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Mama Gert's Story

Mama Gert’s fabric is named to honor my great-grandmother, Gertrude McGaha Hughes. She was known by every generation in our family as Mama Gert. Mama Gert was a seamstress for the public. She did not know how to read, write, or drive a car, but she created beautiful clothes from stacks of fabric and patterns brought to her by her customers.

She could often be seen in her flower gardens wearing the bonnets that she made for herself. She even made a bonnet for me once. She was a spirited soul who would giggle as she sprayed water from her garden hose into your car window as you drove by her.

I can remember pulling a polyester hot pink mini skirt that had straps attached to it that were frilly out of my mother’s closet, and being allowed to wear it. My mother told me that Mama Gert had made that for her when she was a teenager back in the 1960s.

I was blessed to be able to visit with her on occasion, since her oldest daughter, my grandmother, lived next door to her. I can remember being fascinated with her pretty pincushions, her Singer sewing machine that was run by a pedal, and other sewing tools. I can remember being told at an early age not to touch any of them, because that was how Mama Gert made her living. I do not know if she ever understood how revered and loved she was. Sitting on her front porch with family on Sunday afternoon was always an honor.