What I do
My passion for sewing and historical costume started with the joint gifts of a plastic needle and a ball of wool. Add a love of dress-up and paper dolls, plus a visit to practically every historical site in Britain, and a future Costume Historian and Dressmaker was born!
As a costume historian I help historic sites, libraries and social groups to add a unique element to their meeting by offering lively informative presentations on women’s history told through fashion, enhanced with an extensive visual display of original costume from my own private collection.
To see my range of presentation and to book me as a speaker for you event, go the talks page.
As a historic dressmaker, I help museums and historical properties to increase footfall and income by creating costume to; complement exhibitions, enhance visitor experience with dress-up rails and boxes, to be used by staff and to facilitate learning within their education programme, which makes the whole property unique and attractive to visitors. I can also provide a maintenance service to ensure the investment in costume is economical in the long-term.
I offer made-to-measure period costume for private individuals looking for a unique or themed outfit. Gaining inspiration from original costume and working with the clients ideas, I design and make the costume they have always wanted, fully tailored, to create a truly bespoke outfit.
To discuss your ideas with me and get a quote contact me.
I chose to combine my love of history with my love of costume by studying archaeology Durham University. An odd choice you may think! However, it allowed me to study Oriental, Greek and Roman costume, the archaeology of textile manufacture and sewing implements, plus a final dissertation on the role of colour in dress throughout history. Along the way, I picked up skills in embroidery, sprang and weaving – you never know when they will come in useful!
After a brief stint as a Viking at The Jorvik Viking Centre (a bit smelly!) in York, where I learnt to tablet weave, nalbind and create authentic Viking costume, I enrolled at The Northern College of Costume in York to study and construct Historical Costume for the Stage.
A whirlwind tour of England followed which included a bridal alteration company, The Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester, Cosprop in London and Opera North in Leeds before finally returning to York to make, research and collect my true passion, historical clothing.
When not busy creating costumes for museums, or unique dresses for weddings and parties, I work with the Royal Armouries in Leeds maintaining their costume. When I am not driving round the country as a speaker, or have my nose stuck in books researching my latest talk, I take great enjoyment in being a member of The History Wardrobe team. I even managed to squeeze in a television appearance last year on BBC’s The Great British Sewing Bee, talking about sewing bees in the Second World War. In between all this I sometimes eat, sleep and watch costume dramas on the telly!