Sew and Scandal in Burgess Hill

In the quest to help save the planet, sustainable fashion is a vitally important topic. However, sustainable clothing isn’t always accessible to everyone, and one alternative is to learn how to make and mend your own clothes.


If this sounds like a daunting prospect, you’re not alone – that’s why groups like Sew and Scandal are an invaluable resource to anyone interested in sewing and mending. We spoke to Nicola, who runs the group, to find out more.


How did your own interest in sewing start?

I was always surrounded by handmade clothes and things, but I really learnt how to sew when I was shipped off to stay with my grandma after my GCSEs. Together we made a patchwork quilt, she taught me how to use a sewing machine, how to pick fabric, and not to worry about mistakes.


Tell me about Sew and Scandal – what can someone expect from joining the group?

Sew and Scandal is my weekly sewing club in Burgess Hill. It’s on Wednesday evening at 7:30pm in school term times. It’s held at Southway Junior School.

I have people of all skills and abilities. Some are total beginners dipping their toe into making clothes and some are experts in patchwork. It’s a wonderful community of people with a shared hobby. You will find inspiration, encouragement, laughter, and someone always ready to pass you a seam ripper when you make a mistake.

We all bring our own project to work on, our own sewing machines and sewing kit.  There is an ironing board, iron, cutting board, and ruler. And of course, tea and biscuits!


Is it easy to learn to mend your own clothes? What tools do you need to start?

Yes, from simple fixes to big adjustments, you just need a needle and some matching thread.


What would you say are the top five most important skills or techniques a beginner sewer needs to learn?

My top tips are …

  1. Learn how to thread your sewing machine and bobbin – this is the only time I ever recommend reading your instruction manual.
  2. Most sewing is straight lines, even complicated-looking bags and clothes… mostly straight lines.
  3. Don’t buy the cheapest thread, it ends up in knots and is so frustrating.
  4. Do hunt out beautiful second hand and vintage fabric – curtains, table cloths, bedsheets can all be turned into something beautiful.
  5. Make the most of YouTube tutorials. There isn’t an original thought left in the world, it’s all on YouTube!


What advice would you give to a novice sewer?

Enjoy every step – picking the fabric, cutting, sewing, pressing, sharing it with a friend. It’s all part of it!


Email Nicola at [email protected] to find out more about Sew and Scandal.

by Alice Smales

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