I thought I’d do a little post to introduce myself and tell you a little more about my background in sewing. It’s been quite varied…
I began sewing when I was a child, I can’t tell you how old I was, it’s always been a part of my life. I began making things for myself with the help of my mum. One of my first memories is making a pair of khaki combat style trousers, I’d been wanting a pair for ages, but being a small skinny child, the only clothing that fit sold in shops was too childish for me. So I made what I wanted, that attitude has always stuck with me, if I can’t afford it, I’ll work out a way to make it if I can. My school didn’t have a textiles department, but I was lucky to attend the local high school to get my textiles a-level whilst also studying art and graphics at my school. I loved my textiles lessons, getting the chance to learn about drafting patterns and more techniques. For some reason at art foundation I took a complete u-turn and went onto a jewellery and silversmithing degree, I realised it wasn’t quite me, but I was able to do a top-up course in corsetry. My final work was corsets explained as ‘body adornment’ – the definition of jewellery. I’ve always been inspired by underwear and corsetry, from studying in a-levels, watching burlesque dancers, old and new. Watching ballet dancers and adoring all the costumes. Looking through history at how much underwear has changed with social status, fashionable figures and advances in technology is fascinating.
Sewing has always been therapy for me, if you’ve known me a while you’ll recognise this top as my signature design from many years ago when I had a small children’s wear business. That business began from anxiety, quietly making my newborn baby clothes, spiralling into making friends babies clothes, then friends of friends, until I had a little online shop and an Instagram which sold out new releases the night I launched them! That sounds like I’m gloating and on the surface, life looked good. But really, it was out of my control. Just over four years ago I was pregnant again, but moving 100 miles away and restarting our lives. Along with all this change my brain had reprogrammed itself and decided that sewing was an anxiety-inducing task. I really struggled to do it, which I was devastated about. I didn’t want to lose that part of me, I realised I had to get my confidence back, I had to fall in love with sewing again. I also felt like I was contributing to fast fashion in a way, so many garments seemed to only get worn the once, for that all important gram photo, I was guilty of it too. I’d been brought up sewing well-made garments that could be worn again and again, I’d been brought up with a make do and mend mindset. So I took some time out, I made hair peices to sell in a bid to do something for me and to use up some of my fabrics.
Since then I’ve done a whole lot of selfish sewing, I feel confident in my abilities again. I still have doubts and confidence crisis but I now use that to push myself to learn something new or try again! I’ve mainly sewn from my stash or only bought (or been given) special fabrics and patterns that have a purpose and will be worn again and again. I’ve learnt new skills, I’ve experimented a lot and I’ve been working on alterations and got experience in tailoring. That leads me to my current venture, I’ve always loved thrifting (clothing bought often requires a bit of love) and always mended repurposed things I own. So it was a natural progression to help others, either to do the work for them or to teach.
I’m currently passing down my skills to my daughter, who has successfully made scrunchies and skirts so far. I cant wait to see if this is a love that Amber will continue and what she’ll achieve. My neice makes something most times she visits, if only she was closer!