Business owner who hopes to teach people with disabilities how to sew

Growing up, Lorraine Joseph came from a “family of seamstresses”, learning valuable sewing skills from her mother and aunt. Since then, she has shared her knowledge with as many people as possible.

The business owner, who grew up in Easton and now lives in St Werburghs, single-handedly runs JoJo Handmade Bridal Wear from her studio on St Werburgh’s Park.

As well as creating bespoke wedding dresses, bridal wear and special occasion wear, Lorraine has been teaching tailoring classes and tailoring workshops for many years in Bristol and wants to expand her classes to reach people with disabilities.

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She recently applied for funding through Bristol City Council’s Community Resilience Fund. If granted funding, Lorraine hopes to buy sewing machines so she can visit organizations that support people with disabilities.

The business owner, who grew up in Easton and now lives in St Werburghs, single-handedly runs JoJo Handmade Bridal Wear from her studio on St Werburgh’s Park. – photo: Rachel Sutherland

“I’ve been teaching through the Bristol Adult Learning Service for some time and over time the sewing machines have become more user-friendly and get to work at the click of a button,” Lorraine said.

“I have a deaf granddaughter, so the idea of ​​reaching out to teach disabled adults and make sewing more accessible came from there.

“I’ve had training and deaf awareness training, and I can sign too.

“If the funding was granted to me, I would arrange for a signatory to join my classes and I hope that my granddaughter would also join the classes.

“I think it’s so important to make making and sewing clothes more available and accessible to everyone.

“I always wanted to be a teacher, I never thought it would be sewing that I would teach!”

Lorraine, who went to South Bristol Technical College to learn more technical skills in the craft, has over 25 years of experience making people’s dream dresses come true.

She walks a journey with her clients from the consultation stage where she creates sketches of a design, to researching materials, and then creating the final product for someone’s special day.

Lorraine, who teaches most evenings, sources traditional fabrics from various countries and cultures.

Lorraine sources traditional fabrics from various countries and cultures – photo: Rachel Sutherland

Like many business owners, Lorraine struggled through the lockdown, with weddings and events canceled across the country she feared she would “never work again”.

He was advised to contact Black South West Network during the lockdown, who provided him with free support and advice. She said: “They were great at supporting me and helping me with my funding application.

“I took one of their online training sessions to help business people apply for financing.

“Black South West Network is such a valuable organization. I am so grateful for their help.

You can read more about Lorraine’s work on her website.

Main photo: Rachel Sutherland

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