Cutting Edge of Creativity; Two Talented Fashion Designers Who Have Worked with Leading British Labels Are Bringing a Touch of Paris to the North East with Pattern Cutting and Sewing Classes in Cafes. LIZ LAMB Finds out More

The Journal (Newcastle, England), April 9, 2011 | Go to article overview

Cutting Edge of Creativity; Two Talented Fashion Designers Who Have Worked with Leading British Labels Are Bringing a Touch of Paris to the North East with Pattern Cutting and Sewing Classes in Cafes. LIZ LAMB Finds out More


IT'S a trend that is de rigueur in the chic cafes of Paris and now the North East has a flavour of France, thanks to two fashion designers.

Cut & Sew is the brainchild of designers Hannah Shaw and Sarah Grant who spotted that pattern-cutting was a popular pastime in Parisian coffee houses.

The trend has also been emerging in cafes in London over the past few months but Cut & Sew is the first cafe class of its kind in the region.

Hannah, 26, says: "We were always getting people saying, 'I wish I could do pattern cutting or learn to sew' and there aren't that many classes around that offer the opportunity. "Some of the classes that do exist are really expensive.

"We wanted to offer a fresh look at fashion and teach the basics of making an item of clothing without spending too much money.

"It's about making fashion fun again and bringing joy back into being creative.

"We began researching pattern-cutting classes and we discovered that they have been doing pattern cutting for years in cafes in Paris.

"It has not really made its way across the water yet. There have been one or two classes popping up in London but not many.

"We thought it was a great idea. People could get together, have a coffee and cake and learn how to pattern cut and sew in a relaxed atmosphere. Every Tuesday and Thursday the fashion designers take over Settle Down Cafe, in Thornton Street, Newcastle, where they teach people of all abilities how to make an item of clothing. Over six weeks (at a cost of pounds 45) participants learn how to make a pattern block based on their own body measurements and a pattern for an item of clothing before making a template design and finally their chosen skirt or top. The designers are also offering a full-day class where pupils can finish off their design and take part in a fashion show. The Cut & Sew classes encapsulate the current trend for make do and mend which has been in vogue since the recession began. All their classes are fully booked up and the creative pair are hoping to offer more in the future due to demand. Sarah, of Heaton, Newcastle, says: "We are different from other sewing classes. We are trying to keep costs down. "We are teaching the basics of pattern cutting and people don't sew for the first few weeks. "A few girls say they buy patterns but then don't understand the terminology and the basics. "We can recommend what fabrics to use, design skills, different silhouettes, what trims to use. "We have our own collection of fabrics including lots of vintage." Hannah and Sarah both studied fashion at Northumbria University. Hannah graduated in 2009,with a fashion design degree specialising in womenswear and Sarah left last year with a degree in fashion marketing. Both showcased their work at Graduate Fashion Week, where design talent from across the UK display their work and Sarah at New Designers, which showcases the best in graduate design of all disciplines. Hannah has recently returned from living and working in London, where she worked as a designer for cult fashion and fabric store Liberty's of London. She also designed pieces for the Ronnie Wood fashion collection at Liberty. Paintings and prints by the Rolling Stones guitarist were decorated on to dresses, shirts, scarves, bags and T-shirts with a price tag of between pounds 175 to pounds 1,200. …

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