How it all started...

Once upon a time (in May 2014), having been made redundant 2 weeks before and very fed up of cleaning the house! I decided on trying some Sashiko Embroidery. I made a visit to my local haberdashery shop; Sewcraft in Swindon. While looking for the bit and bobs I needed, I got chatting to Roger and Julie, the owners of the shop and they were both very excited about ... and the following conversation went as follows:

Roger: “We are going for it!” (Opening a second shop next door to Sewcraft, their existing shop).

Me: “Really, that’s great; I am really pleased for you. But I have some news too; I have been made redundant.”

Roger: “That’s great!”

A very stunned me: “No, that not the correct answer!”

Roger: “Yes it is you can open your school”.

And that is how my fairy tale story started. I opened my doors on the 15th September 2014, with a newly furnished classroom. A bright, beautifully lit, clean and well equipped, warm room.

A room that has been described as like sewing in your dining room but without having to pack everything away and the bonus of chatting to like minded friends.

Update: During 2016, I got extremely poorly and eventually it was strongly suggested to me to give up work! Give up work; not on your Nelly. Why would I give up a job that I love and live for? So; after many ‘lively’ conversations between my family, the doctors’ and the hospital, I compromised and the decision was made to move the school to our home in the beautiful village of Wroughton. We have a dedicated sewing room and the only difference is that the class numbers have been halved, which is brilliant for the students because you get even more teaching time for your money. And the benefits of looking after my physical and mental wellbeing are just wonderful. There is always a silver lining.

I started knitting at the age of 6, I managed to knit my Sindy doll a lemon coloured cape but only because I managed to lose lots of stitches! I completed my first turquoise tank-top at 9. I had already got hooked on cross-stitch and then received my first tapestry kit for Christmas at the age of 14. I taught myself to crochet at 15. I completed my C.S.E Needlework at School, my ‘A’ Level Needlework at College. I continued making my own clothes, buying remnants at the local markets. In the 1990’s I completed my City & Guilds in Fashion and Design, Patchwork & Quilting and Embroidery.

I made must of my children’s clothes especially for my daughter. I have a grown up son and daughter, who both work at sea and you get to hear of their escapades in class. I also have a bouncy Beaded Collie and a potty mouth African Grey Parrot plus a very supportive husband!. I made my daughter many hand smocked dresses, with matching embroidery on her hand knitting cardigans and socks, which were always admired not realising her clothes were made with minimal pennies but lots of my loving time. At the age of 5 my little girl started ballet, and needed her first ‘original’ leotard for a little show being staged during her

summer school. Not being able to afford to buy her a new one and no time to find a second hand one. I sat up all night and made my first Lycia leotard, it was a hit with her and her dance school in Southampton. A life of making dance costumes started. My original designed costumes have been worn at many festivals, national competitions and professional shows. I have also designed and made many gymnastic leotards, including one for an upcoming gymnast who eventually made it into the 2012 Olympic Rhythmic Team. I have sewn many ice skating costumes too.

I understand what these costumes need to do for the dancer/gymnast / skater, who has to look stunning and be able to move with a following ease on their chosen stage.

Apart from sewing in the evenings making costumes or clothes, many people asked me to teach them how to sew and I knew I had a talent for doing just this but never dreamed of owning my own school.

Having worked as an executive PA and Office Manager, overseeing all company accounts, payroll and HR, a job, which I have done most of my working life. I have also been a bar maid, a job I have done in this country and abroad which is the best job in the world for learning people skills! I also worked for a family run upholsterers business, while living in Norfolk.

I was comfortable in my vocation; sewing and knitting were my relaxation away from the office. Then, here in Swindon; after 11 years of working for the same company having moved locally in 2003 and being asked to join the company. I was sadly made redundant and this is how I can now enjoy my hobbies full time and share the pleasure with you.

My aim is to teach you in a very relaxed and adaptable way, for you to learn your chosen craft, giving you the correct skills to take away with you; enabling you to complete your chosen craft and giving you, continuing enjoyment and satisfaction.

My fairy tale became my reality and I am living my dream with the best job satisfaction you could ever want, which shows when I am teaching you.

I am incredibly lucky and thank full.

Jacky