Local seamstress opens shop

Seamstress, featured
Tanasha Whiting

BY HOLLY KESTENIS, Staff Writer

ST. PETERSBURG –Missing zippers, torn garments…no problem. Local seamstress, Tanasha Whiting has opened up a new shop guaranteed to not only fix all your tailoring needs but even promises to find creative solutions to revitalizing those old outfits.

Tasha’s Threads, located at 3110 First Ave. N., Suite #8W, reflects Whiting’s nickname, Tasha, and is open for business. Whiting hopes to bring on new customers to add to her existing base and is offering an array of services.

Basic alterations such as hemming, taking in and letting out waist sizes and replacing zippers and buttons is available anytime. But simple alterations are not all you can order.

Whiting boasts she can make just about any kind of alteration needed in order to keep your garments going strong. She’s excited about the future of fashion and her ability to create clothing masterpieces, and working with African clothing is her specialty.

“That has been trending for over four years now,” she said, “and I don’t see that trend ending anytime soon.”

Tanasha Whiting

Tanasha Whiting

Along with African fabrics, Whiting is an expert in every day wear, maxi skirts and the high/low skirt.

“I can pretty much replicate from a picture,” she said.

Tasha’s Threads doesn’t shy away from formal garments either. She’s happy to create anything a customer needs, but they are special orders. Primarily she likes to stick with creating skirts, pants, dresses and jackets.

Whiting is excited about the new storefront because until recently she did her business out of her house. But through the power of networking and word of mouth, she discovered that the Pinellas Opportunity Council was offering a grant to help someone start up a small business.

“When the opportunity came, I jumped at it,” said Whiting who took a lot of classes through St. Petersburg Greenhouse in order to qualify for the grant.

She also prepared a business plan. But even as Whiting went through the process of going through all the criteria to get the grant money, she still didn’t see herself moving her business out of the home.

She used the grant money to purchase tools she needed to have a full-blown business. Sewing supplies, fabric, ironing boards and sewing machines.

But her husband, Michael Whiting of Whiting’s BBQ, also conducts business out of the house and at times running two businesses simultaneously tended to conflict.

“It didn’t always work in my favor,” said Whiting, who is celebrating her first month in her new location. “We’re really excited to be there.”

With a storefront, Whiting can better schedule her clients, which are guaranteed a professional environment to come to.

“That’s been really great to offer them,” she said.

Whiting believes the art of sewing has been lost.

“There is a whole generation of women who do not know how to sew buttons on their husband’s shirt,” she explained. “That’s a nice thing to be able to do for your spouse.”

She encourages every woman and even men to forget their fears and learn the basics of sewing. She suggests finding a friend who is willing to take them through the process step-by-step.

“You don’t have to be a professional seamstress to tack a button on,” she said. In fact, light mending can be learned in a matter of minutes.

And with over 13 years’ experience working in marketing, Whiting isn’t wasting time putting her business and advertising knowledge to work either. To bring sewing back into the mainstream, she’s offering courses.

Adult sewing classes for beginners have started and will be held Monday nights at 6:30 p.m. Classes are also offered on Wednesdays and Thursdays beginning at noon.

Students can pay as they go, $25 a week, or get a discount by paying for the full eight weeks upfront. Classes run an hour and a half and Whiting promises to guide every student through the process.

“I’m honored to pass on something that’s been in my family for a very long time,” said Whiting. “The sewing machines are made pretty sturdy. You can’t break anything.”

A graduate of the Pinellas Technical Education Center, now known as Pinellas Technical College, Whiting learned the tools of her trade in their fashion design program.

“Back in the day, there was a garment making program at the school,” she said. “I came to St. Pete specifically for that program.”

Whiting believes in upcycling and reuses old, torn clothes turning them into new creations. If she finds holes in her son’s jeans, she cuts them at the knees, hems them and creates shorts, thus extending the life of the pants. Clients often bring old pairs of jeans, army fatigues and assorted garments to Whiting who then turns them into dresses or skirts.

“Those are really fun projects,” she said. “The fabric kind of tells me what it wants to be.”

Whiting showcases her work on social media, pairing her creations with t-shirts and accessories from other local small business owners. Currently, word of mouth, tags and referrals is her main source of customers.

So, if you have torn garments that need mending, or are looking for a new way to wear some old clothing, stop on by Tasha’s Threads, or call at (727) 565-9570.

You can also see some of Whiting’s creations via her many social media pages, like Facebook. Just type in Tasha’s Threads. She can also be found on Instagram and Pinterest.

And remember, at Tasha’s Threads, “If you dream it, we make it.”

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