I’m so proud to have been involved in the setting up of Middlesbrough’s newest creative space, TeesCreatives. The brainchild of Jen – a friend as addicted to dressmaking as I am to quilting, her plan was to offer a space where fellow sewists can come and learn, develop their skills and be sewcial with like-minded makers. Jen is actually a hairdresser by trade and owns a beautiful Victorian terrace building along Middlesbrough’s main road. While her salon is on the bottom floor, she once rented the rest of the building to students. However, as her sewing addiction took hold, the dream of a sewing space started to grow, and when she mentioned it to me and a fellow dressmaker and retailer, Laura who owns Cotton Reel Studio, we jumped at the chance to get involved.

The first course of action was to de-student the rooms which involved a lot of work on Jen and her lovely husband’s part, then there was painting, and more painting.. ahhh! Finally with a couple days to go before the Open Day, everything was coming together. Laura and I did some last minute cleaning while Jen took the steamer to that beautiful tiled floor, as you can see, even Henry the hoover had had enough!

With Cotton Reel Studio’s and Sewmotion’s pop-up shops all set up and the machines all raring to go, we had a well-deserved day off before the big day. Jen actually went to a SewUpNorth get together where she met some Instagrams sewing mates, and even bought a few of them back! Did I mention, the building also has a couple of AirBnB rooms on the top floor for visitors to book Sewing Weekenders and for visiting tutors to stay over? So these lovely girls were our guinea pigs, and by the sounds of it they had a great time!

The Open Day was so much fun, we had our ‘guinea pigs’ working on some projects at the machines, fizz and cake were handed out to the many visitors and there was a lot of excitement about our class and workshop plans – a great day was had by all. Now the real work begins, we’re hoping to start running classes and workshops in late November, with the website being launched soon. With the girls in charge of the dressmaking, I’m planning to run a range of patchwork & quilting workshops, including of course, some on my favourite curved English paper-piecing technique.

If you’re from the Teesside area, we would love to hear which classes you would like to see run, is there a creative skill you have always wanted to learn? It doesn’t have to be sewing, we’re currently looking at watercolour painting, wirework and crochet!  We are also inviting tutors to get in touch and work with us in this great creative space – for the latest news and to get in touch, visit our Facebook or Instagram pages.

So thank you to both these gorgeous ladies, and here’s to an exciting and creative future!