Mill complex offers a fitting home for new textiles venture

A Farsley-based businesswoman has launched a new venture inside a Leeds Mill as part of an expansion strategy which also includes welcoming her daughter into the business.

Nicola Lee, who founded and runs the School of Sew at Sunny Bank Mills in Farsley has launched retail business Mill Creations, offering a range of fabrics and haberdashery products.

The retail business will also operate as a dedicated dealer selling Brother sewing machines with an interactive demo space where customers can trial the machines before they buy.

Mill Creations will run alongside the School of Sew which was launched in 2015 and has been offering sewing lessons and classes ever since, attracting students from all over the region.

Joining the new business is Lee’s daughter Isabel, 20, as an apprentice who will learn all the tricks of the sewing and crafting trade from her mum.

Both Mill Creations and School of Sew occupy over 1,500 sq ft premises in the Spinning Mill at Sunny Bank Mills, once the home of Yorkshire Television’s Emmerdale and Heartbeat. When School of Sew originally opened it saw the craft of sewing returning back to the 19th century mill.

Over the past ten years, Sunny Bank Mills has been transformed into a 21st century business centre and community hub.

Mill Creations is the latest in a recent influx of creative businesses to take up residence. The regenerated mill complex is now home to over 70 companies.

Nicola Lee said: “School of Sew has enjoyed six years of success, capitalising on the increasingly popular craft of sewing and the growth in home crafting.

“Introducing a retail side of the business in the form of Mill Creations, a brand new and much needed haberdashery for the area, creates a much more compelling service offering and helps meet the growing demand for quality materials and fabrics from customers who have not only learned a new skill but taken it to the next level, with many selling their own creations.

“Lockdown witnessed a huge growth in sewing, embroidery and crafting as people took up new skills and hobbies and this shows no signs of abating.

“Welcoming my daughter into the business as an apprentice means that I can proudly share my skills and knowledge with her and the business can continue for another generation.”

Mill Creations officially opens its doors on 11 September during Sunny Bank Mills Heritage Weekend which runs from September 10 to 12 and features weaving tasting sessions on traditional looms.