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Bourne sewing shop Gather ‘N’ Sew switches its focus from shopping to workshops

A shop owner is taking her business in a new direction with more opportunities for spreading creativity and knowledge.

Leanne de Lima Araujo is offering a space for people to hone their skills and learn from others at Gather ‘N’ Sew in Bourne.

She has been running the business since 2017 but has now decided to close the retail side and focus solely on workshops.

Leanne de Lima Araujo at Gather 'N' Sew
Leanne de Lima Araujo at Gather 'N' Sew

Leanne said: “Sewing has always been part of my life but I never thought I’d make a business or a career from it.”

She grew up in Zimbabwe and moved to the UK in 2000. Sewing took a back seat while she was adjusting to life in a new country but by 2010 Leanne started doing clothes repairs and selling a few bits online. Her skills didn’t go unnoticed and she was soon asked by a group of mums if she could teach their children to sew.

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Leanne started off teaching workshops from her kitchen table and soon the adults wanted to take part as well. She said: “I realised the community needed somewhere that could teach sewing skills so we started running workshops from the shop as well as selling supplies.”

Leanne initially opened a shop with a business partner but they parted ways and she went on to run Gather ‘N’ Sew on her own from the same business unit in Crown Walk.

Her workshops had to be cancelled during the covid lockdowns but when shops were allowed to reopen, Leanne noticed the sales side had dropped off but the practical sessions were becoming more popular. Struggling to juggle everything on her own, she decided to close the retail side of the business and focus solely on workshops.

Closing at Christmas, Leanne has spent the past few weeks refurbishing the premises ready for the next chapter.

Her workshop programme ranges from how to use a sewing machine to making dresses bags and stroage baskets. Leanne also runs “social sewing” sessions when people can bring in their own projects to work on in the company of other sewers.

She said: “I find it really exciting when people come in and say they are no good at it but I can take them through it slowly until they get a finished item. I love their excitement when they get to the end and can see what they have achieved. That’s what keeps me going.

“We get a real mix of people. There are a lot of older people who come in but there’s also younger people who are keen to learn. I think sewing seems to have skipped a generation and there are young people who don’t have anyone to teach them how to do it. They’re also really keen on design and refashioning items so I plan to introduce sessions on upcycling too.

“The ‘make do and mend’ mentality is coming back and these are vital skills which are so much in demand.”

Children’s workshops will run in the school holidays with the possibility of Leanne introducing after-school clubs in the future.

Is this a skill you would like to learn? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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