Becky Harrison, Owner of Sew Versatile

A York-based seamstressing service tackling anything that fits under the sewing machine – from bespoke garments to soft furnishings

I started my sewing business in summer 2014 after hitting some pretty major life speed bumps.

That year, I was made redundant from my job as an alterations seamstress after the shop I worked in had to close because the rent was being doubled. I’d only been there 12 months, so the news was a shock to the system.

Only four months prior, I’d had emergency surgery and was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease – a chronic illness with no cure – which meant a lot of lifestyle changes and processing what that meant for my life going forward. It’s a disease which is different for every person who suffers with it – meaning what works for one person won’t necessarily work for another when it comes to managing flare-ups.

With time, I learned to live day by day – fully accepting I would be riding this rollercoaster forever – and decided the only way was up! I did something I never thought I’d be brave enough to actually do, and that was to invest a little bit of money I had saved away on a couple of industrial sewing machines. Taking over the spare bedroom, I got some flyers made and threw myself into my own venture. It took a good five years of juggling – including holding down three part-time jobs at one point – but I am proud to say I am now entirely self-employed. Networking and self-promotion don’t come naturally to me, but I’ve persevered!

Focusing on alterations and repairs at the beginning, I’ll say yes to anything now! I’m currently working with a local interiors company doing upholstery, so there’s a few big projects on the horizon, and I’m hoping to launch my own web shop later this year – making products of my own to sell. I’m hoping that, if I create a bulk of stock, it can operate as a passive form of income – affording me greater flexibility and having a positive impact on my health.

The last couple of years have presented me with a few more bumps but, if anything, it’s proved to me just how much I love what I do and that I made the right decision to make it my life goal.

Sew Versatile