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Meet the Team

The Thrifty Stitcher offers friendly sewing classes for aspiring DIY seamstresses and crafters. This small school in Stoke Newington is run by Claire-Louise Hardie, Author of “The Great British Sewing Bee- Fashion with Fabric” and an experienced Theatrical Costumier

Claire-Louise Hardie
Owner and Tutor

Originally trained as a Costume Designer at The Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Claire-Louise has worked in all aspects of Costume for Theatre, Film and TV with a CV of employers that includes-
The RSC:The Royal National Theatre:Regent’s Park open air Theatre and “The Audience” with Dame Helen Mirren.
In 2009 Claire-Louise began teaching sewing in Stoke Newington and through her teaching has regained a love of dressmaking for herself.

When not teaching at The Thrifty Studio she's a Love sewing Magazine columnist: A Sewing Bee Author, and the Sewing Producer for the Great British Sewing Bee.

Her first book: ``The Great British Sewing Bee- Fashion with Fabric`` was a best seller in 2015, winning Best sewing book 2015 in the British Sewing Awards

Companies i've worked for
Layla Totah

Layla has been teaching for over 15 years and sewing for 10 years. She started as a secondary school English teacher in London and later moved to Beirut, Lebanon where she set up a small school teaching sewing to ex pats and locals.
Since moving back to London Layla has taught sewing across the UK and loves to teach dressmaking!

She sews almost all her own clothes and those of her husband but draws the line at her cats! As well as sewing (pretty much all the time) she also teaches English at a secondary school and knits

Melissa Fehr
Knit fabric Tutor

Melissa teaches some of the Knit fabric dressmaking courses. A self taught seamstress who is crazy about running, Melissa launched her own range of exercise patterns in 2013. Melissa loves all things stretch, and particularly enjoys de-nystifying sewing with knit fabric and using an overlocker. She Blogs about her adventures in dressmaking over on Fehr Trade

Watch this video to discover how just a few sewing skills could help you transform your wardrobe.

Want to know what it’s like to work backstage in London’s West End? Watch Claire-Louise’s “Day in the life of a Wardrobe Mistress” on Million Dollar Quartet