I’m 27 years old and a fairly amateur, but slightly obsessive, dressmaker.
Many seamstresses begin their story with tales of their mothers whipping up an endless stream of colourful dresses and little jackets, and learning to sew under their mother’s wing.
This wasn’t the case for me. My Mum never had a sewing machine and it came down to my Gran to do any repairs or alterations. Gran had a sewing machine and would shorten our school trousers. There was a fear that accompanied Mum pinning up the hems around our ankles. The threat of a stab in the Achilles was terrifying.
When we moved to England, Mum was hundreds of miles away from Gran’s machine. But she didn’t learn to sew. Instead, she discovered iron on hemming tape and with a swift iron, was able to alter our trousers herself. It’s not that she wasn’t creative, as she was a keen knitter, but she just never picked up the sewing bug.
As an adult I began making Halloween and fancy dress costumes. I would go to my boyfriend Simon’s house, and his mum, Helen, would let us use her vintage Alfa (I think it was a Sapphire).
The first sewing machine that I owned was a vintage Singer 99k (right) in perfect working order. Simon found it at a car boot sale and purchased it for a trifling £3. It was beautiful, however creating anything was a slow process. I bought my first electric sewing machine last year. I chose a navy blue JL110 from John Lewis. Perfect for beginners, it was budget friendly and had lots of functions. I set it up in our spare room and in a few months several projects were started. Most are still unfinished.
I finished my first garment in January 2015 and started Thimble Minds shortly afterwards as a way of recording my progress.
I hope that by sharing my experiences, I can show how a little perseverance and know how can allow you to take up a creative and rewarding hobby for as little money as possible.