz has made at least 130 dresses for Fiesta dancers and locals gearing up for the 5 day celebration; she estimates she normally makes 100 dresses. Each creation takes 10 hours.
NewsChannel 3 visited Cruz Wednesday morning at the shop inside her Ventura County home. Her hands were busy inching royal blue fabric trimmed with white lace through a sewing machine. The rack behind her held flouncy dresses adorned with blue, red and black polka next to a pale, pink skirt tiered with ruffles.
The dressmaker credits her grandmother for teaching her how to sew as a young teen. Cruz said by the age of 15, she was making clothes for herself and her sisters while living in Mexico. She said she also finessed her technique at school.
Cruz said she loves working with fabrics, mixing textures and colors, but the favorite part of her efforts is the moment she walks into local dance studios, where many of the girls wear her creations.
"The little girls, when they see me they start screaming, 'Oh, Candi's here!' Because they love the dresses. I think that's the best part," Cruz said.
Old Spanish days kicks off Wednesday, August 2 and runs through Sunday, August 6.