Dressmaker and sewing Queen Lauren Guthrie followed her dreams to open her own fabric emporium and sewing school, Guthrie & Ghani. She became a finalist on BBC’s Great British Sewing Bee, and her book Learn to Sew with Lauren is a treasure trove of tailor-made treats. We caught up with the savvy seamstress who seems to have things all sewn up in the craft world.
1. What’s your first sewing memory/experience of sewing?
As I was growing up my mum was a dressmaker and worked from home so there was always a sewing area set up in the house. I used to play with the scraps of the things she made. I can remember coming home from lunch in my first year of school and working on a stitch sampler. I’ve still got it today!
2. You recently set up your own fabric emporium and sewing school; Guthrie & Ghani. Tell us more about how that came about.
Sewing and being creative has always been my passion, but I was pushed more academically at school and ended up studying Physiotherapy at University. I worked in the NHS for over 5 years but in the end I knew where my true passion laid and I decided I wanted to work for myself and run my own business doing what I loved. Together with my husband we renovated a 19th century Mock Tudor building over the course of a year to be the home of our new business. That was almost 2 and a half years ago now and it’s been an amazing roller coaster ever since!
3. What 5 things can’t you live without?
My sewing machine
(Sadly) my phone
4. Who are your favourite fabric designers?
Orla Kiely and April Rhodes
5. Tell us something about yourself that might surprise people.
I love being by the coast but I hate going in the water unless it’s just for a shallow paddle. I’ve got one of those irrational fears of actually being in the sea!
6. Are there any crafters/blogs you always keep an eye on?
I use blog lovin’ to follow all my favourite blogs including Cupcakes and Cashmere, World of Wanderlust, Handmade Jane, Tilly and the Buttons, House of Pinherio, A stitching Oddessy, The Purl Bee, Lladybird and Coletterie.
7. Do you have time for personal craft projects, if so, what are you making right now?
I mostly do dressmaking and I’m always working on something. At the moment it’s a cotton embroidered layered boxy style top. I love to knit as well and have two many WIP’s to list!
8. When are you happiest?
When the sun in shining on me.
9. You were a finalist on BBC’s Two’s “The Great British Sewing Bee”. What were your favourite challenges and the best sewing tips you’ve learned from being a contestant?
My favourite challenges were the mens trousers and the tailored jacket. I had never sewn anything like that before but I managed it! It showed me that you can achieve what you think you couldn’t if you just give it a try!
10. What advice would you give to aspiring crafters wanting to start their own businesses?
Don’t under estimate how much work it will be. Running your own business is a lifestyle, not a job.