There is an entrance fee of £2 per person and a charity section on the site: is the event for profit or non profit? Which charities are u involved with?
SEWMANCE is for profit at present. Giving back is very important to us. At each event we offer a free stall to a local charity or cause. This is to help these amazing organisations fundraise and raise awareness. We have supported RISE, Brighton Women’s Centre and this year we have ‘The Revival Collective’ as our #sewmancecause. They organise the Ethical and Sustainable Fashion Group
‘The Revival Collective was founded by three graduates of the University of Sussex who, throughout their university career and involvement in various fashion projects, became increasingly aware of the alarming ecological and unethical harm done to our planet and its inhabitants at the hands of the fashion, beauty and lifestyle industries. The Revival Collective now works towards trying to change this!
In the future we plan to dedicate a proportion of the profits from the event, to offer free sewing and craft workshops to disadvantaged groups in Brighton.
Our pricing structure of the stalls also offers discounts for new businesses and local makers. There is also an opportunity to ‘Table Share’ at our events to reduce costs.
SEWMANCE is also dedicated to being environmentally responsible. We recycle. We sell only vegetarian and vegan food at our events. We promote small, local, ethical, organic and sustainable businesses. The goal is to make SEWMANCE as ‘green’ as possible. We all have a responsibility to treat lightly on the earth. I am also planning a new social enterprise called SEWCYCLE that will launch in Autumn 2017. SEWCYCLE is a new textile recycling initiative dedicated to saving fabric and sewing related items from going to landfill. We will be intercepting this preloved treasure and making it available to our sewing friends through monthly #sewcyclesales. There is so much waste involved in the fashion, sewing and craft industries, we want to do our bit to help stop this cycle of unnecessary waste and throwaway culture. We will be having our first #sewcyclesale at SEWMANCE!
What is the objective of Sewmance and what would make you feel you had succeeded?
SEWMANCE aims to make you smile, to inspire you, to encourage you try something new, to show connection through craft and to make you aware of the power of our sewing community. We need to be connected. More and more of our lives are lived online. We need these types of events so we can meet up in person, to talk, to connect and to use our hands to make. Sewing is cathartic and can be the remedy to the stressful, busy lives that we all lead in this modern age.
How did you start sewing and do you do any crafts? Which other crafters do you follow & inspire you?
I started sewing 4 years ago after the birth of my son. I was completely floored by post natal depression and felt an urgent need to make. I attended a ‘Getting to know your sewing machine’ course at The Friends centre in Brighton and was hooked! Julia Hincks is my tutor, friend and mentor. With her I have completed my level 1 and 2 city and guilds Fashion and Dressmaking. I have also just finished my Level 3 Pattern Cutting module! It was amazing. I am really interested in pursuing ‘zero waste’ pattern cutting as I care passionately about the earth and reducing the impact we have on it. This world is borrowed from our children and we have a responsibility to leave it in a better state than we found it.
I also Rag rug, knit, basic crochet, print, embroider, weave, draw, quilt and I LOVE POM POMS!!! I’ll try anything. I love Rosy Nicholas and her ‘Dress you up’ book. I am so inspired by the amazing community of sewists and creatives online and offline in Brighton and beyond. There is some serious talent out there and you can find then on Instagram- the mecca for sewists!
What is your proudest moment running Sewmance? Hardest moment? Have you ever felt like giving up?
My proudest moment was looking around at the Winter SEWMANCE, with the crazy storm crashing around outside the church, seeing hundreds of smiling, engaged faces, happily sewing away. My friend said to me ‘It was just like our sewing bee, but bigger’ and that’s what I wanted, that warmth, the bonding and the feeling of individuals coming together over a shared passion for sewing.