Sewing bee creates a buzz about the craft in Calder Valley

Tansy Dyer at Cheeky Sew and Sew, Todmorden
Tansy Dyer at Cheeky Sew and Sew, Todmorden

A sewing cafe is having a darn good time after a TV show helped bring the craft’s appeal to a wider audience.

People aged from teenagers to 80-year-olds from the upper Calder Valley and further afield have been visiting Cheeky Sew and Sew, on Rochdale Road, Todmorden, to sign up for classes and to ask for advice with their projects after being inspired to learn the skill.

Tansy Dyer, who owns the sewing cafe, said: “The Great British Sewing Bee has really made a difference.

“I have had more bookings on courses.

“The sewing bee is really terrific because it shows how easy it can be to make things.

“Sewing is a really valuable, practical skill.

“Clothes are a standard size and people are not.”

Tansy is particularly pleased that more younger people are taking up the craft.

“I have got two teenage lads who come and do a project one-to-one,” she said.

“They want to be fashion designers.

“I think it’s good that younger people are getting involved. Skills that you learn when you are younger stay with you.”

Tansy, who opened Cheeky Sew and Sew two years ago, runs a wide range of textile-based courses including knitting, sewing, rag rugging and basic upholstery.

“Quite a lot of the stuff is basic,” she said.

“We do a four-week learning to sew course. That’s by far the most popular.

“You can make a simple item in four weeks. You get that feeling of ‘I’ve done this’.”

There are also knitting and sewing groups that meet on a weekly basis, and a drop-in session where people can call in and use the equipment by the hour.

The sewing cafe can also be hired for functions such as children’s parties and hen nights.

The most popular items Tansy is asked for help with are bags, cushion covers and pencil cases.

But she has also been asked for assistance with some more unusual projects including the soft top for a car and some Dolly Parton style dresses for a theatre group. “If it will go through the machine, I’ll have a go,” she said.

Everything for sale in the sewing cafe has been made in Todmorden.

“It’s about being a showcase for local people,” she said.

“There’s a lot of creative people around here.”

Cheeky Sew and Sew holds open days during the year at which people can find out more information and try some free taster sessions.

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