Dress making, holidays West Sussex

The complicated and intricate arrangement of stitching, zipper teeth and shaped seams may not be the first thing you think of when and if you look into a holiday destination. From a technical standpoint, however, it is an almost impossible world for most people to begin to navigate, and thus it is important that people like Claire Tyler, of The Textile Space in Charlton, West Sussex. Claire is a tutor at the dressmaking company, and is extremely learned in the field.

A feminine, whitewashed interior inside a converted barn set neatly amidst the picturesque Sussex Downs, The Textile Space is also pleasingly close to a wonderful country pub, The Fox Goes Free. Inside you will struggle for mobile signal, though you won’t care when you experience the peace of a Saturday morning here, with the kettle boiling and whistling away.

Deborah Harwood, the owner and a textile designer herself, filled the space with assorted dressmaking paraphernalia, think smooth tables and draws stacked full of reels and buttons having moved the existing habitants, a large number of swallows, next door.

The class appeals to a wide range of people; there are examples of fashion students from nearby Brighton coming by, looking to advance their sewing techniques, and also regular people looking to acquire and perhaps manufacture some particularly elaborate clothing.

One visitor was looking for something to wear under a particularly lavish coat at her daughter’s wedding, for example. Some, of course, merely want to test themselves to see if they can create something worthwhile, having never tried to create clothing before.

The tutor’s rather potent body odour doesn’t make sewing in the class particularly enjoyable, but it does undoubtedly make you faster and more accurate than you might otherwise have been.