Holly Winter Stevens, Founder of Wowsers In Your Trousers

A dressmaker, seamstress and designer who has stitched herself happy! 

BBC Radio 5 Live presenter Emma Barnett once interviewed me on World Happiness Day. She called me the “happiest person in Britain” and joked that I had “stitched” myself happy, which is true! Incredibly, I accidentally started my couture dressmaking business in the middle of a total breakdown…

It was 2013 and I’d just quit my 15-year-plus career in PR after becoming engulfed with postnatal depression. By then, I’d suffered with depression for more than two decades, so it was no surprise when it evolved into something new…

Every morning, I’d arrive at work and have a massive panic attack, hyperventilate and – occasionally – even pass out. Zombified on betablockers, I thought I was holding it together but, unbeknownst to me, my work was suffering. Mortifyingly, my boss had to have a quiet word… The last bastion of my sanity was gone; I felt useless as a mother, wife, sister and friend. I turned down the offer of a freelance contract to be a stay-at-home mum instead.

Over the next three months, I saw a psychiatrist and went through a trial and error process with new meds, but it was my lifelong hobby of sewing that turned out to be my saviour…

I took my daughter to see Disney’s ‘Frozen’ and she loved it so much I quickly knocked her up a princess-style dress. Friends saw the photos on Facebook and asked me to make one for their little ones. (I’ve never needed much encouragement to crack open my sewing machine!)

I began making vintage-style clothing for myself and set up a Facebook business page on a complete whim. Worldwide orders soon flooded in, which gave me the confidence to start making bespoke veils, bridal gowns and prom dresses. Fast-forward four years and I’m so busy I’ve gone from turning up trousers to turning away bridal orders!

Recently, our youngest was diagnosed with autism, which I am choosing to look at as a positive; it means he’ll get the specialist support he needs. I put my newfound wellness and coping skills down to doing something I genuinely love. (I jump up and down when I see my brides, which I never did writing about retail technology!)

Wowsers in Your Trousers