Having been taught to sew by her mother and grandmother growing up in Fife, Scotland, Dawn decided to take the plunge and opened a new branch of the award-winning sewing tuition centre Sew Confident in 2019. Ever since, Sew Confident Chorley has helped people get crafty.
Sew Confident Chorley covers a wide range of haberdashery's myriad facets, including everything from beginners’ tutoring and hand embroidery to how-to-make classes for those looking to get hands-on with quilts, soft furnishings, lingerie, dresses, and tote bags.
Focused on reviving the tradition of hand-crafts in a warm atmosphere with like-minded people, it provides the perfect environment for experts and novices alike.
"I'm so glad we survived lockdown and, while it wasn't easy, we've been helped by the fact that our industry has boomed what with people being stuck at home probably thinking 'I'm going to do something for myself'," says Dawn, 44. "This January has been my biggest month ever and beginners' classes have been full to the max.
"People love it because we're relaxed and offer a nice environment," she continues. "We've developed a really good community - a lot of people come on their own and make friends, which is so nice to see because they might not have met if it wasn't for the sewing.
"Like with anything, people start off a little nervous, but the difference between the first week and their latest week is massive. They're like a different person!"
With five freelance tutors who run classes alongside Dawn, Sew Confident is also perfect for those looking to de-stress with a practical, engaging, and fulfilling hobby. Which, following lockdown, was just what the doctor ordered.
"It's hard work but I love it and I'm always learning - in lockdown, I started making my own clothes," says Dawn. "Also, as a franchise, we always want to be thinking of new things and adding new classes so people can come back and get involved in new things.
"It's such a rewarding job and I really enjoy it, even though it's hard work,” she adds. “I just get a lot of pleasure out of seeing people make stuff."
Having moved classes online quickly during the first lockdown, Dawn also says that Sew Confident Chorley ran free classes, sew-alongs, online tutoring, and sessions for people to make their own face masks. What's more, they sent out fabric kits all over the country to people looking to get a little DIY, including a handwritten note in each kit.
"Having something practical to do was an important outlet for people when it came to mental health," says Dawn. "We started an online class called Crafty Zero to Sewing Hero for people who'd never touched a sewing machine before with pre-recorded videos and live sew-alongs, and the response to that was great. We still do the odd one now.
"People were just delighted that they could learn something new," she adds. "And they could do it from the comfort of their own home."
For 10% off your first booking with Sew Confident Chorley, use code LEP10.