Sew an Easy Patchwork Cushion

People often ask me where, as a designer, I get my inspiration from.  The answer really is everywhere.  I recently walked into my grandson’s bedroom to see on the floor  the wonderful lid of a box of chocolates. It was bright orange tied with a black and white spotty satin ribbon.  I immediately saw a cushion.  Obviously a cushion tied with a satin ribbon would not have been very practical so I used my technical skills to turn the concept into a patchwork cushion and decorated it with a 3d bow.  These cushions look great and I now have a selection of them in a variety of colours and fabrics matching my sofa and bedroom.  They are so quick and easy to make.  I am offering classes, so if you want to make your own come along and join us for a class.


Cushions are the finishing touches to sofas and bedrooms.  This is a great course for beginners who can use a sewing machine.  On this course you will learn simple patchwork techniques to make a beautiful patchwork cushion.  You will learn how to place the pattern on the fabric, how to cut out the panels accurately using the pattern templates, how to understand the markings on the pattern pieces.  You will learn the sequence of sewing the panels together.  You will discover how easy it is to make an envelope back cushion.  You will make a bow with tails and finish the cushion by sewing on a bow. You will leave the course with the lovely cushion you have made.  .  The only difficulty is believing you have made this all in 3 ½ hours.

All equipment, materials, fabrics and cushion inner are provided.

Cushions : Sew an Easy Patchwork Cushion : Wednesday 6th July : 6.30pm-10pm


2016 Business Excellence Awards : Best Sewing School 2016 – UK : Birmingham School of Sewing

AI business excellence awards

It’s official.  The 2016 AI Business Excellence awards have been announced and the Birmingham School of Sewing has been announced as the Best Sewing School 2016 UK.

Learn how to sew your own alterations at Birmingham School of sewing

Alterations/Tailoring course : Wednesday 13th April 2016 : 6.45pm-9.45pm

Sewing and Tailoring alterations

Do you have clothes that always need the same alterations, for example do you always need to shorten your trousers or jeans.  Do you need to shorten the sleeves on your tops or jackets.  Do you need to shorten your skirts or dresses.   Then this is the course for you.  You  can bring the items you want to alter and you will learn how to make your alterations at the same time as sewing them.  You will need to bring a variety of garments that you wish to alter.  You will alter as many items as time allows and we will talk through the alterations that you do not have time to complete.  You must be able to use a sewing machine in order to attend this course.

Only 2 places left on this course

Price: £55.00

A line skirts are so on trend : Learn how to make your own at Birmingham School of Sewing


The photograph shows former students showing off skirts which they have completed  after 2 intensive evenings of fitting and sewing.

This is a great course for those of you who have attended the absolute beginners course or for those who want to start making their own clothes. An overlocker will be used as well as a sewing machine, although you do not need any previous experience using an overlocker.  Alternative methods of neating seams and hem will be given so that you can make more skirt at home even if you do not own an overlocker .   Over 2 evenings you will also learn all the techniques required to sew an A line dress as well as being taught how to adjust the length of your pattern and adjust it for your individual  fit.   You will leave the course with a skirt you have made for yourself, lots of confidence and the pattern to enable you to make lots more skirts that you know will fit.

All equipment and materials provided.

The course takes place on Wednesday 4th and 11th May 2016.

Click here for more information and to book

Bridal Techniques : Susans views on the 3 day Bridal Course in Birmingham

susan january 16

What Susan had to say about the 3-day Bridal Course she attended in January 2016 at Birmingham School of Sewing

Hi Sheila-May

I would like to say that you so much for the course that I recently attended with you. This is one of the few times that I realised that I was at the right place doing the right thing for me. First of all, I enjoyed myself so much. It didn’t feel like learning yet I learned so much. I enjoyed the environment as it was student friendly.

I had looked forward to making a boned bodice for a long time because I used to wonder how that was achieved. I surely made one and I felt happy. I didn’t realised that there were at least five layers of fabric layered at different times. It was made clear to me. I got to use boning for the first time and I also learnt how to make it comfortable for the wearer.

I enjoyed doing the hand sewing as we inserted the decorations. I realised that it made a garment look far more beautiful.

I also learned the difference between tulle and netting. Though they look the same, they feel the same and are used for entirely different purposes.

Thank you for showing me the easiest way to change machine foot.

On the final day as we learned fabric flower making I realised that I could use the same techniques on my hats as a milliner. I do not think I will need to buy pre made flowers and leaves for the decorative designs. Thanks to you.

You went over and above your call of duty to clarify to me some questions I had about my own projects. Thank you for the invaluable advice on business especially on pricing.

One thing for certain, you will see me again this September for the Pattern Cutting course. I look forward to it.

Thank you Sheila



Sewing for my Grandchildren, disney characters, owls and cars

frozen and cars applique

“All of the above sewn with love by Granny”

I make lots of clothes for my 3 year old granddaughter.  Indeed, she places an order at least once a week, usually a dress or a cardigan appliqued with some disney character or owls. She often asks for a matching bag.   Sometimes there are several items on the list.

Not wanting my grandson to feel left out I asked him if there was anything he wanted me to make for him.  I suggested a top decorated with a car.  His eyes lit up and his imagination went into action.  He wanted three cars  going up a ramp.  One each of red, blue and orange.  That was a challenge and to be honest I thought he would have something to say about my simple ramp.  No, he loved the ramp, but after a long look at the jumper he said ” I love it Granny but I asked for a red car an orange car and a blue car and you didnt sew a red car”.  Why is it that 4 year olds have such good memories.  I hadn’t written down his request and had forgotten the third colour and assumed he would have too I thought he would too.

Sewing an Owl dress for my Granddaughter


I just love to sew for my granddaughter.  At the age of 3 she knows exactly what she wants me to make for her and puts her orders in on a regular basis. She adores owls and of course requested an owl dress and cardigan. I made her a matching bag.

Would you love being able to make clothes for your children or your grandchildren.  Coming soon, courses on sewing childrens clothes.  Email for more detailed information.






3 day bra making and lingerie course

3 day lingerie testimonial  Anna

Anna attended the 3 day bra making and lingerie course in Birmingham and made the fabulous bra and lingerie set above.

Thank you so much for a brilliant 3 days, what a great person to learn from! Thank you for your reassurance and top tips. Would recommend a course to anyone and would love to come again 


Learn to Sew Bras and Lingerie : 3 day course : Birmingham School of Sewing

 3 day lingerie testimonial Jenny
I attended the 3 day Bra and Lingerie making course this week and have got to say that it was the best 3 days I’ve had in a very long time. Thank you Sheila for sharing your wealth of knowlegde and creating such a warm and peaceful environment for us to learn. Would recommend 100%. See you in September for the Pattern Drafting course!!  Jenni

Wedding Dress Alterations

Joanna's wedding dress

I would like to say a massive thank you to Sheila for altering my dress for my big day. She is a lovely lady and once she had worked her magic it fit like a glove and looked even better than when i tried it on (which i didn’t think would be possible) It was a great pleasure to meet you Sheila and thank you so much for doing my dress for me.

Thanks again for doing my dress it was perfect after you sprinkled your magic over it Joanne ,  xx