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 sole teacher at Sew School! I started Sew School in 2009 so I could work around my children. Before this I trained and worked for many years as a professional costume maker.
before sew school…
It all started at Wimbledon School of Art where I did a degree in Costume Interpretation – this is the art of taking a design, drafting up a pattern and constructing the costume. After this I spent many years making costumes for TV, theatre and film. I worked at the costume house ‘Angels’ in Camden for 10 years, and it was there that I had the privilege of working on so many impressive productions. These included Shakespeare in Love, Little Voice and Spice World 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 took a few years off. When I was ready for another 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 so exciting and fun but the hours were too long and I missed my children.
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 children as they were growing up. Sew School turned out to be the perfect solution! I absolutely love teaching… inspiring people to sew and be creative is the best thing ever!
Sew School continues to be a small and friendly community, run from my home in High Barnet. For me it’s about passing on a wonderfully rewarding and useful skill, while having lots of fun with other creative people. It’s also lovely to see how sewing can also relieve stress and bring a positive focus.
Sew School has 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!
Now my children are older and I have more time, I can mix a bit of costume work back into my week. I’m really enjoying being back in the world of film, working at the various film studios around London. It’s nice to get out of the house and put my sewing skills to the test!! My students love hearing about the sewing challenges I face! Though I’m not allowed to share any specific details they are always excited to know what I’m working on!!