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Two national awards for Peterborough's 'sewing bee'

Businesswoman Sarah Payne has been awarded two National Sewing Awards for her craft business, Sarah Payne Studios Ltd.

The British Sewing Awards recognises the best that the sewing world has to offer, and quilting expert Sarah was surprised to be included with such illustrious names as Sewing Bee Judges and BBC TV celebrities Patrick Grant and Esme Young.  

Sarah said: “I still can't quite believe it happened - from working on my sewing machine in my spare room in Hampton Hargate to two national awards. Hearing my name in the same sentence as the big guys is so exciting, especially for a micro business like mine!”.  

Having been nominated for three awards, Sarah won Highly Commended awards for “Best Sewing Blog” and “Best Sewing Social Star”. 

In addition to her own business, Sarah is an On Air TV Sewing demonstrator for Peterborough based shopping channel Create and Craft, as well as an award-winning author, fabric designer, and sewing tutor. 

These awards are the result of the changes Sarah made to her business in response to the pandemic. Prior to COVID19, Sarah primarily worked as a demonstrator and sewing tutor, but overnight lockdown put a stop to that. 

She said: “I had to look at my business all over again. If I couldn’t get out, how would I reach my customers?” 

This is when Sarah turned to social media. She began regular demonstrations with Facebook Live and tutoring at CraftyMonkies – another local company offering online tutorials and live zoom classes since lockdown.

“This let me get back in touch with people who wanted to learn what I feel passionate about”.

Sarah began selling kits and offering a quarterly quilt subscription that was an instant success with her market. “In the first few months of lockdown, this began to take over my house,” said Sarah, adding: “I had taken over the lounge, spare room and garage, so I moved my business into a unit at Peterborough Workspace” 

The move to a commercial premises and taking a member of staff was a steep learning curve for Sarah but necessary to enable the business to grow. She now films her social media content and coordinates the sale and supply of her kits from her unit in Woodston.  

Workspace general manager James O’Rawe said: “Sarah is the perfect tenant. 

“She has moved in at the beginning of her business journey and we are able to support her in the growth of her business. These awards show that she is definitely on the right track.” 

In addition to her awards, Sarah is now finishing off her second book “Sarah Payne’s Applique School” which will be available early next year and has ambitious plans in place to grow the business further still. To find out more about Sarah, visit her website