With the revival of retro skills and a trend for upcycling comes the appeal, and need, for sewing, but most young people have never thread a machine bobbin, picked up a pair of pinking shears and don’t have a clue about tacking. Chorleywooder Claire Davies is keen to teach the next generation how to sew – well
Schools gave up teaching needlework to under 11s years ago and unless Textilesis selected as a subject choice at secondary level young people seldom learn the art of making clothes, running up curtains or even sewing on a button properly.
Claire offers a chance to change this through her Material Girl workshops and one-to-one tuition.
“It all started with me helping my daughter Lily and a few friends to make basic clothes then other parents began asking me about teaching their kids to sew – and some wanted help themselves.” says Claire, “Apparently over a million people have taken up sewing in the last few years and Hobbycraft are selling lots more patterns and sewing machines but people are often scared to start. Dressmaking can be intimidating, it’s worrying splashing out on expensive fabric and potentially messing it up by making mistakes in pattern cutting or stitching.”
Claire, who has a BA in Fashion and Textiles and worked for luxury jewellery and accessory brand Tateossian for thirteen years, just loves to teach.
“It’s such a useful life skill to have and everybody enjoys it. I run workshops from my home or sometimes go to other people’s houses. I have some boys learning too. It’s great fun. We go through threading up a sewing machine and bobbin, learn how to change a machine needle (so many problems are solved by doing this as it can change the tension) and master basic techniques.”
“Claire is a fantastic teacher!” says Alex Bettridge whose daughter Marybeth, 14, can now sew competently “Claire has the right balance of being able to teach a new skill and then lets them carry on with trial and error, guiding her when needed. Marybeth has really grown in confidence. She has made Christmas stockings, cushion covers and a skirt!”
Material Girl One-to-one sessions £25 an hour, Group places £35 for three hours. 07760 177114
Photo: Jo Day Photography