I can't remember being taught to sew. I got my own machine for my 14th birthday and started making my own clothes both from scratch and upcycling charity shop finds. I took part in The Great British Sewing Bee 2019, reaching the semi-final, and was described by the show as "one of the most talented and consistent sewers ever to take part". I was told that my pattern challenge in the semi-final was as close to perfect as they have ever had, and in fact I was always in the top 3 of the pattern challenge throughout the series. At home, I usually draft my own patterns though I'm enjoying using commercial patterns as well now, and sometimes I even manage to resist the temptation to hack them.
My makes aren't limited to textiles. I've always knitted. I've tried every technique I've read about, and knitted everything from hats, scarves and jumpers to floor cushions and a footstool. I enjoy working with colours and textures and often draft my own patterns. I also silversmith and make jewellery in a variety of materials, I'm interested in photography, and in my time I've tried pottery, stained glass, joinery, wrought iron, felting, needlecraft, weaving, and any other crafts which have come my way.
Since the GBSB, I've been taken aback by the reaction to the show. The kindness of everyone I've met through it has been amazing, and I've been given the opportunity to run sewing and knitting workshops all over Scotland and to write professionally for national publications. I'm collaborating with my GBSB friend Ben Moore and we've set up an ew small business - Ben and Jen Textile Studio. I also have a number of other projects in the pipeline - it's been crazy-busy but very exciting.
I live in the South Side of Glasgow with my husband, until recently our two teenage children, and the HoggDogg, Archie. In my time I've been a litigation solicitor, shop owner, graphic designer, card maker and charity advisor, and now a sewing and knitting person!
Instagram and Facebook: @jenerates