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OUR SEWING EXPERTS

We’ve have been teaching people to sew for over 10 years. Our in-house teaching team are expert pattern cutters, teachers, couture designers and technical dressmakers. We deliver useful and clear video classes taught in a friendly way and we’re always on hand for any of your sewing questions.

LISA COMFORT

Lisa Comfort, the founder of Sew Over It, learned to sew as a child, but it was during a year in Italy as part of her language degree that she found a dressmaking and tailoring school and learned tailoring techniques and pattern cutting. After graduating, she studied surface textiles with fashion (pattern cutting and design) for a year before being offered a job by fashion designer, Bruce Oldfield. Lisa worked as his production assistant and learned from his team of seamstresses, who were experts in tailoring and working with silk, chiffon and crepe. Lisa then joined luxury wedding dress designer, Philippa Lepley, as her fittings manager, where she honed her fitting and dress design skills.

Lisa spent time teaching sewing part-time in the evenings and weekends before setting up Sew Over It in 2011 which included the Stitch School, offering sewing classes firstly as workshops in her two London shops and nowadays online. Visualising how a dress will look – from choosing the fabrics to deciding on style lines in the toile fittings- is what Lisa is best at. Lisa loves designing clothes she would love to wear. She knows how to make women look amazing and feel stylish.

ROSIE STIRLING

Rosie is the Managing Director of Sew Over It and has been sewing all her life. She is mostly self-taught but has spent the last ten years building on her skills by learning from the Sew Over It teachers. Rosie makes everything she wears and is really interested in getting the fitting spot on, as she has always found it tricky to find clothes that fit her perfectly on the High Street. For Rosie, being able to have a shirt or shirt dress that didn’t gape open was a game changer! She is a firm believer in sewing being fun, not scary. Rosie’s sewing journey was fast! She went from cushion covers to a dress to a coat with bound buttonholes – tackling difficult projects accelerated her sewing skills!

Rosie is an expert on fitting but what she really believes in is encouraging people to take risks and not be scared of making mistakes.

JULIE JOHNSTON

Julie was taught to sew by her mother and grandmother and started making her own clothes in her early teens. After leaving school she worked in the wardrobe department at the Everyman Theatre before studying theatre costume design at the ‘Mabel Fletcher Technical College’. She worked on making costumes for productions at the BBC and The Royal Shakespeare Company. She learned how to cut patterns by draping on the stand, which is how she prefers to work to this day. After a stint making costumes for Scottish Opera in Glasgow, Julie moved to London and started working for designer, Catherine Walker. Julie learned to scale down to the fine detail, working with high quality French lace and beautiful silks and wools. Julie then worked for three leading London bridal designers from 1988 to 2013, working on production, pattern work and fittings. Julie met Lisa working for wedding dress designer, Phillipa Lepley, and when Sew Over It launched, Julie started making patterns and teaching at Stitch School. Julie loves the discipline of making patterns to be used by home dressmakers. The pattern and instructions need to be accurate to the millimetre in a way that is different to the needs of a professional seamstress. Julie loves the enthusiasm and excitement people have for learning to sew and watching her students develop their skills.

LAYLA TOTAH

Layla started her career as an English teacher in a secondary school. She started sewing about 15 years ago when she bought a vintage dress pattern on eBay after watching Mad Men. Her mother could sew so she convinced her to help her make it. She was hooked! When she met her husband, Layla moved to Beirut in Lebanon. She didn’t know many people so her sewing machine become her friend. She spent her time honing her sewing skills before setting up a small sewing school to teach sewing to ex-pats and locals in Beirut.

Back in England, Layla now teaches sewing full-time, mainly to children. She loves their enthusiasm and fearlessness in learning how to use a machine. Layla sews 24/7, making clothes for herself and her partner.

BECCA PORTER

Becca’s love of sewing is in her genes. She was taught to sew at a young age by her Mum and Nana, who were both very skilled with a needle and thread. Her attention turned to dressmaking in her late teens, when she set about teaching herself to make clothes. From there a passion developed and she’s since made hundreds of garments for herself and her friends and family. She’s also taught many of them to sew and has given sewing demonstrations on live TV.

Becca’s approach to sewing is technical and precise. She can happily spend hours reading about different techniques and loves achieving a great finish – those moments when your topstitching looks perfect, your seams match up and your zip actually is invisible. As she is mostly self-taught, Becca understands the perspective of a home sewer and the kind of questions and difficulties they may encounter. She wants to help give others the confidence to give things a go, to aim high, and not to worry if they have to get the unpicker out. It’s all learning!

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