The popular Great British Sewing Bee returned to our TV screens this week for its fourth season in a bid to find Britain’s best sewers. Graeme Mulheron director of the ZipYard in Bedford hopes it might
help raise awareness of sewing and tailoring as a career, addressing the serious skills shortage that exists in the UK.
Said Graeme: “We have to recruit seamstresses from Eastern Europe because we are unable to find anyone locally who has been professionally trained. There are a lot of what I would call good home
sewers out there but none with the level of skill we require to produce the quality of work our customers expect.
“The Sewing Bee has changed the public’s opinion of what sewing is and who does it. Now people see sewing as ‘cool’ as they associate it with the programme. It inspires people to give sewing a try,
and that gives me hope that young people may consider training for a career in tailoring.”
Dress making is no longer taught in schools and few people have the skill or time to do their own repairs or alterations. Business is booming at the ZipYard across the UK which employs over 60
seamstresses and has more than 200,000 customers.
Graeme added:“We do so much more than just garment alterations and tailoring. It’s common practice for us to make outfits completely from scratch like ball gowns and fancy dress costumes.
We’re extremely proud and lucky to have our talented staff who do such an amazing job – they really can do anything!”
The ZipYard Bedford is located at 76 High Street, Bedford, MK40 1NN. Opening hours are: Monday to Friday 9am to 5:30pm and Saturday 9am to 5pm.