A couple of weeks back I went to one of Anita Bott’s Vintage Fashion Fairs and got chatting to June Allnutt, above, who was perched in front of her sewing machines, ready to mend or restore any vintage finds that needed a bit of tender loving care at the fair. June and her daughter Ria run Recycle and Sew a small company that will both teach you how to sew or pattern cut, make you a dress, take your hem up or restore your recent vintage find.
I was pathetically excited to see a sewing machine in action, it’s getting more unusual to find anyone under the age of 30 who either has a sewing machine or even knows how to thread a needle (fashion students excepted here obvs) whereas my mum taught me how to use her fancy electric machine when I was about ten, as most of my friends and I made (or our mums made) our clothes. It’s also hard to find anyone to make stuff for you today, or properly alter clothes and even more surprising to find someone who understands vintage clothes well enough to restore them competently. June and Ria will do all of this at very reasonable prices.
The pair of them are very well known for their excellent sewing classes, they will teach absolute beginners or help the already competent learn how to pattern cut or do more advanced stuff, either in their regular classes (in Southampton and London) or for £20 an hour they will come to your home. I think EVERYONE should learn how to sew in order to rustle up their first pair of curtains or knock out a pencil skirt for Saturday night out of some fabric you fell in love with at that last Margaret Howell sample sale (oh ok, that’s just me then).
Whatever, Jean and Ria could probably sort you out if you fancied learning. Or make you a dress. They are often at the Vintage Fashion Fairs, or you can contact them here.