Friday, 29 April 2016


You’ve heard all about us in our previous posts, but this week we’re going to do something a little different and tell you about another sensational baby boomer – our friend Gillian, who in her late 50s, jumped off the corporate ladder and left her successful senior HR position within a major food company, to set up her own business as the owner of a sewing school.

Gillian said: “I had reached the stage in my career where I had achieved what I wanted to, so waved goodbye to the corporate world and started to do something which was more personally satisfying.

“Many women are working longer than previous generations and I wanted to spend the remaining time I have at work doing something I really love – after all they say if you find a job you enjoy doing, you’ll never have to work another day!”

So with a couple of sewing machines, but a lifetime interest in sewing and fashion, she launched the Yorkshire School of Sewing.

It has to be said that she already had qualifications in fashion and design from a previous flirtation with teaching her craft, but this time she wanted to create a satisfying and profitable career. As well as her own private school, she teaches at a local authority college.

Her school teaches everything from starting at the very beginning through to working with more advanced couture garments, as well as designing and pattern drafting.

Gillian who lives close to us in Yorkshire said: “I love making beautiful garments using all the wonderful fabrics and trims around today.

“I like to help and advise people with their creative ideas and turn them into reality, ensuring the "fit" for them is perfect and the finish is polished and professional." 


So successful is the business that she has now finding herself working harder than ever.  “Since programmes such as the Sewing Bee were on television, it seems to have sparked an interest in women making their own clothes again.  Most of us learned basic sewing at school, and it was normal to make our own clothes when we were younger in the 1960s and 70s, but now that we are all coming up to retirement, we have more time on or hands and are able to go back and brush up on our skills and start sewing again - something we loved to do.

“The story I hear so often from my customers is that they cannot find clothes which fit them well and look good, particularly now most of us find that our body shape has changed.  We are all different shapes and sizes and yet the clothes in the shops are geared to a one-size-fits-all mentality – and that usually means small. 


"I teach my customers how to make garments which fit them perfectly and will work with them so that every dress and pair of trousers or jacket they make is for them.  Particular problems are usually around the bodice area, necklines and sleeves."

She takes no more than five customers a day – often less if it is something slightly more complicated – so that she can give each individual customer quality time and attention. She will also work with customers own garment disasters which they can bring along for her to show them the error of their ways.

Final word from Gillian is that you're never too old to fulfil your ambition - even if it means starting a new business and learning new skills in later life.  You just need determination and belief in what you do.



  1. I totally agree with Gillian - you are never too old to fulfil your ambition and you are never too old to learn something new!
    Great post :)

    1. Thank you so much. It is so lovely to know our posts are enjoyed.

  2. I just found your blog and I'll be back! Fun looking at your travel pics and your support of older women who are still on this adventure called life!


    1. Glad you found us, we love hearing from like-minded ladies.

    2. Inspiring post! And I want that blue dress! Now!!

    3. You have to make it Heather! I don't think it was actually that easy to make because of the twist on the bodice, but it was for her son's wedding and she wanted a 50s style. We think she looks amazing!

  3. I also have just found you, through IG actually. An inspiring post. The key is having a skill other than the one used at work. For me I have no skill apart from my technical office based skill. I would so love to strike out on my own but at what is the question.

  4. Hi Anna - lovely to hear from you. To be honest both Anne and I have run our own businesses since leaving the careers we have worked at for years, but I have to say that running a blog is the most enjoyable thing we do. It would be great if we could actually make a business out of it (as many people do). You just have to find something which you enjoy doing. You have skills even if you don't realise it. Mine (Anne C) is writing (I used to be a journalist 40 years ago) so I love writing the posts, while the other Anne has taken up photography, so we're working well together. We know quite a few mid-life ladies who have started businesses and while they might not make them a fortune, they are much happier than working in other people's companies.


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