Hello and thank you so much for taking the time to read a little bit about me! My name is Helen Mackenzie and I am the founder and only teacher at Sew School! I haven’t always been a teacher; in fact I trained and worked as a costume maker for many years before setting up Sew School.
A brief description of what I did before Sew School…
After my degree at Wimbledon School of Art in Costume Interpretation, where I learnt the art of taking a design, drafting up a pattern and constructing the costume, I spent many years making costumes for TV, theatre and film. I was employed for 10 years at the well known costume house Angels when it was in Camden, and it was there that I had the privilege of working on so many impressive productions, including Shakespeare in Love, Little Voice and Spiceworld the Movie. However, my absolute favourite ‘claim to fame’ will always be, the Batman & Robin costumes for the Only Fools and Horses Christmas special.
I left Angels just before my daughter was born in 2001 and then I took a few years off. When I was ready for my next challenge, I went to work in the costume department of Eastenders for a couple of years. As well as this I ran up several commissions from home. Later on I worked as part of the costume team on various films, including, James Bond, Harry Potter and Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang. I loved being a costume maker, working at all the film studios. It was exciting and fun but the hours were too long and I missed my babies!
I started Sew School in 2009. I really wanted a job that involved my love of sewing and being creative but allowed me to spend more time with my wonderful family and Sew School was the perfect solution. All these years on, I still absolutely love teaching, inspiring people to sew and be creative is the best thing ever!
Sew School continues to be a small and friendly affair, run from my home in High Barnet. For me it’s just about passing on a wonderfully rewarding and useful skill, while having lots of fun with other creative people. It’s lovely to see how sewing can also relieve stress and bring enjoyment to so many people.
Sew School has always given me the greatest pleasure of working part-time around the children, teaching something that I love and know quite a lot about. I’m extremely proud of my little business and my students, many of whom have been with me for years! Although Sew School is my main focus, now my children are older and I have more time, I have decided to mix a bit of costume work back in to my week. I’m really enjoying being back in the world of film, working on and off at the various film studios around London. It’s nice to get out of the house and put my sewing skills to the test!!