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CITY FOCUS: Charity service in the seams

A required community service project has turned into a labor of love for 14-year-old Kaitlyn Waidley.

Kaitlyn, a freshman at Laguna Beach High School, has spent her summer preparing several costumes for a lucky little girl whom she doesn’t even know.

The costumes are to be auctioned at Camino Health Center’s annual fundraiser.

“It brings in a significant amount for the clinic," said Kaitlyn’s mother Ericka, who worked as a consultant for the Laguna Beach Community Clinic and is a member of the Camino Health Center Auxiliary, which holds the annual fashion show and luncheon.

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When she learned that a costume trunk was a silent auction item last year, she told her daughter about it.

“It sounded really fun," Kaitlyn said. “I wanted to do something to help."

She is now sewing on evenings and weekends to have all of the costumes ready for the Nov. 20 event, which will be at the Ritz Carlton in Dana Point.

After hours of poring through pattern books at the fabric store, Kaitlyn selected four patterns for a girl size 6 to 8: Tinkerbell, Sleeping Beauty, a cowgirl and a poodle skirt.

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She is also adding a fairy costume of her own design.

Kaitlyn selected all of the fabrics and notions she used. She also picked out accessories to match the costumes, from a pink wand to a feather boa.

She is currently working on a sparkly pink Sleeping Beauty confection. Her silky green Tinkerbell costume is bedecked with pink pom poms, and her custom fairy skirt will have dangling pastel ribbons festooned with flowers.

She also displayed business acumen by waiting until the fabric store was having a sale before picking up most of her yardage. She is also keeping track of her hours, and estimates that each costume takes about 12 hours to complete.

There is a definite artistic inclination in the Waidley household. One of Kaitlyn’s brothers owns a silkscreening business; the other is a graphic artist. Her mother is also an accomplished seamstress.

Kaitlyn’s room is a tropical haven, with a gauzy canopied bed and a wall mural by her brother.

She and Ericka both spent the summer volunteering at the Pageant of the Masters; Kaitlyn was a lantern bearer in a Chinese New Year segment, while her mother worked in the dressing room.

Kaitlyn said she would like to appear in one of the tableaux in the future, but had fun helping her mother in the wardrobe area.

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She has sewn many items to date, from pajama bottoms to purses to Halloween costumes.

Her next projects include completing a Halloween witch costume and preparing a black Christmas dress, with two coordinating jackets.

Ericka said her daughter typically selects difficult patterns, which allows her to learn something new every time.

Each high school student is required to complete 40 hours of community service per year.

Kaitlyn’s taken sewing and quilting classes, but plans to fulfill her remaining hours working at the Pacific Marine Mammal Center.

“I really want to work with sea lions," she said.



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