gmhTODAY 22 gmhToday Oct Nov 2018 - Page 96

Fidelina's Custom Alterations & Bridal Always there with a stitch! Written By Kimberly Ewertz T he building with the familiar blue door and matching sign located at the corner of Fifth and Eigleberry has been home to Fidelina’s custom alterations and bridal shop for over 22 years. Owner, operator, and longtime Gilroy resident, Fidelina Leos’ love of sewing began when she was a little girl growing up in the town of San Carlos, a municipality of El Salvador. Mama Caya, Leos’s grandmother, was a seamstress and her inspiration. “She, (Mama Caya), said I was too little to use her machine, so when she wasn’t there I started using her machine,” Leos said with a smile, adding that at nine years old she made her first skirt. By the age of 12 Leos was making all her own clothes and drawing attention from her friends and neighbors. “I would make dresses for my neighbors, some for free and some would pay me a little,” Leos said. 96 GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN At the age of 21 civil war broke out in her country prompting Leos to relocate to the United States. Intent on creating a better life for her and her young daughter, Lizetha Orellana, she left Lizetha with her mother and made her way alone, to the United States. “I came here by myself on the bus,” Leos said, adding, “I think about the things I did and God helped me and he took care of me.” The day after her arrival in Los Angeles Leos wasted no time in securing employment as a seamstress. She remained at that job for a year before making her second move, to Texas. Two years later Lizetha had joined her, and the two moved to Gilroy to live with family, Leos’ cousin. Once again Leos wasted no time in securing employment. Soon after arriving in Gilroy she secured a job at a men’s store in Morgan Hill. When she later discovered a job posting for a seamstress position in Gilroy, she decided to apply. OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2018 gmhtoday.com