The school is owned by Emma Hawkins, a qualified primary school teacher who wanted to combine her love of teaching with her passion for sewing and creativity. Emma has been dressmaking for over 25 years and has run a successful ballgown hire business designing and making ballgowns and wedding dresses from home. She has also worked as an assistant costumier with Teresa Gale making period costumes for the Bristol Light Opera Company and The Bristol Hippodrome.
“I wanted to inspire people to express themselves creatively through a range of sewing and craft projects. The sewing school provides a whole range of courses including; all aspects of sewing, willow weaving and needlecrafts. Whether you are an experienced sewer or complete beginner, or would just like to try something new, the school has lots to offer. I also work as a textiles teacher at the local primary school giving the children the opportunity to develop & experience a range of sewing skills”.
Though Emma is the main full-time tutor at the school, she also employs experienced professionals specialising in specific areas, who can pass their knowledge onto others wishing to develop their skills. There will also be opportunity to attend charity workshops and meet guest speakers who can share their knowledge and experience.
Meet the Teachers
Gael has been a professional curtain maker for 25 years creating curtains, roman blinds, cushions and accessories for clients. She started sewing at the age of 14 when she made all her own clothes for a school trip to Denmark, including a fetching trouser suit in a nautical fabric! She especially enjoys upcycling vintage fabrics and giving them a new lease of life.
Abi is a professional Costume Designer and Maker with 12 years experience of freelancing in the industry. Her background is in theatre, circus and carnival. Abi graduated from The Bristol Old Vic Theatre School in 2008 with a Diploma in Costume Making for TV, Theatre and Film, and since then has had a varied career as a freelancer, mainly in the Bristol area but also abroad. Bristol based companies she regularly freelances for include; Cirque Bijou, Soap Soup Theatre, Cod Steaks, Midnight Costume, Bassline Circus, Boomtown Fair and Impact Artists. Abi’s passion is to create bold and beautiful costumes using a variety of techniques, and is never happier than when at her sewing machine making something sparkly!
Julie has always had a great enthusiasm for Sewing & Fashion, creating patterns and making her own clothes from the age of 12. After studying Fashion & Knitwear Design she worked in the fashion industry, as a Designer/Pattern Cutter , then over the years set up a small lingerie business. Julie has also done freelance work, making costumes for the Bristol Old Vic. Since qualifying as a teacher she has been delivering fashion courses for almost 12 years these include; Pattern Cutting, Bra, Corset and Lingerie making.
Laura is a passionate knitter who has knitted since she was 5, mainly knitting for family and friends. Since doing a textiles course at a local college five years ago Laura has been making a variety of lovely things to sell at craft fairs. She enjoys taking on challenges and is always willing to help, advise and pass on her skills.
Katie has been sewing and making bears for the past 10 years. Her passion started as a young girl when her auntie used to make bears, she would sit and watch her for hours, fascinated by the unique creations her aunt would make. Katie’s passion has followed her throughout her whole life. Her aim is to share this beautiful art with the world.
Alison has always designed and made things from an early age. After studying fashion, knitwear & product design she completed a further degree in Design teaching. She has spent the last 26 years teaching a wide range of design subjects to GCSE & A’ level standard. Whilst teaching Alison also completed a City & Guilds Millinery and has for the past 6 years been creating bespoke couture hats, fascinators and accessories for clients, selling work through bridal shops and craft fairs. She has also run fascinator classes locally.
Julie is an Interior Designer specialising in soft furnishings and has a small retail shop in Wedmore, Somerset. She is City & Guilds trained and creates hand finished curtains, blinds and cushions for her clients, mainly using the French and Spanish fabrics she imports and sells. Julie has been running workshops since 2006 and enjoys helping others create beautiful window dressings to enhance their homes.
Jess has had a passion for textile art since an early age, creating her first embroidery pieces at just 7 years old. Jess studied at Art college before moving on to University and qualifying as an Interior Designer. During the last 15 years she has worked as a design consultant, using a variety of materials and artworks to create beautiful spaces. In her spare time, Jess makes and sells her own embroidery pieces through her online shop and craft fairs. Jess can often be found at the sewing school, as she is also studying part time for a City and Guilds in Fashion Design.