Jennifer Mills

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My love of sewing began at an early age, when my mum taught me to sew by hand, and then by machine, around the age of 8.

Making my own clothes became a fun and rewarding activity, as a teenager, and, watching a man making dresses in Affleck’s Palace, Manchester, when I was 13, made me realise that sewing could be much more than a hobby. I bought one of his dresses that day and continued to learn about garment construction both at home and at school.

I was offered an apprenticeship as a dressmaker, after leaving school and jumped at the chance. In my spare time I made my own clothes and taught myself as much as I could, often staying up late to perfect a new technique.

I attended private pattern cutting lessons, which really opened my eyes to the possibilities of making a pattern to fit perfectly. Pattern cutting continues to fascinate and excite me every day and I love to share my skills with others.

When I was 20 I was offered a job with Betty Foster at her studio. It was an amazing opportunity to learn even more about pattern cutting and to work for a woman I’d watched on televison. We made bespoke patterns at the HQ in Crewe, Cheshire and travelled to sewing shows at the NEC, amongst other destinations. I found it fascinating to observe Betty Foster talking to audiences about adapting patterns to fit their own body measurements. I would then dash from the room she’d given a talk in, to the stand where we sold bundles of fabric, patterns and haberdashery to enthusiastic customers. They were fired up and ready to purchase books and materials. I loved the creative buzz of it all!

After working full time for eight years, I decided to study for a qualification in Fashion Design. This broadened my outlook and enabled me to add to the skills gained in the work place.

My creative and technical skills have taken me to India, Italy and the US, working in small scale clothing production, teaching one-to-one sewing lessons and the City & Guilds Fashion syllabus.

With a love of the outdoors and as someone who finds a tremendous amount of inspiration in nature, I studied Practical Horticulture in 2013/2014. I discovered there are many more connections between fashion/textiles and horticulture than I first thought. I’m often absorbed by colour, texture and shape whether I’m designing, sewing or gardening.

I have a keen interest in upcycling. I find creating long lasting, wearable clothing and accessories from fabrics that may otherwise be sent to landfill, is very rewarding. I also enjoy teaching with this ethos in mind. Seeing scrap turned into beautiful creations is exciting and inspiring!

To view some of my sewing demonstrations on live television channel, Sewing Quarter, please click the following links. 

The BurdaStyle Sewing Handbook

Faux leather boxy jacket with cotton lining and bias bound edges. Clothkits pattern

Vogue cotton dress with gathered skirt and fitted bodice

There are more links to my demonstrations in this blog post

About you

  • Do you run an organisation or business where you’d like me to run a creative workshop?
  • Are you an individual who would you like to make beautiful, well fitting clothes for yourself, your friends and family?
  • Do you have unworn items in your wardrobe, in need of alterations? Learn to adjust clothing to fit you perfectly, including taking in dresses and sewing jeans hems with a high quality finish.
  • Is there a rarely used sewing machine in your home that you’d love to use more often, with confidence?
  • Are there any unfinished projects you’d like some guidance and encouragement with so you can feel a great sense of satisfaction in finishing them?
  • Would you like to make a block booking and be taught specific skills so that you can create a dream garment? This includes email support between sessions and plenty of additional hints and tips.
  • You can read more on the ‘Classes’ page.

Simply send a message via the Contact page. I look forward to hearing from you.

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