1. I know you’ve been sewing for most of your life, do you remember the first thing you ever made?
My earliest memory of sewing was when I was 4 years old. I used to come home from school for lunch and I can remember my Mum teaching me how to make a stitch sampler. I used to love it and wouldn’t want to go back to school so I could keep working on it. I’ve still got the sampler today up on my wall!
2. Do you enjoy any other crafts? Baking, knitting, papercraft etc?
I do enjoy other crafts and have tried lots of things from screen printing, to upholstery. I still knit really regularly now and like to crochet too but I’m not very good at tensioning my yarn to I always end up with hand cramp. I used to bake a lot, mostly cakes and cookies, but don’t have as much time any more.
3. Sewing must take up a large part of your day, how do you relax?
Funnily enough I relax by sewing too. Sometimes I can’t just sit and rest if I have a project idea in my head. I do run as well which helps me relax.
4. What are your favourite fabrics to work with? And are you drawn to a particular colour?
I love light weight cottons the best. My favourite colours are mustard, coral and dark blue and I really like small floral prints.
5. Tell us a little about your shop, and why you decided to leave your job as a physiotherapist to set it up?
Being creative has always been a passion of mine as I was growing up but I was pushed into more academic subjects like maths and chemistry in school. I love working with other people and physiotherapy fitted that bill at the time. After over 5 years in the NHS I realised that my true passions were in the creative world. At the same time my husband was deciding to what to do with a building he had owned for a long time that wasn’t being used. We decided to solve both dilemmas and renovate the building into a shop and sewing school and just see how things went. The building is incredible! We are in the middle of Moseley Village in South Birmingham and its a conservation area so we wanted to restore it to it's full glory. It took over a year to renovate the place and set up the shop. Since we opened in April 2013, it’s been amazing and I’m so happy that the shop and workshops have been so busy as popularity of sewing continues to grow.
6. The Great British Sewing Bee was a special time for you, did you learn anything from the show? And do you keep in touch with any of the contestants?
The Sewing Bee was an amazing experience! Before the show there were a lot of garments that I had never made before – the trousers, a jacket and a man’s shirt. I would have never thought I was capable of things that are quite complicated but I had to just get on with it at the time. It made me realise that a lot of the time its lack of confidence and fear that things will go wrong that hold people back. If I had been at home I wouldn’t have made those things but the show pushed me to new limits and I’ve not looked back since! I do still keep in touch with some of the contestants. The whole process of being involved in the show is very intense and its only really the other contestants that understand what its like – so it’s really lovely to have made some friends for life from it!