It’s hard to describe what I do for a living in a few words because it’s also a hobby, a passion and indeed an addiction! My Serendipity career in sewing has led from Editor of leading sewing magazines to author of 17 books, presenter of countless DVDs and YouTube clips to guest presenter on Create and Craft TV and Ideal World TV. I also run and teach at Creative Sewing Weekends, write projects and techniques articles for various magazines under my guise of Brand Ambassador for The McCall Pattern Company and organise extensive workshop programmes for the Knitting and Stitching Shows and Festival of Quilts, oh and teach a weekly sewing class.
I’ve run my own company and provided freelance services to many, dare I even say ‘most’ of the leading sewing industry companies all my working life which includes the major pattern companies, sewing machine companies, haberdashery and fabric companies and exhibition organisers. Just imagine – being seeped in haby, fabrics and all things sewing – it really is a dream come true.
I’ve travelled for my work too – from Finland and Paris for printing magazines to India for a Textile Tour and Denver USA to shoot a Craftsy.com class. Being asked to travel to Denver to film that class was such an honour. I also teach around the country, manage and run workshops at the exhibitions in London, Dublin, Harrogate, Edinburgh and Birmingham.
To sum it up - my main aim in my job is to share my passion for sewing and pass on skills and knowledge so that others get it too! With today’s modern haberdashery and sewing machines and the fabulous fabrics available, you really can sew anything you want and I love to share the skills and knowledge to make that happen.
If you want to read more about my Books, DVDs and Workshops, click on the relevant links.
My Book Career
My book career started way back in the early 90s and I’ve now written 17! My latest is the Great British Sewing Bee, from Stitch to Style which accompanied the Great British Sewing Bee series in 2016. Other favourites that you might find useful include Fun with Fat Quarters which is packed with projects, The Really Useful Guide to Using a Sewing Machine which is pretty self explanatory and all about getting to grips with your sewing machine and The Sewing Machine Accessory Bible which I wrote with Lorna Knight. That one is a veritable encyclopaedia of sewing machine feet and accessories and may be just up your street if you have lots of presser feet and are not quite sure what some are for! These all continue to sell well (hence my favourites!). To find out more about the books I’ve written, click here.
DVDs and You Tube Videos
Filming for DVDs or live TV shows is another of my favourite things to do. I love to share tips and techniques and to show how easily things can be done – when you know how!
Filming means I can really show a technique – as the camera gets close up and provides detailed images. Working on the script ideas, preparing samples, deciding on whether shots should be close up, mid or long shots is fascinating. Trying to ensure I get all the information across, redoing and redoing some sections to make sure it is perfect – it’s a buzz - particularly when it’s a wrap and I know that others will see the videos and hopefully find them helpful and inspiring.
So if you want to learn Dressmaking Techniques, how to Creatively Customise clothes, quick ideas for Soft Furnishings or all about Fabulous Feet then click on this link. (I really do have a thing about feet! I love to get the best from a sewing machine and all the lovely feet that you can use to help sew just about anything much more easily).
I’ve also done several YouTube video clips for Hemline Haberdashery – showing how to use individual products each time. So now rather than wonder what that gadget or gizmo is for – you can see it in action – just click here for quick links to the latest clips. A few years ago I also did some technical how-to sewing clips for Simplicity Patterns which are probably still out there on the Web!
Craftsy Class and TV
I’ve mentioned that I’ve travelled for work, which is good fun, particularly when you get to meet new people and share crafting experiences. I loved going to Denver to shoot the Craftsy.com class. Called The Sewers Toolbox: Presser Feet & Needles it is 8 lessons covering all sorts of presser feet and needles, showing what they look like, how to use them and some different uses to really get the best from your feet! (use this link to get 50% off the price of my class http://craftsy.me/2hYAyIg).
I also regularly appear on Create and Craft TV and Ideal World as a guest presenter for companies such as McCall Pattern Company and Brother sewing machines. I love these live shows – you are on air, live for an hour, putting whatever product you are promoting through it’s paces.
Fortunately you are teamed with a professional presenter whose job it is to do the ‘selling’ and keep the show on track. It’s fun, adrenalin fuelled, particularly if you encounter any mishaps or malfunctions – cos after all it is live! It’s great when viewers email in with questions and pictures of their projects and of course, I immodestly love it when people are pleased to meet me, having seen me on TV.
Workshops and Classes
Working with Jennie Rayment, I run and teach at Creative Sewing Weekends in Midhurst, West Sussex three times a year. We offer three workshops at each weekend, run by each of us and a guest tutor. They are really fun weekends where you meet and enjoy the company of like-minded sewists whilst learning new skills. What could be better? For details of this year’s Creative Sewing Weekends, click here.
Another of my many jobs is organising the workshop programmes for the Knitting & Stitching and Festival of Quilt shows which is a major logistical task (we have over 320 classes at Festival of Quilts and between 150 – 250 at each of the Knitting and Stitching shows).
Again, what a joy to be working with so many talented tutors who also enjoy sharing their passion and skills to encourage others. I put the programmes together well in advance so that tickets can be bought on line prior to the show and then manage the operation at the show so get to meet many, many interesting people who share a love of sewing, quilting, printing, dyeing, knitting, crochet, embroidery, needle felting, textile art and more. These events are always inspiring and invigorating (www.thefestivalofquilts.com; www.theknittingandstitchingshow.com).