This is the traditional page where you can learn all “about” me which, of course you can below. However, I really want you to understand that The Sewing School is about YOU. It’s about what you want to learn and create. It’s about how far you’ve come and where you want to go next. It’s about your trials and mistakes, your goals and achievements. I want to be with you on your journey, encouraging, inspiring, commiserating and generally holding your hand, unless you need it to cut some fabric, in which case you can have it back at any time. In order to illustrate this have a look at the student gallery page to see what others have done, how it’s always been about their projects and not mine. I often get jealous when I see the fun they are having and how they have the freedom to explore and experiment along the way. My sewing tasks take the form of my day job of sewing and altering wedding dresses; not much experimentation going on there, trust me; It’s technical expertise all the way! So, in the spirit of convincing you that you are in good hands when it comes to knowing about sewing I have also included a gallery of my own work just to prove I haven’t made all this up!

I started sewing as a very small child on my grandmother’s hand powered Singer sewing machine, which I still own. My passion was aroused when tagging along with my mother and grandmother to fittings with their dressmaker, Maria, and seeing all the lovely fabrics strewn about the place. To my young eyes this seamstress was a dark, exotic creature from Italy who spoke in a language I could not understand at the time and who wielded a magic wand in the shape of scissors and pins. She referred to things such as darts and tucks, pleats and hems all in an enigmatic accent while flapping her hands around for effect. She was hypnotic.

I begged her for some scraps and a lifelong love affair with cloth and stitch was born.

 

The fabrics had such exotic names, some of which I haven’t seen since, or at least not in the same quality; things like barathea, Worsted, cashmere and camel (yes, camel!).
And don’t get me started on the satins and brocades. There was one particularly gorgeous satin of gold rose blooms on a black background that my mother had made up into a party dress. I’m still a sucker for a big blousey rose in anything!
I was lucky enough that Maria would make simple A-line dresses for me with things like flowers or poodles appliqued on the front. This was Middlesbrough during the 1960’s so I was the talk of the town!

Although the hand powered Singer has long since ceased to be one of my tools, I do still have the lovely Elna Lotus that launched my professional career when I needed to raise funds to get me through Art College. I would carry it to client’s houses or workplaces and carry out alterations on the spot. A case of learning on the job, I guess. It looks a bit battered as a result but has had a refit and is still going strong. It is used by the “younger learners” (my grandchildren) as it is a bit less daunting than a full size machine. I don’t expect they will become professionals like me but if they can enjoy it as a hobby or use it as a practical skill around the house then I will be pleased.

Having gained so much joy and satisfaction from my business designing and making wedding dresses and other specialist bespoke garments and accessories over the ensuing decades, including a range of one-of-a-kind upcycled garments; it seemed a natural progression to share my passion and knowledge. Therefore it was a happy day many moons ago when I was asked by Kent Adult Education to deliver a range of sewing classes for them which led to my qualifying as a tutor.

And so, The Sewing School was created, enabling me to pass on my skills to other enthusiasts of all ages and abilities; all the while, watching them grow, gaining confidence and reaching their creative potential.