Seamstress Lalanda Little, the owner of Gifted Hands Custom Sewing and Alterations, is so gifted that she can create a design by looking at a photo.
BY ERNISA BARNWELL, Contributor
ST. PETERSBURG — For more than 30 years, Lalanda Little has formulated fashions and performed alterations. Some call her a seamstress, but most of her clientele call her gifted. That is how she came to name her business Gifted Hands Custom Sewing and Alterations.
After losing her job of 10 years because of management changes, Little decided to turn her part-time passion into a full-time firm. She makes alterations and sews clothing from patterns she creates, enjoying formal gowns and prom dresses the most.
Little feels she inherited her seamstress skills from her mother and aunt. She started off by watching them and moved into hemming her parent’s clothes.
“Having short parents helped me,” she laughed, noting that they gave her plenty of practice.
Little’s formal training started when she took home economics in middle and high school. She was always strutting around with one-of-a-kind fashions because her skill level had grown so much, she designed her own clothes.
While in college at Bethune-Cookman, Little was able to help her parents out by earning some spending money, alleviating some of their burdens.
“I made the drum major’s pants during the band department’s fiscal pinch,” Little reminisced. “Mr. Barry was the band director at that time. I learned a lot from traveling with the band.”
She recently designed a risqué party dress that she said was one of the most complicated designs she’d ever made due to the mix media and fabric combination of chain links with fur and pearls.
“The outfit was inspired by something Cardi B wore,” she explained. “My client brought the picture to me, and I duplicated it. I am not fearful of what appears to be a challenge, so if someone brings me a design they like, I can bring the design to fruition.”
Little has never had to advertise for business. Her clients come from word of mouth. “The fashions and alterations advertise themselves.”
Little is a part of the intricate tapestry that makes up the Black experience in St. Petersburg. Born at Mercy Hospital, she attended area schools and even went to Boca Ciega with Angela Bassett.
For more information on Gifted Hands Custom Sewing and Alterations, please call 727-488-0668.