SAN ANTONIO – A San Antonio woman has dedicated her life to sewing children’s clothes for charities in need. Kathleen Gamble, 40, created her own non-profit company called, “Too Kute to Sleep In.”
“I make an outfit and I mail it off to charity,” Gamble said. “I’ll send about five or six outfits to organizations that say they will take my clothes.”
She’s officially been doing this since 2016.
“I have done about 70 to 80 outfits so far this year and it only takes a day,” Gamble said. “I just do girls' clothing for toddlers who are 18-months-old in patterns I like. I just go and can’t stop.”
Gamble said she has always wanted to learn how to sew since 2004 but didn’t act on it until 2014 due to life circumstances.
“I was dealing with moving and finishing college and had a fear of not doing it, but I was very scared that I was going to be the slow person in the class,” Gamble said.
This insecurity started when she was a young child.
“I was about 5 ½ years old and my kindergarten teacher suggested I needed to be tested academically,” Gamble said. “She was a speech pathologist and diagnosed me as being borderline developmentally challenged and severely dyslexic.”
She said it was what her speech pathologist said to her parents that would stick with her for the rest of her life.
“She said, I was borderline r******* and severely dyslexic and was the worst thing she’d ever seen,” Gamble said. “She wasn’t kind about it and my dad protested what she was saying to him and she was like, ‘You don’t question my intelligence and I don’t question your theology.’”
Since then, Gamble said she never did well in school.
“I know people would say, ‘Don’t listen to her,’ but during my years, everyone was treating me this way so I thought, ‘Maybe I am stupid, so why try?’”
Gamble said she was also very shy, which added to her stress in school and made her a target of bullying. She said it was her grandfather that made her feel just as normal as everybody else.
“When I was going through that, ‘I don’t know if I am smart, so I am going to assume something is wrong with me,’ he looked past that. He didn’t treat me like I was weird. He was a very warm person.”
Sadly, he died when she was 13, but his life is what pushed her to be the woman she is today.
“He inspired me and my company’s name,” Gamble said. “I have this copy of a Christmas CD from back in the 70s and on it, I can hear his voice. It makes me stronger and motivates me to do this.”
Gamble said her husband encouraged her to act on her goal to start sewing.
“He knew I always wanted to learn how to sew and he asked me, ‘Why don’t you sign up for sewing lessons?’ Thinking I had that learning disability, I was afraid to be the moron in the class,” Gamble said. “He was like, ‘Just do it.’”
She said that experience changed her life.
“It was one-on-one and I would just sit there and wait for my turn and watch everybody sew and learn how to sew and I would think, ‘This is great!’ I have never felt so good in my life,” Gamble said.
As she got better and better, she was called to help her dad at a local hospital.
“My dad was a chaplain at a hospital, and he called one day, and he said, ‘Get out your sewing machine, the hospital needs some outfits,’” Gamble said.
Gamble overcame her insecurities, setting all her problems to the side, when she realized there were others out there in need.
“Thinking about children in foster care or families who just don’t have any clothes,” Gamble said. “I just said, ‘Enough of crying about my problems,’ because there were others out there dealing with way worse.”
Gamble said she also helps those in need in honor of her best friend who passed away in 2019.
“Julia was my best friend,” Gamble said. “She was the strongest person I knew. She was blind and I think that blindness was a blessing for me because she was the most non-judgmental person. You could say the stupidest thing and she would be giggling. She was so independent and was taught to be fearless. We found out she got diagnosed with breast cancer January 2019 and she was gone September 22, 2019. I was like, ‘Is this really happening?’”
Gamble has gone through many losses in her life, including her father who also recently passed away, but she said she has to keep pushing to serve others through her sewing.
“I know they are all in a better place,” Gamble said. “Julia is not hurting anymore. My dad finally knows everything he has been preaching his entire life in ministry, and my grandfather needed to be in heaven with my grandmother. My dad’s voice is also on that Christmas CD. I would go outside and pace back and forth on the back patio listening to that song and see the stars in the sky and know they are watching over me.”