Jennifer Mills

burda_teaching_stamp purple sm 250


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

My fascination for how clothes are constructed was further sparked whilst watching a man making dresses in Affleck’s Palace, Manchester, when I was 13. I bought one of his dresses that day and a seed was sown for my future career.

I was offered an apprenticeship as a dressmaker when I left school and jumped at the chance. In my spare time I made my own clothes and taught myself as much as I could about garment construction techniques. I attended private pattern cutting lessons as a teenager, which really opened my eyes to the possibilities of making a pattern to fit perfectly. I used my new skills to create made to measure dresses, firstly at an evening wear shop and then freelance. 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 in Crewe. It was an amazing opportunity to learn even more about pattern cutting and to work for a woman I’d watched on a little black and white portable tv. 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.

Clothkits swing tunic

The BurdaStyle Sewing Handbook

Vogue cotton dress with gathered skirt and fitted bodice

Very Easy Vogue linen skirt with button front detail

Vogue jacket with centre back pleat

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?
  • 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?

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