With the Great British Sewing Bee back on our TV screens for a fourth season, a Bedford businessman is hoping it might raise awareness of sewing and tailoring as a career option.
Graeme Mulheron, director of the ZipYard in Bedford, hopes the BBC show, which aims to find Britain’s best home sewer, could help address the serious skills shortage in the UK.
Graeme said: “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’. It inspires people to give sewing a try, and that gives me hope that young people may consider training for a career in tailoring.”
Business is booming at the chain of ZipYard stores across the UK which employs over 60 seamstresses to do professional clothing alterations for customers who do not have the necessary skills or time.
The High Street, Bedford, store also makes outfits from scratch, including ballgowns and fancy dress costumes.