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The Work We Do: Melissa Stasi-Thomas, Little Miss Sew It All

My name is Melissa Stasi-Thomas and I own Little Miss Sew It All in Wading River.

Every day is different here. We have sewing lessons for children ages 6 to 16, so we’re basically an after-school activity.

We have regular classes where we teach children how to sew. On the weekends, we have drop-in sewing where we complete a little project with them — usually a stuffed animal. We have birthday parties on the weekends where they can make either pajama bottoms or one of those stuffed animals.

We have our summer camp, Project Funway, going on now where the children make an outfit and every Friday we have a fashion show in the courtyard.

I’ve been teaching sewing for 15 years. I’ve been sewing for 47. I started at the age of four with my Aunt Mary. She would sew and I would help her and it just progressed.

It was a hobby at first. We used to sew with my Girl Scout troop, with my daughter’s troop. A few of the other troops found out that we were the sewing Girl Scout troop, so we would visit several of them and do pajama bottom meetings so they could get their sewing badge. About 15 years ago one of the other girl scouts said, “What else can we make?” And it has progressed from there. For eight years, out of my house, we sewed at my dining room table. And then when the classes got bigger eight years ago, I opened my first studio in East Moriches and then, when the opportunity came to move here to the Shoppes at Eastwind, it was the perfect backdrop for us to move and relocate over here.

I love everything about the shop. The people and my kids are the best part of the shop.

I enjoy teaching them. Some kids take it very seriously. Some just come to have fun and we have fun right along with them. I believe it is a lifelong skill, so whether they’re going to pursue it as a career or sew for fun, sew with their kids when they get older, I just enjoy watching them progress from being afraid of the sewing machine to being comfortable behind it. It’s the best job in the world.

“The Work We Do” is a News-Review multimedia project profiling workers around Riverhead Town. It is made possible by Peconic Landing in Greenport. See more photos on Instagram @riverheadnewsreview