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Who is Harper? First, Meet Nona

Updated: Jun 3, 2023

The story behind the name of the newest Children’s Corner pattern, Harper, begins with a chance meeting on Nona Gaston’s first American Airlines trip as a flight attendant. Nona, whose long association with and support of the Children’s Corner date back to its early days, met her husband, Harper, a retired dentist, on that inaugural journey. And 14 years ago, one of the Gastons’ granddaughters, Harper Cherrington Dale, was named after her grandfather, who was named after his grandfather.

Choosing a name for the new bubble pattern to honor Nona and her family wasn’t difficult with her longtime backing of the business, her love of sewing and her devotion to her loved ones. A Virginia native, Nona says her grandmother taught her to sew when she was a child. “I started sewing when I was 6 or 7 and went to spend time with my grandmother,” she says. “I still have the treadle sewing machine I learned on in my sewing room. I would take her a picture out of a magazine and she would cut a pattern out of newspaper.” Nona says she has loved to sew ever since. “It’s my total relaxation. It’s just my true love. … I enjoy going down into my sewing room. Everything is at peace when I’m down there. It brings back memories of when I used to sit and sew with my grandmother. … Those were good memories for me,” she recalls. Nona became one of the owners of the Children’s Corner pattern company shortly after the business started and was involved on that level for about a decade. “Everything was so new – we had just a couple of bolts of fabric come in and we made things to order – it just kind of grew from there,” she says. “… Lezette (Thomason) and Ginger (Caldwell) did a great job building it to what it is today. I’m just so proud of owners Karen and Emily because they’ve taken it to even another level.” Nona sewed for all three of her children, Lindsey, Tiffany and Glenn, and for her eight grandchildren, as well.

“It’s therapeutic. I think it’s the gratification of sitting down, almost like an author with a blank piece of paper. All of a sudden, he has 10 chapters written for a book. I sit down with a piece of fabric and I can picture a garment in my mind and take it from start to finish. It’s a good feeling of accomplishment,” she says. A loyal Sit ‘N Sew member, Nona says she values the inspiration she gets from those in the group and the sense of community. She is optimistic about the future of children’s sewing. “I think Karen and Emily are doing a wonderful job of keeping the balance” between classic heirloom sewing and more modern garments, including knits, that appeal to today’s young mothers, she says. As for young Harper, she is headed for high school in the fall. “She’s an exceptional young lady who makes us proud every day,” Nona says. By Anne Gillem

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