A Burton shop which has been altering the town’s clothes for the last three decades has welcomed back some of its dedicated customers to raise a brew to the 30-year milestone.
Sew ‘N’ Sew was started in August 1987 by Linda Fidler who started her business selling fabrics and haberdashery as well as offering clothing alterations and a repair service.
The 59-year-old was a textiles teacher at what is now de Ferrers Academy when she became disillusioned with the role back in 1985 and left the job. After taking a few years out, as she also worked at The Plough Inn pub at the time, she dreamed of moving in to the vacant shop in Dover Court, in Horninglow Road North.
It had stood empty for six years until she made it her own.
Clothes alterations and repairs have always been the backbone of the business, but around 10 years after opening, children’s fancy dress clothes were introduced for sale. With so many schools nearby, there was a demand from parents having to find the perfect outfit for their little ones for history days or dressing up as book characters.
Internet shopping has slowed that down and the outfits are now for sale but the wool and haberdashery items still play a vital role in the business, especially with people now wanting to breathe life into old items.
To celebrate the milestone 30th anniversary Miss Fidler and her team of three part-time members of staff provided tea and cake in the shop for the customers who have supported the shop over the years, including a few original customers from 1987.
The day included a visit from East Staffordshire mayor and mayoress, Simon and Jane Gaskin, and a sewing-themed tombola which raised £70 for the St Giles Hospice.
Miss Fidler said: “I really don’t believe that it has been 30 years as it has flown by. It has gone so quickly, but I have enjoyed every minute of it and I still enjoy it as it is a pleasure to serve the community.
“I was overwhelmed by the cards, flowers and gifts presented to me on the day and would like to thank everyone who came along to help celebrate this milestone.
“It was a really fabulous day and around 70 customers came through the door to join us for a cup of tea and a cupcake.
“I hope to be able to continue with the ever-demanding need for alterations and repairs.”
What has changed over the years?
A lot has changed in the last 30 years but for this Burton store it is still going strong.
When Sew ‘N’ Sew originally opened its doors it was just for clothes repairs and alterations as well as offering fabrics and haberdashery. However, as time went on, the trend for making clothes declined and Miss Fidler had to look at new ideas.
Around 10 years later she started to use the fabrics to make children’s fancy dress costumers for hire which was a success for the shop for many years.
At the turn of the millennium, Miss Fidler had the opportunity to buy out a whole range of children’s and adults' fancy dress costumes and accessories.
The fancy dress department grew to be very successful and plenty of accessories like hats, wigs, masks and make-up were available for sale, but the internet has slowed that down as outfits have become more readily available at low prices.
The fancy dress costumes are now being sold off so they can make room for the team of workers. For a while the number of people having clothes repaired and altered waned as clothes were cheaper to buy in the shops.
However, as people have become more thrifty the popularity of repairs and alterations has grown again.