Saturday, September 29, 2012

Oleta's Insights

And, last but not least, our guest post today is from the person where I get my inspiration. She is my teacher, my mentor, my mother, Oleta.

Who taught you to sew? 
Being the youngest child of six girls and one boy, we all sewed. Our mother helped us and we learned from each other. When I was five and my sister next to me was seven, we would take turns paddling the treadle sewing machine for the other to sew. I remember clearly, we made doll clothes. 
Why did you start sewing? 
Never really wondered why I started sewing. It was just something we did. Everybody sewed either by hand or machine, even our neighbors came over and sewed with us. 
What inspires you? 
I get inspired with the designing aspect, especially making formals and wedding dresses. I love listening to another’s description of how they want their special dress to look. I then sketch it out until it meets their vision, and then make it happen! 
I’ve made special dresses for both my girls and both granddaughters, and a niece, and my girls’s high school teacher who did not have a mother to do it for her. In fact, for Leola, I designed the whole wedding, picked out the material, beading, lace, and even designed and made the hats worn by the bride and bridesmaids.
Leslie & Leasa getting ready for prom night

Leslie's dress
Leslie's petal sleeves

Working on Leasa's dress
Leasa's finished dress



Leola and Oleta

Leola's soft train

The Ladies

Close up of Bridesmaid dress

What do you love most about sewing? 
Making it right the first time without having to rip out the seam and start over. 
What are your favorite things to make? 
Things that a family member would like to have. 
What is your favorite sewing tip or trick? 
After testing first on a scrap, always press anything that has a nap to it by first laying out a terry hand towel then place the garment face down on the towel. Lightly put the iron on the wrong side. 
What is your favorite project you have created? 
One day I brought in a large brown paper sack filled with pieces of white, shaded with blue, fur skins and the tape I’d gotten at a furrier. From the pieces, I made a fingertip length coat. I only had it a year, before someone took it during a home burglary. 
Another favorite project was the designing and making of my high school Senior Day outfit. It was a red linen two piece dress with a bright print sash, a white hat with a band of sash material, and white shoes with a band of the sash material. I received the opportunity to model it and present my fashion drawings to the Dallas Sportswear Meeting of Representatives. This effort resulted in winning the Neiman Marcus Design Scholarship to Southern Methodist University in Dallas
What are you currently working on? 
Well, I was going to make a print skirt for a yellow jacket I have to wear to a last club meeting before Fall arrived. But, that was before I stepped on a needle and had to have eleven stitches in my right foot! Maybe I can get it done before next spring!

Thank you, Oleta, my sweet momma, for sharing insights into your world of sewing! I hope everyone stopping by leaves her a comment!


  1. You my dear lady are so talented. What beautiful creations you have made. How lucky Lanetta is that you have passed that talent and love of sewing on to her. I love the picture of you and Leola...she was my favorite teacher and you made her radiance all the more glowing. Thank you for the stories of how it began.

  2. This brought back so many memories! My mother sewed and you couldn't walk in our house without stepping on pins. To this day, we occasionally find a pin on the floor in our house--a house my mother never lived in or sewed in, mind you--and know that my mother must have left it for us to find!

    She wasn't very interested in teaching--would much rather make it than slow down to explain things. And I wasn't very interested in learning. So unlike Lanetta, I didn't carry this gift forward.

    I particularly loved the photos. Which church was Leola's wedding at? I see a stained glass window behind her so am curious. Also, the prom dresses made me think of young girls in a Jane Austen novel, dressed in white for their first coming out ball!

    Thanks for bringing back so many wonderful memories, Lanetta and Oleta!


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