A bit about me

Hi and welcome, I’m Sue and I’ve been sewing almost all of my life. I’ve always loved it and I studied Garment Technology at the London College of Fashion. After leaving there I worked for bridal wear designer David Fielden and then the John Lewis Partnership. After I married and had my children I worked for a gorgeous little bridal company, Miranda McGowan Designs, in Hertfordshire where we made fabulous made-to-measure dresses.

After Miranda decided to emigrate and sold the company, I went to work in a secondary school for nearly 10 years as Technician/HLTA for Food and Textiles within the Design Technology Faculty. Working in the classroom means I now have a better understanding of teaching adults and youngsters.

Thankfully when I left there I rediscovered my sew-jo which had gone missing in action somewhere in the intervening years.

These days I have much more time for sewing and I’m building up a pretty impressive stash of fabric along with an ever-growing pattern collection. I don’t think I’ve ever thrown away a pattern since I was first buying them for my O-level so I must have literally hundreds. I draft my own patterns from time to time too, and I do love a good pattern ‘hack’.

Sewing now gives me the opportunity to meet, chat, teach and help others who love it as much as me. I’ve been very involved with Sew Over 50 since the Instagram account was started by Judith Staley in August 2018 and I’m always so happy to share the stuff I’ve learnt over the years-there probably aren’t many mistakes that a beginner could make that I haven’t made myself already, and I’m still learning new things all the time from the inspirational online sewing community.

I’ve had the opportunity to write articles for leading dressmaking magazines including Love Sewing and Simply Sewing. I became part of the Lamazi fabrics blogger team a couple of years ago and recently I became a Backstitch shop ambassador too. I’ve been a Pfaff brand ambassador for three years now, I currently have the Coverlock 3.0 coverstitch machine on loan

If you take a look through my posts you’ll get some idea of the things I like to make and the interests outside of sewing that I enjoy.  Sewing and dressmaking is what I love to do as much as I can and every now and again I remember to write about it here.

22 thoughts on “A bit about me

  1. Susan, I was given your details by Adam Green, I need some dresses taken in as I’ve lost weight… could you help?


  2. Hi Susan, I’ve just come across your blog too and I think you’re quite local to me (l’m in Hertford) do you do any group classes? Julie


  3. Hi there Susan. You won’t believe this but I was looking at your blog after finding you on the Sew Over 50 Instagram site and noticed that you mentioned that you worked for Miranda McGowan Designs. I live in Brisbane, Australia and teach alongside Miranda in a lovely little girls’ school. We both teach English but Miranda also teaches Fashion Design. She speaks very fondly of the lovely people she worked with when she had her bridal business. Best wishes and thanks for your wonderful blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my goodness, that’s extraordinary!! I LOVED working with/for Miranda, we had such fun times and made beautiful dresses which I still rave about even after all these years. We do ‘speak’ via Fb from time to time, please tell her I said “Hi” and I’m sending her a big hug! What a small world it sometimes is…


  4. Hi Susan, I read your blog “SewOver50”, and was very impressed at the points you raised, your points were so right on. My name is Synthia and have been sewing for decades. Six years ago I began testing Pdfs for various designers and still do so this day. I am a women of color, over 50, and transitioning my hair to it’s natural grey color. I feel that I will be the only mature woman with grey hair in the FB sewing community. I find that being a mature women with grey hair, may not be too favorable as a tester for designers, but I will continue to push forward and see how it play’s out. Thank you for sharing your thoughts in which many many of us mature sewists have.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you Synthia, I really hope we’ve started something by touching a nerve. I think the point you make about grey hair is very true too, although I do hope it’s becoming more accepted as it can look really beautiful (says a woman who’s dyed her own grey hair pink!!) Good luck with the grey hair but do you know what? if it makes YOU happier to go back to a colour you prefer then that’s OK too-at our age we can do as we jolly well please! Sue x


  5. I am delighted to discover you after looking through the Foldline site. I can get lost for hours. I am wondering if you are able to tell me the pattern name of the fabulous deep coral/orange top with the curved top band and one shoulder zip that looks so terrific on you in one of the pics? Thank you for any info you have

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Val, I’ve had look back through the blog posts and the one which relates to the peach top has a problem so there are no longer any photos. The words are all there though, it’s a “60’s style top” if you want to read it. I also made a pale blue version a few months later and the post for that one is OK, it’s “making a top using a fleece blanket” so you might find that one more helpful.


  6. Hello Sue, I have just stumbled on your blog, I think it is is just lovely. I am a native of Herts, but I am now in Devon so some of the fabric outlets you mention are too far away, but trust me they have been noted. Have you heard of CoPA – the Commercial Pattern Archive which is held by the University of Rhode Island?


  7. Hi.
    Wondered if I could ask your advice about a walking foot.
    I’m thinking of buying one, but it’s over £80 from Hobkirk.
    I’ve got a Husqvarna, Viking Tribute 140m sewing machine.
    I’m self taught, my son, James, was born physically disabled, he was born with no arms, (he’s now 30yrs young) & I’m still learning!
    I would appreciate your thoughts.
    Many thanks.


    1. Hello Gail, my Pfaff machine has the advantage of a built-in walking foot which is main reason I bought it. However, a separate walking foot can be a real boon, especially if you like to sew a lot of knits or woollen-types because it doesn’t push the top layer out of alignment with the underneath layer. Some people leave them fitted to their machines all the time because they are helpful. I’m not familiar with Hobkirk but £80 does sound rather expensive? I might have expected a branded one to be in the region of £40-£50 but maybe it’s because it’s a Husquvarna. Have you tried Sew Essential or Jaycotts? they stock Husquvarna. You can also buy generic brands which are much cheaper, I know a couple of people who have bought those and they seem perfectly serviceable. Definitely shop around before buying would be my advice. Keep sewing, we’re all still learning all the time and there’s a great big community out there on internet which can be so supportive and helpful.


  8. my mum is retiring after being a bridal dressmaker for over 40 years (she also did other dressmaking )
    and she is selling off all of her stock cheaply if anyone is interested, fabrics, lining, net, lace, trimmings, beads and pearls, cottons and threads, zips all colours and sizes, etc. etc.


  9. Heya! I found a Miranda McGowan wedding dress in a charity shop recently. I was wondering if you could possibly tell me what it is made from?


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