My roots are firmly planted in the mining town in Derbyshire where I grew up. I made my first dress at the age of four. I lay on the floor at nursery on a piece of fabric and drew around my body, then chose a contrasting piece of fabric and did the same for the back. I tacked it together and went home. Overnight my neighbour made it up properly for me. I loved that dress. She went on to let me turn the handle on her sewing machine and eventually taught me to sew for myself. By 11, I was making a lot of my own clothes.
My mother was a great cake maker, and with temptation all around I was a size 20 at 16. Being able to make
my own clothes was a blessing. I completed a pattern-cutting course and an A level in Dress and Textiles before going to university to study Psychology.
My passion for fabric, dressmaking, clothes (and cake) has stayed with me throughout my life. When my sister was planning her wedding, having shared the family love of cake she really struggled to find the perfect dress (or even one she could just try on). I took on the task of making her dress for her, and then realised that there was a market
for a plus-size dressmaker in my town. For three years I grew the business, but my skills were pretty restricted to dressmaking, as tailoring was definitely beyond me. I moved to London for a job allocating stock for Evans and moved into the world of buying and retailing. For 20 years, I worked my way through several brands in Arcadia, ending up as Merchandise Director for Principles, and then International Director for Warehouse and Principles. It was an exciting time and a wonderful career where I was surrounded by buyers, designers, fabric and clothes.
My career was full on, and I moved to part time consultancy to enable me to spend more time with my family. When my son went to university, and after 20 years of being too busy, I started to sew again. I soon discovered that my husband was not the best person to go fabric shopping with, so I set up a sewing group, and then another, to have people around me who also loved fabric. I realised quite quickly that sewers can get disheartened when they don’t know which colours or styles suit them, and so I started to give workshops on colour and style to my sewing groups.
Over the last four years I have found lots of women to share my passions for fabric, dressmaking, clothes and cake – we have
lots of fun learning from each other and I love being part of a sewing community. (Here’s me in my first skirt pattern I designed
using recycled fabrics – a bit Game of Thrones?!)
More women who didn't sew wanted to get involved somehow, and I now run a separate group with 100 members called ‘Looking Good, Feeling Great’ which just focusses on colour, style, fun and friendship. The groups are bursting with creativity and these women have inspired mycolourstylist and my professional training with Nikki Bogardus of Prism xii to become a personal colour consultant. I now offer workshops and personal colour consultancy from my home in Kent, which – of course - comes with cake! (Fortunately, Mum has stopped baking, so I have shrunk a bit to a size 14.)
mycolourstylist is my passion, but it is all about you. My very first workshop was called “Love Your Body”, which I've now adopted as my tag line. My aim is to make everything as personalised as possible. This is about you and your body; how to choose clothes that you love, that fit with your lifestyle and personality, which flatter your body shape and your natural colours. It's designed to make you look and feel great.