As a child, I was always making clothes for my dolls.
Making stuff was the norm in my family.
When I reached my teens, I didn’t have the money to buy the clothes I wanted, so I started using my mum’s sewing machine to make my own - out of old sheets that I dyed!
My parents competed in ballroom dance competitions all over England every weekend and as my sewing skills improved, mum asked me if I would make a ballroom dance dress for her.
I studied her other dance dresses and replicated the structure, painstakingly adorning it with thousands of beautiful diamante and sequins (think Strictly Come Dancing!).
She loved it and as I continue to make many more for her I was soon getting commissions to create similar dresses for other dancers.
When a friend let me make her wedding dress, I added bridal gowns to my repertoire too.
Sadly though I was discouraged from pursuing a career in sewing and it wasn’t until 2018 that my passion was truly reignited
My local theatre group, Rickmansworth Players, needed a costume designer for their production of The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe and I excitedly volunteered.
After 6 manic months of sourcing, repurposing, designing, sewing and altering with help of the wardrobe team, we had created 120 costumes for a cast of 52.
I was awarded the Margaret Tabor cup for outstanding contribution.
The show itself also won NODA's Flame Award for ‘inspirational contribution to the pursuit of excellence in theatre’.
Since then I've gone on to costume other shows including Sunset Boulevard, Addams Family, Nell Gwynn for Rickmansworth Players.
Professionally I've worked with Britain's leading theatre school, Italia Conti, where I costumed Fashion (dance show exploring 1990's model scene to the back drop of Madonna), Grease, Elf, Emilia and Unreturning.
I lead the Inhabited Houses costuming project for the Chiltern Open Air Museum creating historical costumes for the engagement team to wear.
With a volunteer sewing team of some 15 members we build costumes from Iron Age, Georgian, Victorian, WW1, WW2 and 1950's.
I run sewing machine mastery classes hosted at the museum.
I teach adults sewing at Reading College.
And I host a number of online sewing programmes.
Sewing is a lot of fun, brilliant activity for mindfulness and so rewarding and satisfying when a garment comes together and is admired by others.
Now I’m on a mission to bring the joy of sewing garments to everyone so it's the norm, like it was 50+ years ago.
I want for you to sew garments that look stunning, fit and feel great to wear, so that when family and friends ask, what shop did you get that, they gasp in amazement when you tell them proudly you made it.
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