Tell us about yourself.
My name is Helle and I have been running The Sewing Rooms on Lacy Road in Putney for more than 20 years. My passion for sewing started when I was about 5 years old and has never left me. Consequently I have never had enough hours in the day, always having something that needs completing, and never time for mischief! Just a long line of creative projects, constantly fulfilling.
I did have another passion at school in Denmark where I was born: my English lessons. So, aged 20, I travelled to Cambridge in England, studied for the Proficiency in English and 6 months later passed the test. Not only that, but a couple of years later, I married John, the Englishman who brought me to Putney.
How did you come to open your store in Putney?
After half of my working life travelling from Putney to the city, and at the point of our lovely daughter leaving for university, I needed a change. Quite accidentally, one day on my way home from Waitrose with the shopping, I stumbled upon my now Landlord, Mr Kelly, standing outside the newly decorated shop. I rested my bags outside the shop, and he took the opportunity to ask if I wanted a shop!? As it happened I had been freelancing for Husqvarna Viking Sewing Machine company, covering for a lady who ran their concession in Harrods.
They had decided to come out of this venue, and … in the space of a few weeks, and with amazing help from a friend, I signed the contract for the lease of our shop and filled it with sewing machines – and not much else!
That’s an amazing story, sounds like it was fate! So tell us about The Sewing Rooms…
Twenty plus years later, we have turned the shop into much more than just selling machines, which we still consider important. Profit was turned into a good, constantly growing, selection of haberdashery, and as customers asked us to help them with sewing issues from their families, wardrobes, homes, we established, in my humble view, a second to none sewing team. We enjoy a lasting group of loyal customers who make appointments to see Ling, Anna, Janice and Karen for alterations and bespoke dressmaking, teaching sewing, and how to best use the wonderful Husqvarna machines and Babylock overlockers they have purchased from us.
The shop has given me an unexpected purpose and pleasure in life. I have loved every second of being here. One day, I sincerely hope it will pass into somebody else’s hands. The people of Putney make the most wonderful customers, thank you!
What do you love most about Putney?
The River Thames. As it is tidal, I can still get the smell of the sea, which reminds me of my childhood, often spent on the beaches of Copenhagen – at the point where ‘The Bridge’ is now the feature connecting Denmark to Sweden.
My second love is for the people of Putney. They make the most delightful customers, thank you again.
We agree! So what have you missed most during lockdown whilst you can’t be in the town centre?
I have missed Hudson’s in Lower Richmond Road, where the atmosphere is always friendly and the food is always tasty. I love that you can go there for coffee, or breakfast, or lunch, or dinner, or an evening drink. However, after all this time at home, perhaps something more exotic could be on the list such as Kashmir Restaurant two doors from The Sewing Rooms, or our new neighbours, the restaurant Artisans of Sardinia which has just opened right next door to us.
I also miss Blåbær in Lacy Road as my most loved coffee stop in Putney. they are another touch of Scandinavia, and I go there all the time for an easy pick up lunch, the staff are so lovely.
Without a doubt the shop I have missed the most is The Bakehouse on Upper Richmond Road, where I buy the best sourdough bread ever. I am also partial to a trip around TK Maxx, where I buy good clothes for a good price, which I can then enjoy altering to fit me, although that’s not always necessary. Putney is home!
And during this time, how can people help support your business?
Currently, in this time of Lockdown, our business is suffering because our sewing team cannot do fittings. We are in the shop a few times a week, when we sell requested haberdashery. We take payments by card only – through the glass in the front door, put the goods outside the door, and close the door. Anyone needing anything from our shop, including handing in sewing work that does not require fittings, and any haberdashery, please text my mobile number – 07949 007107 to let us know what you need – and when.
Thank you for reading the above. Positively Putney are giving us an opportunity to showcase ourselves, for which we are thankful!
Helle, Ling, Anna, Janice, Karen, and a few more!
Thank you Helle and her amazing team at The Sewing Rooms. To purchase items from the sewing rooms or if you have any questions on haberdashery, sewing machines please contact Helle or visit their website:
The Sewing Rooms, 14 Lacy Rd, Putney, London SW15 1NL