Home sewing - master this lucrative skill
by JACK HEYWOOD
Clothing alterations expert launches home-tuition DVD Cast your mind back to the last time you needed some trousers taking up or a waistline altering. There are two near-certainties. Firstly, you remembered the home-sewing machine that lives in the loft or under the stairs or in a dark corner of the dining room - but you dismissed the thought as quickly as it arrived. Secondly, you set about finding clothing alterations shop - and had some trouble locating one. Truth is, sewing - whether at home or on a professional basis - is a dying art. And that's a shame, because becoming competent on a home-sewing machine is really relatively simple. The problem is that, when you buy your machine, there's no one out there who can teach you how to use it. Save time and money The benefits are obvious - you save money and time on having your clothes altered. On average, it will cost you around £9 for each alteration you have done. If you have a pair of trousers that need the legs shortening and the waistlines altering, that's a hefty £18 - the price of a new pair. Chances are that you'll be waiting around a week to pick them up, too. But you can do the same job at home in around an hour and save yourself some money into the bargain. But how will you learn to sew if no one can teach you how it's done? That's the question that clothing alteration specialist Jack Heywood asked himself. "I've been altering clothes for 31 years, but I'm a dying breed," says Jack. "One day, I got to thinking about how many people had sewing machines at home but never use them because they simply don't know how and have never been shown." Home-sewing DVD With that in mind, Jack approached a professional media company. Together, they worked on putting together an instructional learn-to-sew DVD that budding home-sewing enthusiasts could use to learn the basics. The finished product is highly professional and takes the viewer on a simple, step-by-step journey through the basics of home sewing: shortening jacket sleeves and replacing a zip. Jack's clothing-alterations instructions are clear and in full colour and, because it's a DVD, you can pause, rewind and fast-forward at will. It really is like having a clothing-alterations specialist on hand whenever you need him. Jack was born in Yorkshire, but spent much of his childhood in Canada and the USA. He now lives in Blackpool on the Lancashire coast. The resulting hybrid Trans-Pennine/North-American twang gives his voice a calming, authoritative feel that makes this laid-back home-sewing DVD almost hypnotically relaxing. Gentle instrumental music adds to the chilled-out affect. Home-sewing business "I really believe in my home-sewing DVD as a great product," says Jack. "You don't need an industrial sewing machine - just a domestic one and an iron. It really is a tool that you can use maybe even to start a home sewing business. Getting set up is really easy - just place an ad in your local newsagent. That's how I started 30 years ago. I got so busy that I decided to open a shop. Thirty years on, hear I am, still solvent - with beer in the fridge." A few years ago, Jack entered the digital age, with the clothing alterations website (see www.sew-so-easy.com). "I'm always amazed at how many people want clothes altering," he says. "I'm often surprised how many people find me through my website, too. I love it when they stop by and leave their email address. I'm always happy to offer free advice. I also love it when they have a problem. Not because I'm vindictive - I just live solving problems. It makes life much more interesting," You can order a copy of 'Sew So Easy with Jack Heywood" by visiting the order page on Jack's website, www.sew-so-easy.com.