Sarah’s story: How Made and Making came to be

The early days were a world away from today’s spacious studio and extensive programme, but passion and commitment have always been at the heart of what we do.

Hello. I’m Sarah Brangwyn, owner and founder of Made and Making. 

Sewing has been a constant source of fascination and pleasure for me.

I was taught by my mum, and would spend hours happily absorbed in a project, always pushing myself to master new techniques.

Years later I realised that these skills were in demand, and often took commissions for soft furnishings in my spare time.

But more than anything I loved swapping ideas and talking about sewing – to anyone who’d listen!

So, when I was offered redundancy from my role as an insurance branch manager in 2012, I knew exactly what I wanted to do.

Starting small, working hard

I launched my workshops in a Girl Guide hut in our street. I’d load all the machines into the car to drive 50 meters up the road and set up. Interest grew and, a year in, I knew it was time to look for ‘proper’ premises.

I found a charming unit in Ditchling, but it was basic. In winter I had to arrive two hours early to get the heaters on – who can sew with frozen fingers?! But it very much looked the part once I had dressed it, and I was overwhelmed by the support at our launch night.

With a growing community of people keen to learn new skills, I was approached by others about teaching workshops in their own areas of expertise. All that held me back from this expansion was a lack of space.

Finding our forever home

In 2016, a chance conversation with the owners of South Downs Nurseries and Garden Centre led me to take a lease on their new barn as additional space.

But working across two locations was stressful… wrong things in wrong place, wrong people in wrong place! 

Luckily for me, the garden centre were converting an outbuilding and I eventually took over the new, much larger area. Now everything was under one roof and we were able to create the light-filled, purpose-designed studio you see today.

It's all about the people

We can feel if someone is right for Made and Making, and our team has grown organically.

In fact one of my first ever students is now my right-hand-woman – Louise Cray helps me keep everything running smoothly, and I don’t know what I’d do without her.

Wonderful tutors have continued to join us, bringing their passion for their subjects. Their warmth, patience, commitment and talent are what lead to the incredible 5-star reviews that I’m so proud of.

But it’s our students who really make the studio come alive. When I see a room full of happy crafters, chatting away as they work, you can’t wipe the smile off my face.

Do join us if you can.

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