Crafty Baba Ipswich sewing and haberdashery shop exports round the world

Zoe Woods has been running her fabric, upholstery and sewing business in St Peter's Street, Ipswich

Zoe Woods has been running her fabric, upholstery and sewing business in St Peter's Street, Ipswich for more than two years - Credit: Archant

Ipswich sewing and haberdashery shop is going from strengh to strength as interest in crafting grows.

Zoe Woods has been running her fabric, upholstery and sewing business in St Peter's Street, Ipswich

Zoe Woods has been running her fabric, upholstery and sewing business in St Peter's Street, Ipswich for more than two years - Credit: Archant

The BBC Television programme The Great British Sewing Bee - where contestants, men and women, were competing to make clothes and fashion items, was a surprise success last year.

We shouldn’t really be surprised though.

Even though we live in high-tech, digital times, there is also a growing interest in crafts and making unique items - including handmade clothes.

And in Ipswich businesswoman Zoe Woods is seeing her interest and talent for sewing grow into a successful business.

Zoe Woods has been running her fabric, upholstery and sewing business in St Peter's Street, Ipswich

Zoe Woods has been running her fabric, upholstery and sewing business in St Peter's Street, Ipswich for more than two years - Credit: Archant


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She started four years ago - giving sewing lessons around her kitchen table.

Now her Crafty Baba sewing emporium and haberdashery, in St Peter’s Street, is a big success with customers at home and abroad.

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She said: “We have customers in Russia, and Australia, and Kazakstan. People were emailing orders over Christmas even when we were closed.”

Zoe grew up in Ipswich where her parents lived “The Good Life”, a bit like the hit TV programme, and Zoe and her brother used to milk the goats and collect the chickens eggs. They lived in a vicarage, with a large garden.

“Mum (Lesley), made all of our clothes, we must have looked the same! And she taught me hand sewing and then machine sewing from a young age. And my brother too.

“That is where it has come from.”

After working in a travel agents for ten years, Zoe started giving sewing lessons when her daughter Inez was born, and that lead on to people wanting to buy fabric and eventually to Zoe launching her own business.

“I wanted a name that was memorable, and something I could pass on to my daughter one day. She is five-years-old now, and she sews, and she already says she wants to work in the shop when she is older.”

The shop is an Aladdin’s Cave of fabric, patterns and other useful items. There are around 1,000 different fabrics at any one time.

It is a real delight for sewers and makers of a wide of craft items.

She said:“We have four rooms of fabric and the teaching room where people come in for their lessons.

“We teach over 30 different classes, evenings and weekends and day time too. We teach complete beginners and people who want to refresh skills they might have learned at school.

“We are just about to have our first course, sewing and machine sewing, for children. We have youngsters from five to 11 years old taking part.”

The shop in St Peter’s Street has been open more than two years now and attracts a cliientele from wide geographical area.

“There is a lot of interest in craft and making things,” she said.

And she still makes clothes for herself, and her daughter. “I made quilt for my mum for Christmas too.”

It is cost effective, she said.

“When you buy a pattern, you can use it again and again,” she said.

She is pleased to be growing her business in Ipswich.

“I love Ipswich,” she said, “It has got a lot going for it. I went away, and came back again.

“And I love this street, we have such a great community spirit here. We help each other and are always popping in to see each other.”

www.craftybaba.co.uk

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