Sew Tales with The Telltale Tasha

0.75x 1x 1.25x 1.5x 2x 0:0000:32:10 Sew Tales with The Telltale Tasha



Sign up for the Black Women Stitch quarterly newsletter!   Check out our  merch too! 

Leave a BACKSTITCH message and tell us about your favorite episode.

Join the Black Women Stitch Patreon

Black Women Stitch 2023 Wall Calendar

Amazon Store

Tasha Henry

Tasha is a widely talented creative with specialties in sewing and dance.  She likes to make videos about travel, sewing, hair, lifestyle, and whatever else catches her interests. She describes herself as a multifaceted person who is proud of her Panamanian and Jamaican heritage.

Lisa Woolfork

Lisa Woolfork is an associate professor of English specializing in African American literature and culture. Her teaching and research explore Black women writers, Black identity, trauma theory, and American slavery. She is the founder of Black Women Stitch, the sewing group where Black lives matter. She is also the host/producer of Stitch Please, a weekly audio podcast that centers on Black women, girls, and femmes in sewing. In the summer of 2017, she actively resisted the white supremacist marches in her community, Charlottesville, Virginia. The city became a symbol of lethal resurging white supremacist violence. She remains active in a variety of university and community initiatives, including the Community Engaged Scholars program. She believes in the power of creative liberation.

Insights from this episode:

  • Tasha’s sewing story
  • Tasha’s creative endeavors
  • How her dance career boosts her creativity
  • Preserving traditions
  • Details about Tasha’s trip to Panama
  • Details about the dress she made for New York Frocktails
  • Tasha’s sewing space
  • Insights into her creative process
  • Getting inspiration and motivation from her sewing space

Quotes from the show:

  • After losing weight: “I was not rich, and I can’t go out and buy a whole new wardrobe, so I just had it in my mind that I was gonna go and find a sewing machine and was gonna fix all my clothes to fit me or change them” —Telltale Tasha in “Stitch Please”
  • On Tasha’s first piece: “You got a lot of good love out of it. It’s clear, when I wear this, I feel good. I love how I look in this garment, and that is the kind of love that we can generate through the love we have for making the things we wear” —Lisa Woolfork in “Stitch Please”
  • “When you have a multi-generational attachment to something, that’s excellent because it keeps the thing moving forward, you can sustain the traditions, but you can also practice them in a way and make sure they are preserved and pushed forward” —Lisa Woolfork in “Stitch Please”
  • On Tasha’s creative process: “When you walk into your space, you step into the fullness of a creative power” — Lisa Woolfork in “Stitch Please”
  • On Tasha’s sewing space: “It really does pull my creativity even when I don’t want to sew. Sometimes I just come in here and play with the fabric and see it happen” — Telltale Tasha in “Stitch Please”
  • “The advice I would have to help people get their stitch together would be to not create out of a process of desperation, or stress, but to create from a place of love and excitement (…) so that you can continue to enjoy what you are creating” — Telltale Tasha in “Stitch Please”

Stay Connected:

Lisa Woolfork

Instagram: Lisa Woolfork

Twitter: Lisa Woolfork

The Telltale Tasha

Website: The Telltale Tasha

Youtube: The Telltale Tasha 

Instagram: Tasha (@thetelltaletasha) 

This episode was produced and managed by Podcast Laundry.

Read Full Transcript

Lisa  0:00  

Hey friends. Hey. Before we begin, let me introduce you to Kimberly Cartwright, a wonderful African American art quilter with a great project. I already got my tickets and accommodations. I will include links in the show notes. But here's Kimberly to tell you more.

Kimberly  0:15  

Hello, my name is Kimberly Pierce Cartwright, and I'm here to tell you about a unique opportunity coming to Durham, North Carolina. Are you an African American quilter looking to connect with others who share your passion for this timeless art form? Then mark your calendars for Kindred Spirits, a convergence of African American quilters happening on June 15th through 17th in Durham, North Carolina. Join dynamic instructors, Cookie Washington, Kena Dorsey, Aisha Lumumba, and Kianga Jinaki to learn new techniques, perfect your skills, and share your love for quilting with fellow enthusiasts. But that's not all. We're excited to announce that curators Dr. Marshall Price of the National Museum in Durham, and Dr. Renee Anderson from the Smithsonian Museum in Washington DC will also be in attendance to share insight on making museum connections. Don't miss out on this opportunity to connect with like minded quilters, learn from top notch instructors, and deepen your appreciation for this beautiful art form. Register today. Go to I'll repeat, go to R C W M S dot org and scroll down to Events to register. It's a convergence of African American quilters in Durham, North Carolina, June 15th through 17th.

Lisa  1:54  

Hello Stitchers. Welcome to Stitch Please, the official podcast of Black Women Stitch, the sewing group where Black lives matter. I'm your host, Lisa Woolfork. 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. [Intro music]

Hello, everybody, and welcome to the Stitch Please podcast. I am your host, Lisa Woolfork. And--as I say every week--this is a very special episode because this episode I am talking with none other than Natasha--Tasha--Henry. Tasha Henry is joining us. She is the Telltail Tasha. And we are so grateful to have you here today with us. Tasha, thank you so much. Y'all, have you ever met somebody where you follow them on Instagram, and you love all their pictures? And then you have the opportunity to see them in real life, and they are even more amazing in person than you thought they would be when you quote, unquote "fake-met" them on Instagram. That's what happened to me. I met Tasha at DC Frocktails. I think that was our first time connecting. And then I saw her again at the New York Frocktails in another fantastic outfit and a beautiful glowing spirit. She is a wonderful all around multifaceted creative. She is a dancer, she is a sewist, and she represents her beautiful Panamanian heritage so wonderfully. She is a gift to the sewing community and her presence with us today is also a gift. Thank you so much, Tasha, for being with us today. 

Tasha  2:22  

Wow, Lisa, hi. 

Lisa  3:10  

[Laughter] Yeah girl! Have you met you? Have you met you? 

So yes, I am delighted. So Tasha, can you tell us a bit about your sewing story? How did you get started? How did you come to sewing? Or how does sewing come to you?

Tasha  3:55  

This week will be ten years ago, that I was a larger-- and I got to the point where like, I just wasn't happy with the size I was. It just kinda like, came to a head, and I was like, "Okay." I had to make the change. So I ended up hiring this trainer and I was, you know, training for months and I lost a bunch of weight. And then I was swimming in all of my clothes. So I was like, okay, I'm not rich, so I can't just go out and buy a whole new wardrobe. And so I just had in my mind that I was gonna go find the sewing machine, fix all my clothes to fit me, or change them, or whatever. And, well, somebody heard me talk about that at church and, a lady at church, she said that she had a sewing machine at her house, barely used. She had bought it for somebody in the house. They never used it. She gave it to me for free. And it's actually my main machine still today. 

Lisa  4:43  


Tasha  4:44  

So she gave me that and my mom had been telling me, while I was giving her this story about how I wanted to change my clothes, she was like, I have a sewing machine in the basement. And I'm like, I had been living here for 23 years. I have never seen a sewing machine in this house. Like--

Lisa  4:55  


Tasha  4:55  

--and I'm ignoring her. But one day finally we cleaned out under the steps. In the last box, all the way on the other side, was a nice steel Singer sewing machine.

Lisa  5:10  

Wow. Just like, It's been here the whole time, Tasha, I don't know why on earth you didn't know this was here."

Tasha  5:15  

You're trying to make it seem like it was my fault. 

Lisa  5:18  

"This was here before you were even born. It's been actually waiting for you to find it. So let's not get all this lip." Okay?

Tasha  5:24  

Exactly. So I literally took the sewing machine and learned how to use it on YouTube. There was no manual for the machine that the lady at the church gave me. So I went on YouTube, put in the model number and watched this lady named Nadia tell me how to use the machine. [Laughter] And figured out the tension inside there and just figure it out. And then I had one of my friends I went to college with, I knew that she sewed and so she came- my first couple of little projects, she came and helped me turn, like, this maxi dress into a skirt. And she helped me turn this other matching dress into like a peplum top and then after that I just kind of kept going and then, once I found out about tutorials online, just started buying stuff to try out from scratch and was making Mimi G tutorials way way back.

Lisa  6:13  


Tasha  6:14  

First tutorials that she would put up. And after that I didn't want to, like, fit clothes anymore, I just wanted to sew from scratch. I would just, like-- the alteration part I ended up getting, it was too much work trying to get through pockets. So I just-- from scratch from then on. And after that I just keep buying fabric.

And from there a hobby was born. 

Lisa  6:33  

I really appreciate that, for you, sewing was part of a vision of the life that you had created for yourself. That this was part of a continuation of building and creating something that could be affirming about you. And you were able to also do it in a way, or at least begin it in a way that felt very sustainable, right? Like, I'm not going to just throw away all these clothes I have, let me see what I can do to kind of alter them in such a way that I can fix them. For the ones that I can claim and reclaim through modification, I will. But for things that are maybe, like, way too much or will take too much energy or effort; these are still usable goods that someone else that can use. So I'll donate those and I'll fix these. And then you got the bug bug, and it was like no, no. You know what you can also do- I can start with an actual sewing pattern and make it to fit me from scratch. And let's see how that goes. Do you remember one of your first pieces that you ever made for yourself that gave you a feeling of satisfaction that's like, you know what, this is my jam. I like this now.

Tasha  7:36  

One of the first things that I ended up loving--I actually still have it. I don't wear it anymore, but I'm gonna do something with it. Literally made it in--2014 was when I really got into like making stuff from scratch. It was this maxi dress. It was a McCall's pattern. It was a maxi dress, had a split back that was like hidden. Like there was a slit, like if you walked, it would open up.

Lisa  7:56  

Okay, okay.

Tasha  7:57  

 And like racerback in the back. And I wore that maxi dress up until like two years ago, like I wore-- [Laughter]

Lisa  8:00  

--It was the Telltale Tasha uniform.

Tasha  8:09  

Yes. [laughter] And I love it. I mean, the fabric was, like, these rainbow zigzags on mine. And I had- the back of the buttons was red. And the bottom of the bottoms was like black. But it was like a [unintelligible] piece.

Lisa  8:09  


Tasha  8:10  

And was wearable. I think a little too short for me, though? And this had happened a lot when I first started. I did not actually hem it because I didn't have enough fabric because I'm tall. And so I left it- the hem raw so that I could wear it and still be a maxi.

Lisa  8:36  


Tasha  8:36  

So after all these years, of course, it kind of got a little raggedy. 

Lisa  8:39  

Oh, right. 

Tasha  8:40  

That's right, a little, a little frayed. Just a little bit. So I'm like, okay, it's time. It's time to, you know, let it go with love. But I loved it.

Lisa  8:49  

And you got a lot of good love out of it. It's clear this, like, when I wear this, I feel good. I love how I look in this garment. And that is the kind of love that we can generate through the love that we have for making the things we wear. And so absolutely, I think that's great. And I think it's such a beautiful sewing story. And it's one that kind of goes together with your other creative endeavors. So, like, you do a lot of other creative things. Can you talk a little bit about your dance career? Like, I feel like whenever I see you, you are dancing or traveling or sewing, or you are dancing in a place to which you have traveled. It feels like- there's lots of different things that you're doing, but you're always in such beautiful motion. Can you talk a bit about your dance career and how that might shape or inform your creativity overall?

Tasha  9:40  

I've been dancing, whether--I just like to dance. I'll be in the grocery store to this day with my mom, and whatever is on in the store, or I'm dancing while pushing the cart. He was just looking at me like, okay. I just--nobody's watching this.

Lisa  9:51  

I love my child. 

Tasha  9:52  


Lisa  9:53  

I love my child. Look at my baby. There she go. This our jam d'ya know. We're right now in aisle seven picking out frosted flakes. Her jam is on and her body must move.

Tasha  10:02  

I really don't care. I believe--I dance anywhere. I just love to dance. I've been dancing since I was very little. First I was doing praise dance in church. And then when I got to middle school, I was on the dance team. There was like, you know, the high kicks and all that stuff. And then I got to high school, I really wanted to do hip hop dance. And my mom ended up letting me, at some point, when I got to high school. And so then I took hip hop dance classes. And when I got to college, I joined the dance team, which was amazing. 

Lisa  10:32  

Oh, that's wonderful. 

Tasha  10:34  

And even within all of that, when I was also in college, like earlier on, I had taken hand dance classes. If you know hand dancing games, it's like-- 

Lisa  10:42  

--I do not know what hand dancing is. Can you explain a little bit, please? Because I'm not about to be the type of energy that's gonna sit here and nod and say, "Oh, yes, the ancient tradition of hand dancing. I totally know what that is."

Tasha  10:56  

It's just like, you've seen Chicago's stepping, like the R Kelly stuff, In the Name of Love type of bands. 

Yeah. I know that.

It's like that. But DC has its own counts. 

Lisa  11:08  


Tasha  11:08  

So it might look the same if you're just, like, someone just watching people dance. But it's a different kind of moves. But that's hand dancing. And then here's another style of dancing there, called "the bop," which is another type of two step. So did that in college. 

Lisa  11:21  


Tasha  11:23  

Now, that's usually me, and people's parents and grandparents.

Lisa  11:29  

Wow. I love it. And I'm sure they are so happy to see you out there, right?

Tasha  11:34  

Well, yeah!

Lisa  11:34  

Because if you're out there, then that means the tradition can continue. Right? When you have a multigenerational attachment to something, that is excellent. Because it keeps the thing moving forward, that you can sustain the traditions. But you can also practice them in a way, and make sure they're preserved, and push forward. That's something that I really appreciate about the story that you are sharing. 

I also wanted to ask about this beautiful costume, which you said you did not make. But this is an image I'm gonna share this with y'all. If you are not on Patreon, why not? You should totally be on the Black Women Stitch Patreon, because it's really good. And it includes videos of our podcast interviews. And you can see this picture right here. See this picture? Nobody else can see this except for being on the Patreon. So be on the Patreon because, wow, this is absolutely gorgeous. All I know, I feel like I'm looking at you with a beautiful smile and a gorgeous floral, like, orchid headdress and beautiful embroidery. It seems very traditional. Can you talk about this Panamanian costume and what it represents, and I think you were going to Panama. And this is a recent image- at least I seen it recently. Can you talk about what we're looking at here? It's beautiful.

Tasha  12:49  

Last year, I went to Panama with my mom. And it was the first time, you know, mom had been to Panama at the same time in a very, very, very long time. And I wanted to get some pictures in this traditional wear. The dress that I'm wearing is called a "pollera." It's like the national dress of Panama. If you go to any parades and all that stuff, they always will have on pollera. They have pictures of people in polleras everywhere. They have, like, statues and stuff. It's the national dress. And what they call the hair pieces, this is actually a bunch of head pieces--what am I calling them?--hair accessories put all together to make this shape. 

Lisa  13:25  

Oh, wow. 

Tasha  13:26  

And they're called "Tembleques." So it gets pretty heavy. 

Lisa  13:29  

[Laughter] Wow.

But it is a bunch all at once and they are put in a specific way. Then the jewelry is placed specifically. And I wanted to get some pictures of us in these because, it's like a thing. You were seeing, like, and we'll do, like, glamour shots.

Yes. Yes. It's a tradition. Yes.

Tasha  13:45  

So getting pictures, like, in the polleras together is like a tradition. I mean, my mom never did it. So I wanted to go. Since we were both there, I'd get these together. Last May we did that.

Lisa  13:54  

Oh, and I'm so glad you did. This is really so beautiful. It's a beautiful image. And it's a beautiful story. So I'm glad that you were able to be in Panama at the same time so that you can have the photoshoot together. That's really cool. That's wonderful. 

Another place where we have met, and that has been at Frocktails. Y'all, again, if you are not on Patreon I am sorry to this man, because you should totally be, because it's really fun. And look at this. Because look, we get to see-this is where we saw Tasha was jammin' in this gorgeous dress that she made for DC Frocktails. Tell us about this dress. Do you remember the pattern and- the fabric is amazing and it moves so beautifully. Tell us about this, and your choice for DC Frocktails. And I also love how you're right next to Chawne. Then both of you all are tall. And so I thought that was also really cool to see.

Tasha  14:48  

So many people at DC Frocktails were tall! 

Lisa  14:51  


Tasha  14:52  

Found out that a bunch. But I actually didn't make this dress for DC Frocktails. 

Lisa  14:56  


Tasha  14:56  

I actually made this dress a couple years ago. Never wore it. Not one time. 

Lisa  15:03  

What? Why?

Tasha  15:04  

I wore it one time to get photos in it from my blog. Because I never had anywhere to wear it! And I had been waiting for somewhere to wear it. I was supposed to go to a wedding, didn't get to wear it there. I was supposed to go to all these different places. Anytime that I wanted to pull it out, I was like, nah, this dress is for a special event. But when DC Frocktails came around, I actually found out about DC Frocktails the same week of DC Frocktails. 

Lisa  15:26  

Oh my gosh.

Tasha  15:27  

I found out about it on, like, Monday or Tuesday. And it was on Saturday. So I decided that I was not going to stress myself out trying to make something new. 

Lisa  15:27  

Good. good

Tasha  15:32  

I went in my closet. And actually was very surprised. I forgot that the dress was in there. And I was going through, and I was like, "Ah!" The dress was just loud enough, had a bunch of character and it had pockets, which is important, and yeah. It ended up being perfect for the event. And so that's one of the things that I enjoy now is, I just had many things made and deciding that I don't have to necessarily sort of make something new for everything. If I'm fittin' to make clothes, I can actually just wear them.

Lisa  16:07  

Yes, indeed. It doesn't have to be fresh off the sewing machine to count.

Tasha  16:12  

Not every [unclear]. Sometimes you don't even want that feeling. But, it's okay to wear clothes more than once, you know. And even recently, I've gone on a couple of trips, and I wanted to make some stuff my trip. And it's like, well, actually, let's pack some stuff that I made already.

Lisa  16:35  


Tasha  16:26  

 And so that's--I just came back from Panama a few weeks ago. And I took two swimsuits, I took a skirt that I had made years ago, there was another dress I was supposed to take, and I took a skirt I made recently and I was like, all this stuff helps to build the wardrobe. That's the whole point. I was very happy that I didn't try to, like, be sewing down to the wire. I actually got to go nice and relaxed and enjoy the stuff that I've been making.

Lisa  16:49  

I'm so glad that you shared that wisdom, because really, when we think about monitoring or managing our me-made wardrobes, who do we let decide when to wear something or not to wear something. Who do we let decide what you have to make something for, and what you don't quote, unquote, "have to" make something for. All of this is designed for us to be able to express ourselves with freedom and joy and happiness, not to add an extra layer of stress to make it feel like work. Like, what? Wait a minute. I'm gonna be so stressed out by the time I get back. I'm not gonna have no fun at all. Like, uh unh. No, ma'am.

Tasha  17:29  

Yeah, sometimes you feel like I really, really want to make something for this and like, you know what I'm saying. When you have energy and that excitement about it and like it's perfect, but like when you're stressed about it, it's not that same kind of energy and then it doesn't always work out the same.


Lisa  17:42  

The backstitch is a reinforcing stitch sewn by hand or stitched by machine. To backstitch is a return with a purpose. On the Stitch Please podcast, our new Backstitch series will recall early and/or favorite episodes of the podcast. And the best news? It's hosted by you. Yes, you. Thank you. You. Do you have a favorite Stitch Please podcast episode? Let us know by leaving a voice memo on our website. Five minutes max. Let us know what episodes you love and why other people will love it too. And if we use your message on the show, you will receive an honoraria. So remember, the backstitch makes a seam stronger. Leave us a message so that your contribution can make the Stitch Please podcast that much stronger. You can find the link at the Black Women Stitch .org website or just click on it in the show notes for this episode.


And let's look at this right here, for me, your New York Frocktails dress- I'm switching now to talk about her New York Frocktails garment, which is absolutely stunning. This is a black, red, ivory, champagne, sequins. I mean, I'm trying to describe it for y'all who are not on Patreon. And the shoes. My goodness. The whole thing is so gorgeous. It really is. Can you talk about what your goals were for this piece? Is this something that you made specifically for the New York Frocktails?

Tasha  19:27  

Yes. I made this skirt specifically for New York Frocktails. I knew about New York Frocktails way far in advance, granted. You know those tickets ended up selling out very early. I mean, I saw all this stuff who've made for DC Frocktails, and I was like, if people came hard and I'm like, okay, New York is like fashion capital. So I know that people are going to really bring the fashion. So I was like, "I wanna be in that group, too." So I actually had bought this fabric in May. Actually, that same trip was there with my mom, to Panama. I bought that fabric. It was only like eleven dollars a yard, or something like that. So yeah. It's the red, white, champagne, black. And when you swipe against it, it changes to gold, which I love. So what do you call that? When, it's kind of like [unclear]?

Lisa  20:11  

The flip sequins.

Tasha  20:12  

Flip sequins?

Lisa  20:13  

Flip sequins.

Tasha  20:14  

Yeah, the other side of that is gold, which was super duper cool to me. And so, I knew I wanted to use that fabric. And then I decided- I was like, okay, I need a simple silhouette for this, because I had never sewn with sequins before. But I did know that it was gonna be a lot. [Laughter] So I was like, I need something super simple, a simple silhouette. So I was looking for a skirt. And I have a bunch of, you know, very simple pencil skirt patterns. But then I saw Tammy Silver patterns posted. They had released a new pattern, the 10k midi skirt with this little keyhole in it. With a slit. 

Lisa  20:14  


Tasha  20:17  

And I like, that's the one. The perfect marriage. It took me forever to get rid of all the sequins out of the side seams. It was-- [Laughter]

Lisa  20:56  

Oh, my gosh.

Tasha  20:59  

But I went online, and I tried to find, like, different ways to mitigate all the crazy mess and everything. So it didn't end up being terrible, but removing them sequins took me hours and hours. And that- what's that song? [Singing] Hours and Hours. 

Lisa  21:12  


It's like that SpongeBob meme, like 10 million years later. But you know what? I know, clearly, you remember the hours that went into the labor of this garment. As someone who saw it on you in real life, all I saw was the shine, it just looked so fantastic on you.

Tasha  21:32  

So this is the secret. I don't know what had gotten into me last year, but everything I made's too big. While I was making it and trying it on inside, I was not taking into account me moving and all this extra stuff. And then.

Lisa  21:45  


Tasha  21:45  

When I got to New York, and I put it on, and was like, you know, getting dressed and moving around and stuff, it's like falling off me.

Lisa  21:53  

Oh my gosh. Because you put too much ease in there. Was it too much ease?

Tasha  21:57  

Way too much. And then the fabric is also stretchy. 

Lisa  22:04  


Tasha  22:04  

So the secret in this photo is that this skirt's safety pinned to this top on both sides so that it didn't fall off--[Laughter]--off of me.

Lisa  22:17  

That's a Black girl magic with them safety pins, because I know what you're not gonna do is not dance at a party if they got music on.

Tasha  22:24  

[Laughter] Now I'm gonna [unclear]. It's like, the skirt hit the ground or not, so let me figure out what do I need to do so that I can shake these hips and have the skirt not fall down to the ground. I know. But it didn't work, and I decided this garment, I mean, it's really, really special. I really love it. And it's worth the deconstruction to fix. I am going to fix it to make it the right size. I feel like it's really, really worth it. So a lot of the times I'm like, if I don't make something the right size, sometimes I'm just like, eh, whatever. I might give it to someone. But then, I want to wear it again, I want to wear it multiple times over, and I'm gonna do the work to actually fix it.

Lisa  22:59  

I am glad that you are. I am absolutely glad that you are, because it is a garment worth saving. 

Now I want to turn to something that I find really exciting because I am very much a nerd about organization, and sewing organization, and having everything be in its place. I would love to talk about your sewing space. I think that sewing spaces are a great reflection of the creators that build beautiful things within them. And the way that one approaches it can be really effective. It can be a really great learning tool. When you think about your sewing space, as I'm imagining, like, it's one of your happy spaces, what is the overall sentiment that you feel when you come into your space? And what are some of your goals? What kind of things do you do to get to that optimal feeling?

Tasha  23:47  

That's a great question. 

Lisa  23:48  

Look at me! [Laughter] Knowing what I'm doing, girl. Check me out.

Tasha  23:53  

When I come in here, honestly, I feel like, one, it's actually pretty spacious. So it kind of allows me to have a clear head. And then I'm like, I look around and, like, there's so many options. And I'm just, like--going through--you see the fabric wall behind me. I'll just like pull out stuff and put it back, pull off stuff, put it back, and see what I'm, like, going to touch and play with. And I have a sewing cabinet, sewing pattern cabinet that I would go through and maybe swipe through and see, what would fit that fabric. And I'm like pulling out stuff. Pulling back stuff.  I'm just going, going, going and I feel like I just have all of this power at my fingertips. I don't know if that makes sense. [Laughter]

Lisa  24:30  

That makes perfect sense. And you said it so beautifully. That when you walk into your space, you step into the fullness of a creative power. That is gorgeous. It's really wonderful. And it makes me wonder, when you step into create, are you someone who starts with a garment idea first, or do you start with a fabric idea? You're like, "Oh, I like this fabric. So I want to make something from this." Or is it like, oh, I love this pattern. Let me start with that and see what fabric can be used to match? Do you have a sense of yourself, like, which one is more your style?

Tasha  25:06  

I do both. So a lot of times it ends up being like, Okay, what I'm making this for. And that is usually the start. It could either go pattern or fabric. If it goes pattern, I already have a pattern in mind, luijke something I saw. And then I'll start pulling out fabric stuff. But then it can definitely get derailed because, as I'm pulling out fabric, I might find a fabric that I really, really like. And I'm like, mmm, not for this pattern, though. Now I gotta find something better. So then I'll go [Laughter]. And--

Lisa  25:33  


Tasha  25:35  

--and the same way for the fabric. Sometimes I'm like, I have a trip coming up later this year. And I pull out fabric, I'm like, finding something in this for what I need. So I've been thinking about patterns. Stuff has been, like, playing in my head for what I can use with it. So it goes both ways. It goes both ways. I try not to be too rigid about it.

Lisa  25:52  

Do you have a favorite part or aspect of your sewing space? Like, the thing that is one of your favorites, or, I'm really proud of this particular corner or, like, okay, I have this pattern cabinet. And it's really good. Or I have this particular cutting table, or my fabric wall. Like what is one of your favorite aspects of your sewing space?

Tasha  26:16  

My favorite thing is my fabric wall. I love it. Like, it's so colorful. I'm, like, trying to [unclear] I wish you could see it. 

Lisa  26:23  

Oh, I can see it. It's beautiful. I love all the different colors.

Tasha  26:27  

There's so many different colors. It's organized by fabric type. And then fiber types. The colors- if there's a bunch of the same type and then- so it's easy for me to find what I want to, like, mix that up. It makes me realize also what I'm missing. [Laughter]

Lisa  26:42  

Oh, okay. Yes. 

Tasha  26:44  

I'm saying, like, "I would like something in linen" and then I look back I'm like don't have anything that's like a plain linen color at all, every trouser, everything is you know-So then I'm like, okay, I realize how much more conscious I need me to be about the fabric I'm actually going out and buying it that's like me, because I have a lot of stuff that was patterned, like definitely a lot of like ITY knits, it was a pattern stuff, and I'm like, I don't really wear this anymore.


Lisa  26:49  

That's what's so smart about your system. So, like, I'm looking at it, when you're able to say something like, "I would like to wear something in linen for the spring." You can look over into one of your squares that has your woven fabrics. And, okay, this is the woven cottons, here's the wovens for bottom weights. Here's the wovens for the top weights. And here's the linen, and I'm looking at the linen box. And all I'm seeing is colors that aren't compatible for what I want. I really like that. I also love that your system is something that you can easily monitor and tell, like you said, where the gaps are. That's really great. 

How do you decide when you buy a new fabric? I asked because, you know, I'm really into sewing organization. And I got my whole- Episode 138 of the Stitch Please podcast is called "Fabric intake system." And it is about how I acquire new fabric, and if it's three yards or more, it goes here. If it's three yards or less, it goes there. Wovens go here. Knits go there, blah, blah, blah. How does that work for you? Because it looks like you, too, have a system? How do you decide what you buy? And what do you do with it when you bring it home?

Tasha  28:18  

So now--I'm kind of like on a ban.

Lisa  28:22  

Okay. All right. You're taking a hiatus. You're taking a break from the buying of fabric, I get that. 

Tasha  28:28  

Because honestly, I'll get into like, super boss of sewing, but then my output doesn't justify my intake. 

Lisa  28:33  


Tasha  28:33  

So I had to slow down. I do give myself allowance when I go out of the country. And I'm like, I'm never gonna be at this place again. I'm never going to be in this in-person fabric store again. 

Lisa  28:46  


Tasha  28:46  

But when it just comes to like buying fabric online, or like, going to Joanne's or something, it's like, "Okay, girl, no. "

Lisa  28:47  

[Laughter] Mmm.

Tasha  28:50  

So now, if you just picking up online and buy it in another country. But when it comes to what I do with it when I come home, I definitely put a label on it: Where I got it from, how many yards is on it? And then I file it away. [Laughter] 

Lisa  29:08  

Yes, yes. 

Tasha  29:12  

But looking at it, it makes me want to sew more, even when I don't have the time. It's like yeah, "I want to use that. I want to use that. I want to use that." So lie it out in the open the way it is- because like I said it was does fuel my creativity. Even when I don't have time to sew, sometimes I just come in here and play with the [unclear]. It makes me want to, like, "okay, as soon as you get some time, you gonna come back in here and work on something," so.

Lisa  29:35  

Right. And I appreciate the way that you are inspiring and reinforcing your own creativity. That when you walk into the space, you look at the fabric wall, you're like, "Oh my gosh, there's so much possibility and yes, right now I'm in the middle of Project A and so I'm not focusing on sewing right this minute, but I know when I get back to it, this fabric is gonna be here."And that's pretty amazing. 

Tasha  29:59  


Lisa  29:59  

That's wonderful, Tasha. I love that so much. 

I have just one last question. Thank you so much for talking with me today. This has been a lot of fun. But I'm actually going to ask you the question we ask everybody. The slogan of the Stitch Please podcast is that we will help you get your stitch together. Tasha, what advice would you have for us to help us get our stitch together?

Tasha  30:21  

The advice would be to not create out of a place of desperation, or like [unclear]. Yeah, out of place of love and excitement. Because, one, it helps the project go faster when you're excited about and you love it. When you're like, kind of stressed about it, it takes forever, then you like messin' up. Make it out of a place of love and excitement so that you can continue to enjoy what you're creating.

Lisa  30:21  

And on that beautiful note, thank you so much, Telltale Tasha, where can folks find you and find what you're doing?

Tasha  30:56  

I am online on Instagram at thetelltailtasha. My blog is thetelltale And then on YouTube, at thetelltaletasha. Those three places and then, yeah, definitely Instagram I am more- that's where you'll see salsa dancing. On YouTube you'll see different lifestyle stuff. You'll see loc stuff, you'll see sewing stuff, more of a combination and then on my blog, it's mostly sewing.

Lisa  31:20  

Wonderful. Thank you so much for being with us here today.

Tasha  31:24  

Thank you.

Lisa  31:25  


You've been listening to Stitch Please, the official podcast of Black Women Stitch, the sewing group where Black lives matter. We appreciate you joining us this week and every week for stories that center Black women, girls, and femmes in sewing. We invite you to join the Black Women Stitch Patreon community with giving levels beginning at five dollars a month. Your contributions help us bring the Stitch Please podcast to you every week. Thank you for listening. Thank you for your support, and come back next week 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.

You may also like...


Discount code SEWBLACKQC for 20% off at Spoonflower and 10% off at Crimson Tate.