Sunday, January 17, 2010
Meet Wilda Corinne Leatherwood Foster
In this picture she was probably about 20 and about to be married.
She was an accomplished seamstress, and taught me to sew beginning when I was 5 years old.
She put me on her lap and I guided the fabric while her feet worked the treadle.
Every time she came up from Fort Worth to visit, she'd take me to buy "material" (we NEVER called it fabric) and helped me lay out a pattern and cut and sew it.
By the time I was a young teen I was sewing many of my own clothes.
Even after she retired and lived in a small apartment, she kept a"machine" (we never had to specify "sewing" machine!) and altered and repaired clothing for herself and her neighbors and friends.
They say sewing skips a generation, and while my mother certainly could sew, she rarely did so, and why not since I was there to whip up stuff.
My mother, however was a "maker"- she could and did make anything. But she left the sewing for her mother and me. More on her another time.
Anyhow, when it came time to choose a name for my business, I wanted to honor my grandmother and acknowledge the debt I owe her. I chose her maiden name rather than her married name because, for one thing, it's a cool name, and also because her mother, my great-grandmother Leatherwood, was a great seamstress also. I am fortunate to have some of the things she made, stored in my mother's cedar chest.
I think my grandmother would be astonished if she were alive to see where her influence has led me! I have spent my entire life sewing one thing or another, and it constantly amazes me that this basic skill I learned literally at my grandmother's knee is now I make my living now.