M&S Shwop & Sew – Sewing Workshops & Classes in Bristol!

The wonderful M&S Shwop & Sew Lab came to life in Bristol’s Broadmead providing a unexpectedly creative and calm space within the bustling hub of activity that is Marks and Spencer on a Friday and Saturday. Antiform was proud to be involved with helping the 2 day event to run smoothly, it was such a privilege to work with our wonderful workshop facilitators who came from all over Bristol to bring their talents, imagination and expertise to the people of Bristol. Our participants were enthusiastic and quick to learn, some bringing broken or faulty items from home, some joining in with the creative recycling projects that were running throughout the lab.

The first-come-first-served system meant we had a huge range of people getting involved, from office workers arriving en masse during their lunch break to curious students and retirees. The workshops ranged from sewing on a button to creating a useful lifestyle product within an hour – a big task for those who had never used a sewing machine before!

The great thing about the workshops was that all the materials were recycled, and amongst other things we had people making shopping tote bags from M&S fabric banners (there were fights over David Gandy’s body parts!) and infinity scarves made using faulty stock from M&S and t-shirts donated by the Bristol Textile Recycling Centre. The space was also host to stars of the Great British Sewing Bee Alex Florea,  Louise Hardie, and Matt Chapple with an audience primed with questions for the seasoned sewers.

Ann was our most dedicated participant, taking part in every workshop for 2 days. A sewing beginner, Ann was thrilled to have such an exciting event taking place in her city.

“I don’t have all these facilities at home so it’s amazing to be able to come down, get advice and fix clothes that I haven’t been able to wear for ages. I love my new shopping bag because I chose the design myself and stitched it, no one else has one like it. I wish the lab was here all the time!”


Bristol has some incredible creative businesses working to develop Bristol sewing classes and open up the world of making for people with all the enthusiasm and imagination but without the training. Here are just some of the people we worked with on this project, who can help make the dream of making your own clothes or gifts a reality!

Flo-Jo Boutique

Flo-Jo Boutique’s Delia made the trip from Gloucester Road to run a class making the famous recycled M&S textile banner tote bags. Have a look at their website or spend some time in their beautiful shop to get inspired, stock up on haberdashery or sign up to upcoming workshops.

The Green Thimble

Tamara Melvin from The Green Thimble taught us some really useful techniques for hemming and repairing clothing. People brought their own garments that had melted under the iron, had never been quite the right length or had developed a hole that needed darning, Tamara had a solution for everything! She has some brilliant ideas and tips on her blog:

Cafe Sewciety

Maria from Cafe Sewciety ran a class making quilted coffee cup holders where the makers could choose from a selection of beautiful cotton scraps, they chose their own combination of patterns and constructed and finished them by hand. Maria runs sewing workshops and events from the gorgeous Cafe Sewciety and even throws sewing parties!

Laura After Midnight

Turning unwanted t-shirts into infinity scarves and shirred skirts was Laura After Midnight, she runs sewing classes and also blogs with passion and detail about enviable personal sewing projects.


Hopefully we’ve provided inspiration for you to get involved with the amazing things happening on your doorstep in our vibrant, creative city! Extra brownie points if you’re recycling materials – it always makes for more interesting results in our humble opinion! Don’t forget to check out the Shwop & Sew participants’ blog for more on what went on on the day. Happy sewing and fixing everyone!

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