Sewing patterns: A moveable business

I was originally from Poole, in Dorset (England), where I spent my child hood and late teenage years.

While living in Poole, I was lucky enough to attend Talbot Heath Independent Girls School getting an excellent education, which I left when I was 16. From then I attended The Arts Institute (Bournemouth), where I studied art and and design.

When my daughter was born, and I ventured into the real world, I originally had a job with Ceuta Healthcare in IT, which was miles away from what I truly wanted to do. At that time I wanted to be a Fantasy Illustrator. I spent a year or so working for Ceuta, then moved on to join the Royal Air Force. I worked in Admin for the RAF for 3 years, after which I married my husband and left the RAF.

I had spent far too long away from my passion for art and design, and having the extra time as a house wife enabled me to start exploring my creative side again.

I spent another two years, just trying to find what it was I was good at. I was a bit of an all-rounder at college, I wasn't outstanding or really bad at anything, which meant finding something that I was really good was actually quite hard.
However, my mum gave me her old Singer sewing machine because she was brought a new one, and all of a sudden it all clicked into place.

The Singer wasn't great, it was about 25 years old, and had never been serviced! Which meant it was very hard to work with. However, my wonderful husband purchased me a brand new machine for our wedding anniversary one year, and amazing things started to happen. Originally I made bags, and gave them to family and friends. But I wanted to do more, and as time went on, I learnt more, read books, attended courses. Until I was comfortable enough to start making my own patterns and clothing.

I had always intended to go and get another "real" job, but every time I looked into it, it just simply wasn't feasible, with the cost of childcare, running a car etc. I decided I wanted to work for myself, and selling my wears seemed to be the way to do it. I needed to be able to stop trading, pack up my things, move house and be able to start trading again straight away; sewing fitted into this very well. It also meant I was able to be there for my daughter during the day, luckily I just have to do the school run now as she's older, so I get most of the day to myself to work.

My first port of call for selling my wears was ebay. And ebay has been so good that I continue to trade there today, although the things I sell today are a far cry from the original gown I sold for just £30. I started making costumes for women and selling them on ebay, they were quite basic, but after every dress I had made I learnt new techniques and methods to improve and develop my designs.

As well as making to sell, over the last 6 years I have been moving away from the sewing side of dressmaking and spending more time pattern making. I do still sew, and now also offer tailoring services to the local military camps, but my primary focus now is my range of sewing patterns. I try to make them as easy to understand as possible, but for the more complex patterns, it's best if you have some sort of dressmaking knowledge and a decent sewing book near by to help you should you get stuck.

More recently my pattern drafting skills have been used for commercial ventures other than this website. Including some of the patterns for Bison Bushcraft's range of outer wear as well as features in Sewing World Magazine.

The patterns are all in UK sizes.

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