Sandra Cassidy runs Sew Confident that has helped more than 10,000 folk – including thousands of NHS workers – switch off from the stress of daily life.
A Dundee woman is using her love of sewing and knitting to help de-stress thousands of people.
Sandra Cassidy, from Broughty Ferry, runs the city’s branch of Sew Confident, the UK’s only sewing franchise.
She runs loads of different sewing, knitting and crafting classes in Dundee – other franchisees of the company run sites in Glasgow and Chorley, in Lancashire.
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Over 10,000 people across the UK have joined their close-knit community which has de-stressing, connection and sustainability at its heart.
Sandra and her team welcome customers at any skill level.
In addition to learning new skills – from arm knitting chunky blankets and crocheting Easter gifts, to making clothes and lampshades – Sandra’s mission is to persuade people to switch off from their jobs and destress at Sew Confident Dundee’s sewing sanctuary.
What once was a hobby is now a thriving business that has seen her help clients sew, knit and crochet their way to better mental health, and a whole new social life in her studio.
Speaking to Dundee Live, Sandra said: “So many customers have said what a relief our classes have been for them and a welcome distraction from Covid and other stresses.
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“We’ve had so much amazing feedback from our customers and find it so interesting that so many of them work for the NHS or caregiving jobs.
“It has been such a stressful time in the healthcare industry and I’m humbled that I was able to help them through it in some way.”
Sandra’s love for crafts was triggered after her first child was born when she made a quilt for the baby, then quickly moving on to creating gifts and homeware for family and friends.
Sandra, who now has a team of seven staff, added: “My clients have also said how much the classes helped them to cope with loneliness during lockdowns and gave many people the social fix that they so desperately craved.
“We hosted live sew-alongs and classes regularly and created a community of supportive and ‘sewcial’ people.
“I’m desperate to convince more people in any line of work that sewing is the way forward to relax and switch off from the stresses of life.
“Sewing is such a tranquil activity. It’s almost like meditation, but at the end of it, you feel a huge sense of accomplishment that you’ve created something you can wear, use or gift to someone.
“Everyone should have the opportunity to take time for themselves and sewing is, in my opinion, the ultimate self care.”
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Despite the challenges of the pandemic Sandra’s team offered customers DIY craft kits as well as online zoom classes.
Today, over a quarter of Sew Confident’s clientele are working in the NHS and other healthcare roles. The hobby is proving to be the ultimate de-stresser for those in high stress, care giving jobs.
One of those that have been helped is Tayside GP, Georgie Levison, 33.
She told us: “I was always so interested in signing up to the Beginners Sewing course but the courses range from 12-15 hours over a few days and sadly, due to my work and young family, I just didn’t have the time.
“It wasn’t until lockdown, when the Sew Confident team took classes online, that I was able to sign up, and I’ve never looked back!
“It was such a horrible time in the industry, and like so many others, I just knew I needed to do something to distract myself.
“Sew Confident was a lifeline for me. I got involved in courses, live sew-alongs, I even entered (and won!) one of their Facebook design challenges.”
And the doctor added: “I call it the secret world of sewing and I tell anyone who will listen about the benefits. It’s so easy to get sucked in because it’s the perfect balance between mindfulness and creativity.”
By James Moncur
Source: Daily Record