Need to work from home? Learn to sew with Almond Studio
Made in Bermondsey’s new Almond Studio makerspace project is inviting local people across Southwark to learn to sew with a free online course.
You can learn hand stitching and sewing machine techniques, upcycling, reading patterns, finishing garments and industry tips and tricks. Almond Studio is a non-profit fashion platform making clothing and textile skills accessible to Southwark residents, run by local charity Community Opportunity in partnership with Big Local South Bermondsey Partnership and Tree Shepherd. It is launching sewing classes online and a community-led makerspace in the heart of Bermondsey, following a successful pilot during the Made in Bermondsey regeneration programme at the Blue Bermondsey.
Piarve Wetshi, the project leader, is a young mum from the area. She explained: “Many people have lost their jobs in the pandemic, especially in the creative industry. A lot of people in our area were unemployed before COVID because they needed to work flexibly from home for various reasons such as caring responsibilities or having a disability. There has not been enough support for independent creatives and JobCenters are not yet set up for this kind of work. We want to offer people the opportunity to retrain and sew from home, giving them the flexibility. As well as free online sewing courses, we are setting up a collective of people sewing from home so that they can help each other and share contracts for work in the future.”
Daniel Blake, a local fashion designer and London College of Fashion lecturer, who is a keen supporter of the project, said: “Bermondsey used to be a centre of the London textiles industry. During this particularly challenging time, there is an increasing demand for locally produced products. When so many of us are working in isolation, the importance of community learning is also fundamental to our wellbeing and nurturing creativity and entrepreneurship. Therefore the time is right for local people who need to retrain for the future to learn traditional skills like sewing once more. We’re particularly focusing on teaching people foundational knowledge for making clothing because everyone needs clothes. There is also a growing awareness that fast fashion is very wasteful and needs to be replaced by more sustainable locally made products which are made with care and consideration.”
Big Local South Bermondsey Partnership’s Community Worker said: “We are putting the word partnership into action by supporting Almond Studio and encouraging people who live on estates in the area to take control of their lives.”
Sandra Ferguson from Tree Shepherd said: “We are delighted to support the Almond Studio makerspace and the networks being created for makers through the homeworking collective, particularly during these difficult times.”
The Almond Studio course is open to everyone living in Southwark and particularly welcomes unemployed people, people with disabilities, and people who need to care for children or adults in their families. Find out more about the course and apply at www.almondstudio.co.uk by 10 February 2021.