Sewing Space is open

Thought I’d update you all as I needed a rest!  In just over two weeks I have gone from having an idea, a vision of what my company should look like to being ready to open my doors.  WOW

The response to my idea of having a space where people can come and learn to sew but where the focus is also about having fun and meeting people has been phenomenal.  And it’s really motivated me, nice when no-one thinks you’re crazy 🙂

I signed the lease last Monday, moved in this Monday and with lots of help from my fabulous support network we’ve cleaned, painted and moved all the gear in.  Don’t worry about the bare walls we’ve got plans for those once the paint is dry.  I am like a kid just before Christmas I am so EXCITED!

So here it is Sewing Space.  Come and join us you’re always welcome xx


Hello There

Well I guess this blog has been a bit quiet for a while.  You might be wondering why and I can quite happily tell you I’ve been busy 🙂

Since my last blog I have completed my sewing course and I’m waiting for my certificate (me and thousands of teenagers I suspect).  I’ve also enrolled on a course to get qualified to teach adults. Seems odd since I’ve been doing that for years, but I believe there’s always something to learn from someone else.  Plus more certificates so my kids realise even adults can get awards.

Speaking of my kids, CGG has started telling people “mummy sews for a living” which is cute.  I’ll be honest I didn’t know how to talk to a 3 and 5 year old about redundancy, the feelings of loss, uncertainty and the whole horrible situation.  So I didn’t. I might be over protective but it felt right.  So I guess they’re not really that aware how big a deal this is.  And it’s about to get bigger!

Yesterday I signed the lease on an office space.  Why? because if you’re going to dream, dream BIG.  I get the keys next Monday and first workshops will be in September.  Between now and then I need to decorate and furnish, set up a booking system, get all my coaching plans and “how to’s” done.  And this is just the beginning, I am so EXCITED!  So from Monday

Workshopswill be born and I look forward to welcoming you all to the “Social Sewing” experience.

Starting Again

Well OK maybe not quite.  But certainly somewhere quite close.  I’m now half way through the Fashion & Textiles course.  I expected to brush up on some of my techniques, I expected to learn some new ones but what I didn’t expect was to really start to understand the difference between sewing for a hobby and sewing as a business.  It’s been great 🙂

I had written a business plan and it includes sales projections, product costings, overhead calculations and of course my dream of holding mutli skilled craft workshops.  But it doesn’t come close to describing the step up I am now making in the accuracy of my cutting, sewing and finishing.  Or the difference between making one of something and making (hopefully) dozens.  All of which is fundamental to making a success of my new venture.

And there has been an unexpected bonus of being able to observe an experienced tutor handle a group with a huge range of abilities.  Making sure that we work as a group but each individual learns at a level they need to achieve and stay motivated.  I’m really looking forward to the next two weeks.

A few snaps of my course work (I think you’ll see more of the fabric boxes I love them!)


Business Plans, Bags and College.

Well variety certainly is the spice of life at the moment.  But I think that’s the joy of running your own business and not something I’m ever going to complain about 🙂

I spent most of my birthday talking to people about my future and where I see myself going.  From the nice lady at the job centre (my work coach), to my sister (my life coach), to the fabulous lady at Penna Outplacement (my business coach).  I feel like I’m bubbling with ideas and enthusiasm but it needs moulding into something more solid.  And that’s why it’s good to talk!

From Monday I’m attending Oldham College Sewing Academy (OCSA) where I’m hoping to hone my skills and learn the “professional” tricks.  I will also gain a certificate in Textiles and Fashion, which for someone almost completely self taught is something I’d really like.  A course courtesy of OCSA and the DWP, ta guys much appreciated.

And then in August I’m planning to attend a Self Employment Awareness seminar which I’m quite excited about because I’ll be able to mix with other people looking to start businesses too.   But also because I get to pick the brains of some successful and knowledgeable people.  I’m also going to be meeting the lady Penna have introduced me to who is going to help me with marketing, not my strong suit 🙁

And then on to September when I’m going to be on a Training and Education course.  I have been designing and delivering training for years but my workshops will be different as the focus will be much more about having fun.  As much as I loved this aspect of my previous job I have not met a single person on a SAP course who was there expecting to have fun (although I tried).

But in all the exciting things there’s the spectre of chaos, of time wasted, of failure.  Which is why, although it’s taking some time that I’d rather spend designing or sewing, I am working on a business plan.  I won’t lie working through HMRC expense claim regulations and doing product costing is NOT fun.  But at least I can see it could be successful, all it takes is hard work, a little luck and the continued support of my nearest and dearest.  Let’s do this!

Oh were you wondering about the bags?  I snuck in some sewing because how else can you cost if you don’t do a prototype?  So here are a couple from the “girly” range, they’re reversible shoppers for those who like a change every now and then.  And if you look really carefully (or scroll to the last picture) you can see my brilliant new labels from easy2name.

Applique Workshop 17th May 2015

20150517_083858Well what a busy day it’s been!  I confess I’m a bit of an organiser so I’ve been “staging” the things for the workshop since about Wednesday.  Still there’s always that last minute “What have I forgotten” moment when I set off.  Whatever it was today, we didn’t need it 🙂

And because I’m uncomfortable being on the last minute by 8:30 my boot looked like this, even though the room was booked from 12:30….

20150517_131458I’d not seen the room before but it worked out pretty well; room to wander round, nearby kettle, lots of tables and chairs.

Because everyone was starting a piece from nothing we spent most of the time making and cutting patterns, choosing fabric and cutting it out.  In fact I don’t think anyone finished a piece except the lovely Kaycee who was chuffed as anything with her cushion cover (no applique).

No one seemed to mind that we’d have to get back together to finish up so I’m pretty happy that they enjoyed themselves and like all good things I’ve left them wanting more!  Here are some pictures of their work so far…..

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Workshop Countdown

The last couple of days have been “organising” days.  The dreaded tax return has featured but then so has the Applique workshop I’m running on Sunday.  I’ve spent some more time making pattern templates which is fun in a geeky kinda way.  So now I have these guys in my collection

The dining room is now a staging area for all my fabrics, tools and of course my machine.  But I still felt unprepared and that’s because I haven’t actually proved any of my new patterns work.  Well you guessed it there really is only one way to test that.  So this afternoon has been spent cutting, ironing and sewing.  To produce this little dude….


And while he is very cute he’s also not very functional.  So I spent the rest of my afternoon making him a “friend” and turning the whole lot into a little shopper.


If you’d like to know more about my workshops then please use my feedback form or the comments on this post.

Workshop Preparation

The last two days have been very productive and so much fun.  I’ve been preparing for an Applique Workshop I’m running and I need some basic templates for people who don’t have a particular design in mind.  So meet Moggie, Doggie and Monkey!

I’ve sat here at my laptop creating not just the pictures but the patterns as well.  I guess it’s not everyone’s idea of fun but I’m looking forward to creating more.  I’m planning Owls, Dinosaurs and Swaddled Babies but if you have any suggestions you can use the comments and I’ll see what I can do.

And I admit I see monkeys and think of this so I created a more complex picture for those who really want to challenge themselves….

Mand Made Monkeys Three

If you’d be interested in a future workshop please use the feedback/contact form and I’ll let you know when the next one is.