Nude for Who?: Sheer Stretch Fabrics with Melanin

0.75x 1x 1.25x 1.5x 2x 0:0000:52:10 Nude for Who?: Sheer Stretch Fabrics with Melanin


Episode Summary

Natasha Clute is a owner of Ta-osh Designs, a company specializing in custom sewing including dancewear and other beautifully elaborate costumes with the illusion of skin. In addition to offering travel sewing services and alterations, Natasha has revolutionized what it means for black women sewists to be able to select “nude” fabrics that actually match our skin.

Episode Notes

Designs by TAOSH Contact Information

Etsy shop to purchase illusion fabrics


Also mentioned in the podcast

RIT Dye color formulas

The Sax Dinner Theater in Washington DC

Lisa’s affinity for/as a “regular black girl” as Tressie McMillan Cottom describes in her award-winning book THICK (Hey, Friend, Hey!)

Support Stitch Please and the Black Women Stitch Project




Cash App


Read Full Transcript

[00:00:00] Lisa Woolfork: Hello, stitchers. Welcome to stitch, please. The official podcast of black women's stitch, the sewing group, where black lives matter. I'm your host Lisa wool fork. I'm a fourth generation sewing enthusiast with more than 20 years of sewing experience. I am looking forward to today's conversation. So sit back, relax, and get ready to get your stitch together.
[00:00:41] Lisa Woolfork: I am delighted to be joined by Natasha Clete the proprietor of, um, Tasha's designs. I was first introduced to Tasha's work through a friend, uh, finer fabrics by Kora Kora, Renee, and I was overwhelmed by what Tasha [00:01:00] had created. And I started reading a bit about her story on Etsy and how she started her shop in 2015.
[00:01:07] Lisa Woolfork: I was really glad that she was able to take some time out of her very busy schedule to talk to us at black women's stitch and stitch, please, and help us get our stitch together with her amazing work. So welcome to the program, Natasha. Thank you so much. Thank you. So let's just get started about a little bit about your so in background, how did you get started?
[00:01:29] Tasha: Well, I've been sewing since I was really young. So about seven or eight, I guess. And, um, sewing has just been, I've been surrounded by seamstresses and crocheters and crafters. Um, my mom's a seamstress, my grandmother sewed a little bit, but she's more of a crocheter and I had a great aunt who was a seamstress. So that's kind of where I believe the, the [00:02:00] love and the, and the gift came.
[00:02:04] Lisa Woolfork: So this is like a family inheritance kind of thing that you got, you grew up seeing these women around you, making really great things. Did they do a lot of sewing for you as a child or when you were young, did you do sewing for yourself or for dolls or that kind of thing?
[00:02:17] Tasha: Oh, absolutely. Um, most of the, you know, church clothes and things of that nature, uh, sometimes school clothes were made. Um, we did a lot of matching and we laugh about it today. Like how. Uh, our family photos, we all have the same fabric and the same , you know, the outfit is a little different, but you know, you can tell that someone made it. So we always laugh about that.
[00:02:44] Tasha: Um, as far as, uh, as a kid, I obviously I wasn't on the sew machine, you know, as a young child, but I started with paper dolls and, uh, back then paper dolls came with a very limited amount of [00:03:00] clothing. In the little book that you got the paper dollars. Yes. And
[00:03:04] Lisa Woolfork: yeah. And it had the little tabs on the shoulders that you could pin over the shoulders.
[00:03:08] Lisa Woolfork: Yes. Very thin. Very delicate. So it's like, they wanted you to fail. It's like they, the paper dog company, they wanted you to fail. They knew the good and well that given this to a child who was gonna be excited and then the tabs rip off, because when you take 'em out of the book, maybe you were too enthusiastic about, and then you had to tape 'em.
[00:03:26] Lisa Woolfork: Oh my gosh. I was like, they just, that was where I think I learned about built in obsolescence. It was like those doggone paper dolls.
[00:03:35] Tasha: true. Uh, what I did was I started with, I started making my old with. Line paper, or if I could get my hands on regular, plain white paper and I would just color it, whatever color I wanted and you know, those types of things.
[00:03:52] Tasha: And as I got older, I started sketching. Wasn't the best I'm. And to this, to this day, I'm, I'm still not the best [00:04:00] sketcher, how I, I started sketching as a teenager and sketching design, sewing less, but, uh, sketching more. So that's when my love of design came in somewhere along that timeframe. Um, and then, um, and from there, it's, it kind of just sat with me
[00:04:23] Lisa Woolfork: I, it seems like it really blossomed.
[00:04:26] Lisa Woolfork: I mean, I, I feel like, you know, even, so something is too dimensional. Um, in some ways as paper dolls can easily T. To, you know, with, I, I love the story of you like coloring and designing your own paper, doll clothes. Like when you think about the flat lays that people do to, um, to talk about their images and stuff like that, that, I don't know.
[00:04:48] Lisa Woolfork: That's, it's, it's a beautiful story and it's a beautiful canvas on which to cast your imagination. So that sounds wonderful. I wanted to get into talking a little bit more about your, uh, company and how you started this in [00:05:00] two, in 2015, and what led you to do. The kind of work that you're doing now because I find it utterly remarkable.
[00:05:08] Lisa Woolfork: Um, folks who know me, some of my friends know that the quickest way to have me be irritated is to call something nude. Um, and I always say white people nude because I mean, because I mean, you know how it is, like when I was a girl, like there wasn't that many places to go get, we had to, we went to church and we had to wear stockings or panty host to church and.
[00:05:31] Lisa Woolfork: If you went to Sears, which is where we would go sometimes to get, you know, hoes and you would look at the, the packets and they say nude, and it was a lie. That word is a lie. The way that it's been passed down to us, nude for who? Exactly. Exactly. It should be nude question mark. It should not be new period.
[00:05:53] Lisa Woolfork: Um, actually I have a, an episode that a short episode that I did last month talking about, and it's called, [00:06:00] um, I think it's that flesh, colored crayon and other nude and other fake nudes. That's what, that's what the name of the episode's called. And it's about as a kid and how I got the, um, 64 crayon crayon box from Crayola.
[00:06:18] Lisa Woolfork: You know what I'm talking about? Remember it? Yes, yes.
[00:06:20] Tasha: Was the ultimate box. Wasn't it? The ultimate
[00:06:23] Lisa Woolfork: box that was like the ultimate box. It felt like you had, like someone had given you like all of the world's treasures. And I still remember cracking it open in the smell of all that fresh wax crayon and stuff.
[00:06:33] Lisa Woolfork: And then it had a sharpener, right? It had a back sharpener. Yeah. Oh my gosh. I love that thing. But there was a crayon in it called flesh and because I was a kid that was very literal, I thought Fleshman skin color. And so that's what I thought was the color you colored people with. And so I remember this so vividly Tasha, I remember [00:07:00] coloring people, like drawing my family and coloring and coloring and coloring and thinking that if I colored it more, it would get darker because why would a crayon company call something skin that didn't work for my skin.
[00:07:19] Lisa Woolfork: Right. Right. Like the crayon company couldn't be wrong. Right. They couldn't be mistaken. I had to be the one that was mistaken and maybe I misunderstood what the word meant when in fact it was just straight up racism. That's what it was. Yeah. It was like the consequence of living in a white supremacist society that you could create a crayon called skin or flesh and then call it white and then have no, and then expect that to go unchallenged.
[00:07:47] Lisa Woolfork: So I remember that really vividly. So anytime I see something that's flesh toed or flesh colored or nude, and I'm like, what do you mean. I love your response nude for who that's exactly right. Yeah. So [00:08:00] what brought you in 2015 to take this step, to do all the work that you're doing now?
[00:08:04] Tasha: 2015? Um, I was working in DC at a little,
[00:08:11] Lisa Woolfork: I'll say littlest.
[00:08:12] Lisa Woolfork: It was a little huge.
[00:08:14] Tasha: Uh, it was a restaurant lounge called S sack restaurant lounge, and it was a dinner theater, um, with performances of all types. Lots of genres of dance and, you know, very theatrical performances, including costuming sometimes super elaborate. Sometimes that's not so much. Um, and as I, while working there, one of the biggest things that I watched the other dancers deal with were, you know, skin tone, tight and bras and things that just aren't nude.
[00:08:54] Tasha: I always kind of in the back of my mind was like, why can that be created? And at the time there were [00:09:00] some companies that were creating, uh, fishnet types, um, in many different skin tones, more that were more than were offered, I guess, at your average store mm-hmm . Um, and from there, I, I think a little bit of a seed was planted, but I didn't really have a solution yet.
[00:09:22] Tasha: Um, and. After that, um, I actually left DC and I moved back home here in Louisiana. And, uh, one of my clients at the time, as I jumped into sewing, you know, exclusively for a living, um, needed a nude colored part to the, to the garment. And I wa I wasn't, I wasn. Thrilled about using what they considered nude in the store.
[00:09:55] Tasha: There was white, right. There was that clean color nude. There [00:10:00] may have been a brown that was really kind of on the darker side. And then there was black and that was it. Hmm. And I was like, what if I tried to dye this white one, another tone of brown would it work? And so I bought two different colors of diet 10 and a brown.
[00:10:21] Tasha: For synthetic fabrics. And I took that dye and I went into my kitchen and I took a couple piece of fabric and I started testing to see if it would give me a color that was even close to what a skin tone color would be. Cause you can get Browns, but it's not a color of someone's skin. Right. Right. So, um, and as I played around with the colors and things of that nature, I've.
[00:10:50] Tasha: Came upon the original 15 colors, which I was thrilled
[00:10:54] Lisa Woolfork: about. That's amazing.
[00:10:57] Tasha: And from the 15 [00:11:00] colors, I kind of, I picked a color that was closest to her skin tone. And, you know, at that point it was just kind of like, okay, now I have a solution for myself when people come to me for a new garment, but I hadn't thought outside of the box from that point yet, that's kind of just where it was.
[00:11:20] Lisa Woolfork: I am so glad that you decided to think outside of the box because it is a huge box. Um, there's so many people who want what you are producing and who have a, a really urgent need for it. And so I really love how you said that your background was in costing and design and working with costumes where you needed to have the illusion of.
[00:11:43] Lisa Woolfork: and I'm looking at, um, some of the beautiful costumes and garments on your page. Um, are these for carnival? There, there
[00:11:49] Tasha: are a few there that were created for, for carnival or for general purpose. Sometimes I just create
[00:11:55] Lisa Woolfork: things just to create, especially when
[00:11:58] Tasha: I have downtime and [00:12:00] I, I have a
[00:12:01] Lisa Woolfork: lot of,
[00:12:02] Tasha: uh, accessories that I need to either get rid of, or I just feel inspired.
[00:12:24] Lisa Woolfork: Well, Natasha has certainly inspired me. I'm speaking with Natasha clue of TAs designs. After the break, we'll talk more with Natasha about her range of 15 colors for black women. Exponentially blossomed into a huge field of beautiful and delicious colors. Stay tuned to learn more
[00:12:53] Lisa Woolfork: stitch please. The black women's stitch podcast talks a lot about sewing. But if you'd like to [00:13:00] see some of what we're discussing, we invite you to follow us on the socials on Facebook. You can find us at stitch, please. And on Instagram, you can find us at black women's stitch on Instagram. You'll find a lot of great pictures and compelling social commentary.
[00:13:16] Lisa Woolfork: In addition, you can participate in a weekly live Instagram chat at 3:00 PM. On Thursdays at Eastern standard time. So follow us on the socials. Facebook at stitch, please and Instagram at black women's stitch. And get your stitch together.
[00:13:37] Lisa Woolfork: I'm joined today by Natasha clued of TAs designs. Let's tune in and hear about how creativity and creating something for herself led to this beautiful array of melanated fabrics and hear more about how Tasha's focus, her combination of creativity and chemistry, her diligence, and willingness to start over.[00:14:00]
[00:14:00] Lisa Woolfork: Has led to this really amazing, gorgeous set of fabrics that black women can now enjoy, stay tuned.
[00:14:12] Lisa Woolfork: Tell me, why do you think it's important to have, uh, for folks, for SOS to be able to have access to meshes and foundation garments or foundation fabrics that match their skin
[00:14:28] Tasha: when, when you. When you're making a garment for someone that essentially is supposed to be nude or unseen, the key word is unseen.
[00:14:39] Tasha: So whatever that element is, whether it's, you know, the arms, whether it's, uh, the middle Bodis or whatever that is it in order for it to be in the sense of illusion is what the term that they use. It's important for [00:15:00] it to be the same as their skin tone so that you don't see it. And that's difficult.
[00:15:06] Lisa Woolfork: I love it is it is difficult.
[00:15:08] Lisa Woolfork: And I think, I mean, if you recognize that it's difficult and I recognize that it's difficult just as someone who's never tried to die anything. Um, and I love the word illusion here because I think it is important. Just stepping out, stepping back a bit and think. Um, socially that it's interesting to me that this illusion, like while one illusion is broken the illusion, for example, that you have black folks who have to wear these nude fabrics, these fake news, that look terrible on them, that don't match at all.
[00:15:42] Lisa Woolfork: It's also maintaining another illusion and that's the illusion that whiteness is universal and that anybody can wear. Um, this fake nude, anybody can wear, um, pink ballet slippers and have it match anybody can wear or draw [00:16:00] in their family with a, a flesh colored crayon. And I think that that is just one of those dangers of really small and subtle danger of what it means to live in a white supremacist society, because whiteness is positioned as the default is positioned as.
[00:16:19] Lisa Woolfork: As something that anybody can have access to. And that's totally false. I was thinking about the ballet slippers. I'm not sure if you saw there was a story I did. I did a few years ago. Do you remember that? Wasn't that amazing? Tell me, so my understanding of it was there was a company that was gonna start making nude or flesh colored ballet slippers for black dancers.
[00:16:40] Lisa Woolfork: Is that the one you mean?
[00:16:41] Tasha: Yes. And they have so,
[00:16:43] Lisa Woolfork: yes. So tell me more, like, tell me why that's exciting to you. I know why it's exciting to. Well,
[00:16:48] Tasha: first of all, exciting for me, exciting for my dancer friends, first of all, because that was like one of the biggest issues and, and what they had to do at some [00:17:00] of them had to do was use, I guess, marker or fabric pins, or, or makeup in order to make their T slippers or dance shoes, the same color as their.
[00:17:17] Tasha: So important and excited for, for them for that. And, um, at the same time that that I think it was released and it was kind of, you know, being shared on social media and things I found that was around the same time that I was actually in the kitchen,
[00:17:37] Lisa Woolfork: whipping the
[00:17:39] Tasha: initial badge of, of skin tone colors. So it kind of just, I.
[00:17:46] Tasha: Gave me that, you know, inspiration that I needed to say, okay. So, you know, I'm not the only one out here and it's beginning like it, the, the mindset is [00:18:00] changing to where it's like, okay, this it's been this way, this long, and this hasn't existed. It's it's about time that it did. More than myself, or, you know, there were other people out there that were actually making moves toward that goal.
[00:18:17] Tasha: So that, that's why it was exciting for me. It was like, okay, I'm, I'm, I'm onto a little bit of something, but at that again, at that time, I, you know, I was just doing it for my personal reasons. I had no intentions on putting it out there for the
[00:18:33] Lisa Woolfork: world. It was just a kind
[00:18:34] Tasha: of like for me personally, as a seamstress and a designer,
[00:18:40] Lisa Woolfork: I, I think that's really great because what it shows is that when you make something that kind of answers a specific need, a need that you have, it just shows how likely it is that it's a need that somebody else has.
[00:18:56] Lisa Woolfork: And I think what you've identified, at least in my opinion, is this [00:19:00] huge. Global need. Do you know how many black people are sick and tired of trying to wear fake nude, panty hose? Like a lot,
[00:19:08] Tasha: I've found that out. I've found it recently.
[00:19:12] Lisa Woolfork: It's, it's absolutely true. And so like, what you're doing is really incredibly innovative and it's powerful and it's restorative and by restorative, I mean, like it's re it's helping to restore black people at the center of their own.
[00:19:30] Lisa Woolfork: Of how we dress of how we wanna clothe our body. If I wanted to wear, um, an a, a garment that required illusion fabric, I would be very challenged to find that at any local shop, I just would, you know, um, it just, it's not something that would come up. Right. Um, you know, as, um, as, as, as trust as trust, um, Cotton talks about.
[00:19:57] Lisa Woolfork: So I'm a regular black girl, right? [00:20:00] Dark skin, regular black girl Forcey hair, right? Like that is who I am. And the fabrics that are meant to be for my skin tone are very minimal. They are very hard to find if when I used to do representational quilts and I could find different brown skin tone fabrics, and they were passable, but they weren't made with any deliberate care.
[00:20:25] Lisa Woolfork: in my opinion. So they would have like three or four different white people color, and then they would have two black people color and it just felt so lazy. And so, you know, just like I'm sure people who are much more expert in the makeup world, I don't do a lot of stuff with makeup, but I know that this has also been an issue there, right.
[00:20:45] Lisa Woolfork: Where you have like, you know, we have a Clinique counter at, on my campus. And I just walk over there just for kicks and giggles. Cause I'm never buying anything, but you know, cuz nothing matches. Nothing is nothing. They don't have anything over there for me, you know? And so you see, [00:21:00] they have like this huge array of foundation and 80% of them are for white people.
[00:21:05] Lisa Woolfork: Um, and I'm like, how do you, I don't know. It just seems so I don't know. So cystic, I'm not sure what the right word is. Um, other than just another form of racism to imagine that, um, there are some folks who are worth meeting the needs of, and there are some folks who are not, and unfortunately, like when it comes to, you said with the world of dance by not having flesh toned, leggings and tights and, um, illusion, fabrics, and ballet slippers for black.
[00:21:39] Lisa Woolfork: It sends this subtle message that this is not for you. And I think that that is, that is one of those negative consequences of something that some, some might see as so superficial and not that important, but is pretty important. Oops, I believe this. [00:22:00] So let's talk a bit more about the, the, um, how you transitioned from 15 fabric color.
[00:22:08] Lisa Woolfork: To 85. How did
[00:22:10] Tasha: that happen? Hmm, I have no idea. It's all a blur. Um, so it's been, it's been about a year. Um, but in the first I wanna say six months, um, I, I had the 15 colors and I was, I was perfectly okay with 15 colors, but I hadn't really done the whole bit. I hadn't. Made all my variables consistent. I was just kind of playing with it.
[00:22:42] Tasha: So I said, let me sit, let me go. And let me, let me make sure that my water is consistent temp, the same amount, the same amount of, you know, the same fabric, the same size fabric, like putting everything together, you know, [00:23:00] scientifically to where. If I were going to branch out and do this, you know, put it out there to the world, I could duplicate it, which is one of the things that would be important if you're going to build a product with this, as opposed to just doing it personally for myself.
[00:23:17] Tasha: Um, so I sat out to kind of write down formulas and, and
[00:23:24] Lisa Woolfork: those, that
[00:23:25] Tasha: type of thing. And through that experience, uh, I created 25 color. And, and that was fine with me again, I was fine with the 25 colors and
[00:23:36] Lisa Woolfork: 25 is good. Dunno why I need more than 25. 25 is a lot of colors. It's a lot of
[00:23:42] Tasha: colors. And those were just, again, just the colors.
[00:23:46] Tasha: That to me were colors. That would be the actual color of a person. I mean, I got way more than 25, but only 25 of 'em made cut. We, I went with the 25 color. [00:24:00] And at that point, I put it out there to the world gently, and I got a little bit of feedback and a little bit of interest, and I was excited about it.
[00:24:11] Tasha: People started, you know, ordering the swatches and asking questions and ordering fabric. And I said, okay, this is a good thing. And I had some issues that came about with the initially with the. Not being consistent, ordering, you know, one type of fabric and being, having, having it, being this content and then ordering it again and something different.
[00:24:41] Tasha: And that, that was a battle. So then I was on the search for a vendor that would be more consistent. So I found that, um, and the dye. Just something that I would buy over the counter, just a RI product. And that was okay in the beginning and RIT decided to change one of [00:25:00] their formulas on one of their dyes.
[00:25:01] Tasha: So that changed everything for me. And it kind of threw everything off. So those formulas that created those, the one color would
[00:25:11] Lisa Woolfork: not work
[00:25:13] Tasha: the same with a different version of the dye that they created, the newer version. and then depending on where you ordered it from, you would get dye from a different batch.
[00:25:24] Tasha: Luckily they, their products are labeled with the batch number on the top. So you can see which batch it came from. So you can almost know whether or not it's gonna work or not. But the issue was that every time I bought a bottle, it may have three or four different batches that it came from. And I was just like, it became IM.
[00:25:47] Tasha: And when it became impossible, I was just like, I don't think this is gonna work. So I had to start from scratch and start over. So it started over [00:26:00] and the, the, the new, um, well, the third, it would be the third test run, created 55 colors.
[00:26:12] Lisa Woolfork: Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. This is. It's just multiplying, multiplying, multiplying.
[00:26:19] Tasha: That's amazing. And, and what happened was I got a little bit more, um, disciplined with all of the factors that are involved in the process of dying. So, you know, making all the moving parts of it solid. So making the amount solid, making the water temp solid again, I'm already talked about. and I had a conversation with RI for the representatives from RI and they were still in limbo on the, the main color that I was using to create the colors.[00:27:00]
[00:27:00] Tasha: And after we, we actually stayed on the phone for about three hours wow. Discussing, discussing, and they're really helpful, really, really helpful. And they were really impressed with the number of colors that I had created. I actually talked to the. Who his main job is to color test and make formulas for colors that are, you know, written colors.
[00:27:24] Tasha: And I don't know if you've ever been to the website, but RI has a, a long list of their color directory. And it has a formula yes. For the color so that you don't have to guess they've already done it
[00:27:35] Lisa Woolfork: for you. That's amazing. So no, and no, I have never gone to the wit website and looked at the colors. I, the thing, the words that you're saying, I don't know if you've ever seen this.
[00:27:46] Lisa Woolfork: There's a, um, there's a comic by, I think it's Gary Larson called the far side and it's called talking to cats. And so it's, it's a person talking to a cat. And the only thing the cat understands is its name. So it's saying, blah, blah, [00:28:00] blah, ginger. That's what the person's reprimanding the cat. So when you're talking, you're talking, it's like, blah, blah, blah, die, lot, blah, blah, blah, formula.
[00:28:08] Lisa Woolfork: I'm like, these are the words I understand. Okay. She said die lot. I know what that is. Formula. I know what that is. Everything else I'm just gonna nod and put it in the podcast. Cause this sounds awesome. This is gonna be fantastic. So you keep going Fran, you are slaying it. But what I am learning is that this is chemistry basically, and chemistry has to be consistent in order to get consistent results.
[00:28:33] Lisa Woolfork: Is that what you're saying?
[00:28:34] Tasha: Absolutely. AB even, even the things that you don't see, like down to the pH of the. Oh, good Lord. I know, right. That's what I say. Yeah.
[00:28:45] Lisa Woolfork: That's not my ministry. I'm so glad you're doing this. I really am. The more you talk, the more glad that I, the more glad I am that you are passionate about this, because I was like, when you said you had to, um, make sure the water was consistent and I'm [00:29:00] like, how is water not consistent?
[00:29:02] Lisa Woolfork: Like, I don't understand. Oh yeah. So I do some, I do some baking. I do some candy making and that is the extent. Of my ability to be consistent with like water temperatures and stuff. That is it. I do not have the energy that you are describing. That's required to create all the beautiful things that you're created.
[00:29:21] Lisa Woolfork: So you went from 15 to 25 to 55 and now you're at 85
[00:29:31] Tasha: plus 75 85. Yes. And again, that, those are just the colors that made the cut. Those are not the colors that I created. There were a lot that were created, but so many of them were so close in color and it, it was like I had to kind of pick and choose the ones that I thought would be best.
[00:29:50] Tasha: Mm-hmm . And also you, once you look at all of those, you're looking at colors all day. I don't know how many times I have to close my eyes for a couple of seconds [00:30:00] and then open them again to see, because at some. The colors are so close, sometimes that they all just start to look alike and I'm like, I know these two colors are not the same, but they're looking the same to me.
[00:30:11] Tasha: That's and your eyes that's right. Can be so tricky and your brain can proceed color in such a different way.
[00:30:17] Lisa Woolfork: So especially when you're tired, I bet when you're tired and you've been bombarded and thinking about this so hard, correct? Right. Absolutely. So we went, so are you still, I'm sorry, go ahead. I'm sorry.
[00:30:28] Lisa Woolfork: Continue we
[00:30:29] Tasha: 1 55 to 75. That process. Um, included a couple of changes. Um, the, the fabric became pretty consistent. However, I had to upgrade to a proline version of the dye. And what that meant was it was more along the lines of the dye that people who died professionally used, who die a lot. That's the line that they use still by R but a di different, um, That [00:31:00] three hour conversation that I had with, um, the representative who suggested this, but what that meant was that I have to start the entire process over.
[00:31:10] Tasha: Oh my gosh. so the 85, the 85 color came from an entirely new process, a new set of dye. And it took me about six months to do. I actually had to shut. The Etsy shop down, including my website shop down for about six months. And I started at the beginning and I just worked my way until I, I got it all back together and I'm still not a hundred percent.
[00:31:42] Tasha: The website is not quite back up yet, but, um, that is kind of how we ended up at, um, at 85 colors. And, and that is actually not the end. There is actually . And it sounds crazy, but there's, there's a color that [00:32:00] has not been tested yet that I'm quite sure. Exponentially changed that number. And I'm really afraid to even begin that process, but
[00:32:14] Lisa Woolfork: you don't mind starting again.
[00:32:15] Lisa Woolfork: I don't know why you're afraid. I mean, well,
[00:32:17] Tasha: I don't start, don't start again this time. Like I have a solid head this time and formulas are solid and everything is solid. What's gonna happen is that is I'm gonna go in insert that color. Into all of the other formulas, little by little until we get to, uh, whatever max number I end up at.
[00:32:41] Tasha: Right. So
[00:32:43] Lisa Woolfork: that is amazing. That is, it's so remarkable. And I really am. I sound like I'm joking, but I am not. I am immensely grateful. And I know lots of other people are that you were willing to take the time and to do this again and again, and again and [00:33:00] again until you got it right. And you've got, and you said you're happy now with the, um, the manufacturer that you have for the fabrics.
[00:33:06] Lisa Woolfork: You've got more consistency there. So are you feeling like you're on pretty strong footing right now?
[00:33:12] Tasha: I think I'm pretty I'm I feel pretty strong. Um, I know that there are probably a couple of things. I probably can benefit from having, you know, more contact with wholesale vendors. Um, but outside of that, you know, I think everything is pretty solid.
[00:33:36] Tasha: I do offer several different types of fabric. Um, but I have, right. That was explored. I have not explored those fabric mediums on a wholesale level yet. Yes. So yes, it it's a big, big fabric world out there.
[00:33:56] Lisa Woolfork: It's true. It is a big, big fabric world out there. [00:34:00] Let's stay tuned to my conversation with Natasha clue of TAs designs and find out about how she is making such a significant contribution to that huge world of fabric, particularly in so far.
[00:34:14] Lisa Woolfork: Centering the needs of black women as an overlooked consumer in the market of nude quote, unquote nude and illusion fabrics, and how she has been able to provide an amazing product that many of us will appreciate. It is a huge fabric world out there, and you are making such an important mark on it. You really are such an important contribution.
[00:34:40] Lisa Woolfork: Um, I wanted to talk about the three weights of fabric that you offer. Is that correct? It's three weights. It's three different types of mesh. Am I, am I, am I right in that? Here's
[00:34:50] Tasha: the thing with the M it is not categorized in such a way that distinguishes. [00:35:00] Different meshes by con it doesn't have like a different name to okay.
[00:35:08] Tasha: Separate it from one from the other mm-hmm . So you may have a company that calls it stretch mesh. Yes. And, and that's what they call it. And then the next company may call it power mesh. Yes. And when you look at it, it's the same thing. And then vice versa, you can have a company call it stress medicine, one call it power me.
[00:35:27] Tasha: And they're two. That's just so exactly that in and of itself has been a, a learning curve. And, and the only thing that I can do at this point, that I'm way in Louisiana don't really have access to these big companies as of yet. So what I do is I, the best that I can do is order it, order samples or order, you know, large amounts of it and test it to see how it reacts, compare it to others.
[00:35:55] Tasha: So the names of the mesh kind [00:36:00] of are the general names that I have kind of put together based on the, the mesh that I've come have, come across my hands mm-hmm um, so each one, a little bit different in the way that they look more so than the content, the, the, the fiber content.
[00:36:20] Lisa Woolfork: Yes. Okay. Okay. If that makes sense, do you have, that does make, that does make sense.
[00:36:24] Lisa Woolfork: I. What I would like to know. And that's because I ordered some recently, I haven't gotten my order yet, but I am very just on the way I know
[00:36:32] Lisa Woolfork: it's, I'm not I'm I wasn't,
[00:36:34] Lisa Woolfork: I wasn't calling shade. I was really saying I'm like really looking forward to it, um, was that I, you know, there's different meshes as, you know, as a performer and as sewing for performances that do different things.
[00:36:46] Lisa Woolfork: And. I've been really into lingerie, sewing lately and bra making in particular, I've been sewing my own underpants and panties for years. That's not a big deal, but the bras was something that I'm really excited to get into. [00:37:00] And I I've almost, you know, I made one and that didn't, it didn't work. I, I custom designed another one, um, take taking a class that fit my actual self and that's great.
[00:37:11] Lisa Woolfork: And I just tweaked it and now I'm ready to make a real. And I want it to be my skin skin tone. And it's like, oh, well too damn bad. right. so I saw your, um, your meshes. And I was like, oh my gosh. After, after Kora, Renee told me about it and I was like, okay, I'm gonna order some. So I ordered a bunch of different, you know, swatches and stuff to try.
[00:37:34] Lisa Woolfork: Yeah. But I that's what I was hoping that it would be good. Um, I guess some people call. Power mesh because it has, I mean, maybe you could talk about it in, in relation to the degree of stretch. It has, like, it has maybe 10% stretch or 7% stretch. I'm not sure, but it stretches a little less than some of the other ones, because some other, you know, first of all, I do not wanna pair of power mesh draws.
[00:37:57] Lisa Woolfork: Because I need to walk [00:38:00] around and, um, go throughout my day without feeling like I'm wearing some type of Chasity belt. So I need a different kind mesh. If I'm gonna wear a mesh panty than if I'm gonna wear a mesh bra bra, you want it to be tight. You want it to not stretch so much. So do you offer those two different kinds?
[00:38:17] Tasha: There's uh, stretch mesh and, and how I describe the stretch mesh. It is like a power mesh. It is more stretch. It has more. in your traditional power mesh. Um, the stretch goes a long way in it's a four way stretch when it's not stretched. Just kind of sitting there. It is reminiscent of panty hose has a very soft look, but it's not mm-hmm thin like pan hose.
[00:38:44] Tasha: Okay. So that's kind, I, how I distinguish and unfortunately with the, with the. Stretch or smash, I call it for short
[00:38:52] Lisa Woolfork: smash. Oh, that's cute. Smash so I like that better than stretch smash cause oh, smash. Oh, that's so cute.
[00:38:59] Tasha: I like it [00:39:00] continue. And what I like about what I, what I, um, how it differs is that, um, sometimes it might borderline between the stretch mesh and the power mesh.
[00:39:13] Tasha: So sometimes depending on the vendor and sometimes with the same vendor, I'll get the. Fabric vaults a roll and it'll just be slightly off. And what that is is that instead of it being 96, 4, it might be 93 7, or it might be, you know, like the, the fiber content might be slightly different. And so that will change a little bit how the fabric looks sometimes.
[00:39:45] Tasha: Power mesh again, a little bit more dense. It doesn't have as much stretch. Right. I, I try to describe it by using the term dense. I don't know if that fits, when you're talking about fabric.
[00:39:57] Lisa Woolfork: That makes, makes sense. Like it
[00:39:59] Tasha: it's, [00:40:00] I wouldn't say stiffer because that's in another category
[00:40:03] Lisa Woolfork: of fabric. Yeah. Cuz it's not stiff because it does move.
[00:40:05] Lisa Woolfork: It's not stiff. Right, right. But
[00:40:07] Tasha: it's, it's dense, but it's, it's the same weight. Mm-hmm but less, less stretch. Definitely. Let's stretch then your smash and then next to that would be in the power. Me or ish category would be your superpower. Me and that's the one that's kind of used for it's used for body shapers compression, that kind of thing.
[00:40:32] Tasha: Yes, yes, yes. And then there's. Yeah, I
[00:40:34] Lisa Woolfork: remember that. I remember seeing that on the site. All
[00:40:38] Tasha: right. And then there's another one. That's one step above that. One step above
[00:40:43] Lisa Woolfork: body shaper. Is it like
[00:40:45] Tasha: Bulletproof? Yeah. It's it's, , it's, it's even more like on the surface, it looks just like your cotton fabric, but then when you touch it, it does stretch some, but it, it really [00:41:00] gives, I mean, it, I haven't made anything with it, but I know like, whatever I make with it is, is gonna be
[00:41:09] Lisa Woolfork: definitely
[00:41:10] Tasha: smooth.
[00:41:12] Tasha: Yes. It's a little bit heavier, heavier weight
[00:41:14] Lisa Woolfork: than your super, so like a more intense shape wear, not like even a standard shape wear no, but a more intense shape wear different. Correct. Okay. And I've added
[00:41:24] Tasha: those examples to the I've added those examples to the listings so that people could physically see those, uh, yes.
[00:41:32] Tasha: Side by side so that they could at least see it. It's not the same as touching and feeling it, but at least you can kind of see what the difference is. And if you are somewhat familiar with fabrics, or if you're, if you're a seamstress or designer, you probably put your hands on it at some point. Right.
[00:41:50] Lisa Woolfork: So, right.
[00:41:51] Lisa Woolfork: And that's one of the things I love about your site. I love the swatch sets that you offer. I really like the swatch sets that you offer, and that's why I'm looking forward to getting mine. [00:42:00] And that I'm looking forward to seeing the colors and seeing like what matches and cuz you know, of course computer screens are so different than what our I see in real life.
[00:42:07] Lisa Woolfork: And all of that makes the big differe. And then I'm really eager to see the weights. Another thing I think is so interesting about your site is that a lot of your colors are named after food. So what made you think to, to do that, to did that make it more memorable? Was there a certain suggestion where somebody made someone, did someone make a suggestion to you about food names?
[00:42:29] Lisa Woolfork: I mean, I looked through your site and I was like, gosh, I think I'm hungry. , that's easy
[00:42:34] Tasha: to do. I act, I, I. When I think about Browns colors, all of the things besides people that are brown, all the things that are brown are desserts for me when I think brown. And so in my mind, and I'm a [00:43:00] junk food junkie. So I guess that might little bit apart.
[00:43:03] Tasha: Mm-hmm
[00:43:04] Lisa Woolfork: me to that thing.
[00:43:06] Tasha: Same. So it just was easier to create color names based on the desserts that I like. And I like 'em all. So when I would look at the color, when I would look at the colors, I'd be like, like the color red.
[00:43:24] Lisa Woolfork: And I was like, mm-hmm bananas, foster pound cake. Yeah. Brownie.
[00:43:30] Tasha: All right.
[00:43:31] Tasha: Cinnamon roll. Yes,
[00:43:33] Lisa Woolfork: as you know,
[00:43:34] Tasha: all of the other tasty colors. And, and once I, I think it was just one, I don't remember which one it was that set the tone for that idea. I just remembered picking that as a color. And I, and my, I guess a little angel said, Hey, won't, which make all of the colors, the names of food.
[00:43:56] Tasha: And then I had to really sit down and think about a lot of the [00:44:00] colors, took some. Because I was like, I know what it looks like. I can't think of what, and then I just sit there and look at it until it will come into me and I'll be like, oh, it does kind of look like that. And then there it is. So ,
[00:44:15] Lisa Woolfork: it's simple.
[00:44:16] Lisa Woolfork: That is wonderful. That is, I mean, it's funny to, I love one of the things I like about it is. You have all this really intense chemistry, you know, you've gotta get the right dialogue and what happens when they change the base formula. And then you have to, what they do is several. Different batches in the same bottle and all of this, and then the water content, the water, temperature, consistency, and all that.
[00:44:39] Lisa Woolfork: And then you're like, Ooh, I think I'm gonna call this one Reese cup, you know, or, oh my, this looks like, um, this looks like a bra. This looks like a brownie. This looks like, you know, um, you know, cake, you know, pound cake, the outside of grandma's pound cake, you know? Yes. Um, which now, now I kinda want some pound cake now that I think about it.
[00:44:58] Lisa Woolfork: But no, this is, this has been a [00:45:00] wonderful, thanks so much for taking the time to talk with us. Um, what is your next big step? Where are you heading next for your next? What do you see, um, this process in your project going next?
[00:45:13] Tasha: Um, Hmm. Well, I, I really, I didn't start this out as a product, so everywhere that it's gone.
[00:45:27] Tasha: Has just been really just amazing for me. Um, so wherever it goes is perfectly fine. I do know that as I progress with it, that, um, I, I have to think about those things. So what I would like to see for the product as a whole is that it would be offered exclusively. in more than just the mediums [00:46:00] that I have available, um, including span your spandex, your, your tattoos, your like all of your fabrics that could be used in the design and things world as a need fabric at, you know, in a garment.
[00:46:20] Tasha: Right. And then secondly, uh, would also, um, like to. Maybe see, I don't know. It's just so it, it could go in so many ways. Like I just see, I just see it being a, a great thing for designers and fortress for people, but for designers. And
[00:46:51] Lisa Woolfork: I think that is the issue very often. Yes. And I think it really is changing a lot of people's minds and opening up [00:47:00] possibilities for what's available to us, you know?
[00:47:02] Lisa Woolfork: And so, I mean, that's why I really don't wanna underestimate the contribution that you are making to helping to revolutionize, um, the sewing and maker community for inclusivity. Um, and you know, and I think that that is something that you should be very proud. Um, that's something that you are basically saying we are not a monolith, um, and that you cannot use the word nude and have it without some type of caveat because you have 85 colors over there that could be considered that are somebody's nude.
[00:47:38] Lisa Woolfork: Um, and unless someone is doing that and I haven't seen anybody else try, um, they, we owe you a huge. Of, um, gratitude for your hard work and your inspiration and the way that you're helping to push this forward. And I'm also very excited to have a really cute bra panty set coming up pretty soon outta your fabric.
[00:47:59] Lisa Woolfork: That's gonna [00:48:00] match, that's gonna match my skin made outta your smash. I'm excited. I'm ex
[00:48:04] Tasha: I'm excited to see. I'm excited to, I love to, I love to see products that people make and from time to time, they will post them or they will share them with me and it, and it feels really good cuz it's. You know, he did that and I'm, and I'm yes, I guess I'm you did.
[00:48:20] Tasha: I really don't think about it like that. Cuz again, it was just kind of something that I was doing to feel a personal need and it never thought for a second, like how huge it really was until now. Yes. Yes.
[00:48:39] Lisa Woolfork: And I think that, you know, you could say this was a personal need, but like, oh look, she made something and she made something and he made something and she made something and she, yeah.
[00:48:47] Lisa Woolfork: And like, where would we be if you hadn't done this? You know? Um, and so I think that you should be incredibly proud, um, of what you've accomplished. And I know that when you get ready to turn the page, it's gonna be another [00:49:00] exciting part of your story. Tell folks how they can find you, um, your website address and Instagram and stuff.
[00:49:05] Lisa Woolfork: And I'll be sure to include that on the show. Okay. Um, you
[00:49:08] Tasha: can find me on That's T. Hyphen O S and TAs on Tasha designs on Instagram and TAs designs on
[00:49:20] Lisa Woolfork: Facebook. And it's all spelled the same way. Uh, TAs designs is one word. Thank you so much again for taking the time to talk with us. I've been talking today with Natasha Clete of TAs
[00:49:32] Lisa Woolfork: Be sure to check the show notes, to find out the links to the products that Tasha was talking about with us today and stay tuned for our wrap up and thanks again for coming. Thank you for joining us for today's episode of stitch, please. The black women's stitch podcast. Let's continue the conversation.
[00:49:50] Lisa Woolfork: Come find us on the socials. We're at black women's stitch on Instagram, where we have a very active page and you can also find us on stitch, please. On [00:50:00] Facebook. We also would love to hear from you. So feel free to email us at black women's stitch There are three big ways you can support this project.
[00:50:09] Lisa Woolfork: And one of them you're doing already by listening to the podcast, you're really helping us. So thank you for doing that. In addition, if you rate, review, subscribe, and share the podcast with other folks that helps the podcast to grow, and it also gives the algorithm that manage podcast information that will also help our podcast.
[00:50:30] Lisa Woolfork: The third way to help the podcast is for those of you all who happen to have a little extra change, burning a hole in your pocket. And if you don't have any plans to use it, to buy your 20th or in my case, 378th, big four pattern. That's how many I have in my top pattern drawer, about 378 patterns. You could take that money that you would spend at the pattern sale and give it to.
[00:50:54] Lisa Woolfork: We are accepting donations at our Patreon site where you can donate as little as $2 a [00:51:00] month, or you could buy us a coffee at K O dot I and small donations are greatly accepted and appreciated. So thank you for considering that. If you would like a transcript of this episode, you can find that at our website at stitch, please
[00:51:17] Lisa Woolfork: And we also ask that you check the show notes, where we have lots of additional information and supplemental information from what we discussed in the podcast. You can find affiliate links there for the products that we like. You can find web links to the black women that we've been talking about here on the show to elevate and center their.
[00:51:35] Lisa Woolfork: And you can also find the info. We mentioned about donations as well as our email link. All of that is available at stitch please, Thanks again for joining us today. We look forward to seeing you next time, come back and we'll help you get your stitch together.

Hosted by Lisa Woolfork

Lisa is a fourth-generation sewing enthusiast who learned to sew while earning a PhD in African American literature and culture. She has been sewing for more than twenty years while also teaching, researching, and publishing in Black American literature and culture.

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