It’s Sew Simple is a mobile sewing school, who aim to show you that the most challenging sewing tasks can be made simple. Jenni starts by teaching you basic sewing techniques, and works up towards helping you design and make your own clothes. Her workshops are very creative and tailored that support all sewing abilities, whilst building your confidence so you will go away inspired wanting to make more. With It’s Sew Simple, sewing is fun and easy; a life skill we can enjoy, maintaining attention to detail in beautifully-crafted textiles products. To find out more about how it all started, what inspires Jenni and what the future holds, take a look at our interview with Jenni below…
How did it all start?
Well before 2015, our vision for It’s Sew Simple had one objective, to make sewing simple for everyone! I fell in love with sewing when I was a very young girl, when I first made a teddy-bear with my grandmother. Over the years, I learnt to love the art of sewing, how fabrics are manufactured and work together, as well as the attention to detail required in very simple garments.
After gaining a fashion degree at Middlesex University, I went on to work as a dressmaker for several years in central London. After qualifying as a teacher, I then went on to achieve a first-class masters degree, reading Design Studies at Central St. Martins, College of Arts, London and continued my work as a full-time classroom teacher, working as a head of design department at a very successful North London secondary school.
I set up It’s Sew Simple because I believed that I could open up my own ‘mini-school’, doing what I love best, sharing my expertise and knowledge of fashion and textiles in my own environment, far away from the target-driven culture that now exists within schools. Free, to educate children and adults about Textiles without the need for a grade .
The story behind the name… It’s Sew Simple
As with the KISS, an acronym for “keep it simple, stupid” or “keep it stupid simple”, is a design principle noted by the U. S navy in 1960. The KISS principle states that most systems work best if they are kept simple rather than made complicated; therefore, simplicity should be a key goal in design, and unnecessary complexity should be avoided. The phrase is similar with It’s Sew Simple; I aim to show you that the most challenging sewing tasks can be made simple.
Where are you based?
I am based in Finchley North London. I teach sewing classes at the Art Stables in East Finchley.
What inspires you?
So many things inspire me. I get my inspiration from a variety of sources; books, pinterest, the internet, clothes shops, fabric shopping, instagram and from friends. I sometimes go to the fabric wholesalers with a list of fabrics I need and other times I go to be inspired and then decide from the fabrics what I will make.
What is your creation process?
I like learning, so I find new sewing challenges all the time. If I have never done something before I teach myself and become a master of that skill. I also like to learn new craft skills, I recently taught myself marbling and Macrame. I like working with modern sewing patterns and modern on trend fabrics. I teach a Primary school sewing club, here I am constantly coming up wit; different, fun projects that include a textile’s or sewing technique..
What makes you, your brand or products unique?
I have an eye for colour, pattern and quality materials. I spend lots of time, sourcing materials, making clothes and blogging about the experience. I make children’s-wear, nightwear, cushions, bags, womenswear and sewing-kits. The sewing-kits are used to support learning in workshops. I also sell; fabrics, patterns and support resources. Nothing I sell I haven’t made or tried using or myself. I select simple designs and combine these with beautiful fabrics. My favourite fabrics are liberty silks and cottons.
What is your next project?
I am currently preparing for the start of my new Primary school textiles club and the Country Living Fair and Knitting and stitching show, all happening before Christmas. I am busy sourcing materials, testing and making written resources to support my teaching. Ranging from Macrame and marbled baubles, felting, patchwork cushions to zip bags. I am also making myself a new winter coat.
What are your plans for the next 12 months?
I have recently started teaching sewing classes to adults on Saturdays, I would like to establish a sewing community, which will enable me to continue teaching and developing my website shop. My long term goal is to have my own studio space, where people can come and sew, and I can teach and sew every day.
What is your biggest achievement?
Becoming a mother has to come first, having a Masters in Design, passing my driving test, learning a new sewing or craft skill. Outdoor swimming, swimming the Serpentine for the last 3 years, my fastest time was 1 mile in 30 minutes. Leaving full time teaching to start my own business…..
What is your best-selling product/line?
My sewing and craft workshops are always fully booked.
I create a friendly calm environment, I teaches; beginner, intermediate and advanced sewing workshops. i offers a range of sewing and textiles workshops, all thoroughly designed and taught with detailed help sheets and quality tools. Workshops are small and intimate with just 10 places in each workshop, allowing me to give lots of support and enabling me to answer any sewing questions you might have.
What do you love about Country Living Fairs?
There is always such a variety of products, and workshops. So many beautiful products, which are made by small businesses.
Your three top tips for crafters and makers…
- Make simple products to gain confidence.
- If you are making something for the first time, make it in a cheap cotton first. This way you practice, you bank memory knowledge and can make it to fit your size, without wasting fabric.
- Practice makes perfect: repeat a skill several times and you will soon become a master.
Any advice for fledgling businesses…
Use Twitter and Instagram to promote your ethos. Take small steps and try to keep to a tight budget. Keep it simple and share your ideas.
Join Jenni at the Country Living Fair workshops where she will be teaching you how to make macrame Christmas baubles, your own marbled baubles or how to design your own personalised baubles perfect to hang on the Christmas tree this season.