As a teenager in Manila, Amelia Pestrak learned the skills of a tailor from her aunt. Sewing and tailoring are an artisan trade of long-standing for many of her relatives in the Phillippines.
Now for the first Pestrak is putting her skills to use in her own clothing shop -- Amelia's Abubut. She opened in April in a small strip center at 3644B Henderson Boulevard.
The name "abubut" refers to a keepsake closet of trinkets and things that hold special meaning for their owner.
Pestrak's shop is filled with casual apparel for women and children, most of which Pestrak designs and sews herself. Clothing racks offer a variety of choices in colorful prints from sun dresses for young girls to adult women's blouses and skirts.
Amelia's Abubut also has purses and accessories including jewelry and scarves. There are even a few pot holders, aprons and cups around. Pestrak hopes people who stop by will find "your special thing."
The shop was in a mess when Pestrak moved in after a 4-month search for a South Tampa location. She and her husband, University of South Florida architect Walter Pestrak, cleaned up the space.
They painted the walls in bright yellow, added a fitting closet and display cases. Furniture and curtains add splashes of color. Walter Pestrak describes the shop as "bright and colorful" like his wife Amelia.
She grew up on a farm in rural Phillippines. But as a 16-year-old she moved to the urban province of Manila where she began learning how to sew and tailor clothes.
Some might find it boring but Amelia Pestrak says, "I love to do it."
And she gets satisfaction when people, including family, wear her clothes. "She's wearing what I did a long time ago," says Pestrak of her 92-year-old mother.
Pestrak has worked a long time as a tailor but a quiet retirement didn't suit her. "I don't want to just stay home," she says.
For now Pestrak's sewing equipment is at her home. But she plans to move it to the shop and stay busy turning out her hand-made keepsakes and watching her business grow.
Writer: Kathy Steele
Source: Amelia Pestrak, Amelia's Abubut