A SEWING studio where people can work on their crafty creations has just opened in Ilminster.

Sew What! on Silver Street has been launched with the help of £5,000 from the British Business Bank’s Start-Up Loan programme.

Owner Sam Evers applied for financial support after years spent planning and thinking about a dream venture that would allow others to share in her passion for stitching.

She said: “I walked past a shop in Silver Street that I saw was for rent and thought it looked perfect. I thought – right, I’m going to do this now.

“I’m so excited to see it up and running. I think the popularity of the Great British Sewing Bee and the fact that more people are moving away from our throw-away clothing culture means the time was right to do something like this.

Chard & Ilminster News: Sam and her family in the studio testing the machinesSam and her family in the studio testing the machines (Image: Contributed)

“I’ve already had so many enquiries, both at the studio and online. I would never have been able to get the machines I wanted or get the business up and running without the Start Up Loan in place. It’s been so important to have this money to support us.”

She first put together a business plan for a sewing café 10 years ago when she and her family were living in Yorkshire.

The idea was that people would be able to come and rent out a sewing machine for whatever project they were working on, as well as take part in drop-in sessions and sewing classes.

When a lifestyle change brought Sam to Somerset – and in the wake of the success of the BBC’s Great British Sewing Bee series, which has just finished its ninth season – she decided to resurrect her plans.

Sam, who works for the local council, had already got her figures sewn up. And she knew she needed the right financial support if she was going to be able to buy the equipment necessary to kit out her sewing studio from the start.

The money from her Start Up Loan has been used to buy five high-end sewing machines and an overlocker machine, ready to be rented out to customers after Sew What opened its doors on August 5.

Sew What! will have different classes, from beginners to advanced, as well as drop-in sessions for people looking to rent a machine for their individual projects.

During the classes, people can learn how to upcycle clothing and create new designs. There will also be workshops for young stitchers.

Sam will still work in her local authority job before indulging in her creative side at Sew What! on Fridays and Saturdays. The long-term plan is to devote more time to the project.

For more information visit the studio's website.

Start Up Loans is a government-backed scheme from the British Business Bank available to people looking to start or grow a business in the UK. It offers unsecured loans of up to £25,000 with a fixed interest rate of 6 per cent, repayable over one to five years.

Find out more at startuploans.co.uk