If you have ever wondered how Sew Last Summer came to be, keep reading!
SLS began waaay back when (3 years ago!), my partner in crime bought me a sewing machine because I wanted to make my own clothes, after I realised the horrors of fast fashion (which have only gotten worse).
I started making accessories in 2020, and a friend told me I should start selling them, so I signed up to Etsy & set up my socials. Originally called Shimmer and Sew (taken from an old username I had), I began making and selling face masks and hair scrunchies (still a best seller).
At first I wanted to make clothing, but my love for finding small bursts of joy in the small things in life, made me realise that accessories were where my heart was!
Learning more and more about textile and fast fashion waste, I soon knew I wanted to use as little plastic as possible, and make use of material that would end up in landfill, or in Global South communities, polluting our planet, and taking up space it shouldn’t. It led me to using deadstock, vintage and end of roll fabrics, which is now where 95% of materials used at Sew Last Summer come from.
At the time I was working for a high street retailer in customer service - which is where my background lies. For 18 years now I’ve worked in customer service for huge businesses, and plenty of independent brands, from fashion to food, from broadband to in flight lost property…I’ve done it all. I love customer service, it is something I am so passionate about and I pride myself on it.
Covid was rife at the time, and sadly my employer wasn’t very understanding about my immunocompromised health, so I left.
Having Crohn’s disease, working mainstream jobs has always been a struggle and having my own business gave me a lot of much needed freedom and a creative passion in life for the first time.
In 2021 I rebranded as Sew Last Summer - a name that tied my business to my fabric to my #ElderEmo status.
Leaving the 10 - 8 call centre life behind (though secretly missing it because I am so passionate about customer service), I have taken over the living room in my flat to have my little studio.
It hasn’t been easy, trying to make this work whilst not yet making a profit, plus my physical and mental health becoming progressively worse, broke me. I lost who I was (again), and I was worried I would lose my business too.
But my nanny didn’t raise a quitter.
In 2022 I was forced to take an extended break for 6 months. Sepsis and a perforated bowel left me bed bound and in hospital for 4 months but with a lot of work on my part, a lot of tears, and the help of my amazing NHS specialist team, I learned to walk again, fought sepsis and malnourishment, and in 2023 had my colon removed. And now I am back for good.
Is it easy? No. Am I making as much as I did working full time? No. There’s been tears and wanting to quit, but there’s also been so much laughter and I’ve gained so many amazing friends, who I truly would not have got through without this. Some are other sewists, many are other businesses owners, and just as many are customers!
3 years into Sew Last Summer I’ve launched my website and blog, attended over 30 markets (and now monthly in Harlow), lost my colon, rescued a dog (hey Ronnie!), had almost 300 5🌟 reviews, made almost 800 scrunchies, 200 hair bands, spent 6 months in hospital and learned so much.
I found myself when I didn’t know who I was anymore because of my illness, and I am so thankful for each and every one of you who has ever supported me in anyway.
My late grandad always said I had enough clothes I could open a shop, and I guess he was right (he would be losing his mind at the fabric I now hoard)!
Every time I get an order, I get excited, and I hope that never goes away.
Peace, love, and a healthy gut,