Story of a sewing teacher

Let me take a break from sewing to tell you my sewing story…

learn to sew with Mandy near Bristol

I have loved making things since I was a little girl, I was probably about 6 or 7 when I started making things beginning with cutting a hole in a square of fabric to make a poncho for my dolls (it was the 70s). This was followed by more intricate dolls clothes with the help of my Aunt. I m

ade many dolls clothes and moved on over some years later to make my own clothes using my mother’s sewing machine. I did do sewing at school but not for very long, we made our cookery apron out of gingham fabric, it took ages as I seemed to spend most of the lesson waiting for the teacher to fix the sewing machine! I remember so well getting a sewing machine for my 18th birthday from my mother, it was really exciting, I think that is the one my daughter now has, it skips every 12th stitch but otherwise it works alright. I think one of the first things I made on it was a red, strappy summer dress. Nowadays I mainly sew bags, curtains, cushions, gifts and other home items but recently I have started to come back to clothes sewing, sewing tops, a skirt and dressing gown, oh and I have started patchwork and quilting too beginning a City & Guilds course in Sept 2016.

Sewing is my creative outlet

I love the satisfaction of creating and completing hand made and unique items. It is also a great way to escape and avoid the housework.

In 2002 I had a nasty car accident and although I managed to get back to work full time after a few years I was still struggling and sadly made the decision to leave. “So what now?”, I thought, “I have many hobbies perhaps I could take one of them to turn into a little business”. I spotted an advert in a sewing magazine selling a start your own sewing business kit. It included, lesson plans, advertising templates, booklets, scissors and even some fabric. Even though I knew I could write my own lessons etc, this would get me going much sooner so I bought it and started to run the After School Sewing Club. This went well and I saved enough money to buy 4 sewing machines, the adult sewing classes were born.

I’ve been teaching since 2006 now and love it

I love seeing the children creating and being so chuffed with what they have made and excited when they realise they can take their makes home. Adults may arrive a little nervous not knowing what to do with their sewing machine but they soon settle down enjoying getting to know how to sew and they leave with their new makes, confident to carry on at home.

Sewing has become more popular over the last few years, many are taking to the sewing machine, wanting to create something different, save a little money, up-cycling their wardrobe or to produce something individual and home-made as an alternative to mass produced goods. Programmes on television about artisan crafts, sewing programmes such as The Great British Sewing Bee, Sewing Cafes, newly published magazines, gorgeous modern fabrics all fuel the fire that is the sewing revolution.

Sewing makes me happy

I have many things I love to do which I call my hobbies, including sewing. I enjoy crochet, cross-stitch, reading, scrap-booking, card making, cooking, walking, photography and being by the sea. I am married and we live in our house in the country. The children have left home and both now live near London. The chickens cluck round the garden and tropical fish swim in a huge, round fish tank.

Thank you for listening to my story on becoming a sewing teacher, now back to my sewing machine and I look forward to seeing you soon.

A sewing party

My daughter had a sewing party for her 10th birthday, with seven of her friends. Mandy was really good with the girls and kept them amused for one and a half hours. The girls really enjoyed themselves and all had a lovely cushion to take home at the end of the party.

Sally Shaw


Sally Shaw