Nina Murden - The Lewes Seamstress

Repairs and alterations

Me and the Team – Pre Christmas


Janet Reger nightdress, post repairs

Some of what we have done….. as well as the silk curtains and the velvet curtains that is.

Two friends who have been coming to sewing workshops with me have nearly finished their retro 1940’s dresses-  and yes it was a very difficult pattern which has been trying but we have almost got there girls.

And lovely Donna, another student. Well done, who has now completed her lined spot dress, and is maybe going to wear it on Christmas day!

Lots of the usual mending, and hemming and altering , so some Jeans’ hems , and the slimming of the legline of, for tall lady who has much trouble finding the right fit.

Taking in sides to stretch skirt, for my smartest most elegant retired customer; Anna you’re fab!

Further repairs to several pairs of much loved jeans, thanks Justin you are saving the planet single handed here. Medal on the way.

Repairs to some professional cycling gear (returning customer, Ross, thank you), from ‘Proper Cycling’, of Hassocks.

Hems to several pairs of lovely soft new cord trousers, for a beloved husband currently in a hospice.

Repairs and alterations to a lovely Janet Reger silk nightgown, what a beautiful gift to Sue, Michael.

Removal of hated epaulettes to a birthday gifted leather jacket.. and hoping the husband doesn’t notice they’re gone.

Hems to pyjamas for lady who is NOT 6ft 6”  tall – manufacturers what are you doing, who is that tall? Lizzie you did so well to remember where I am up here, walk all the way up here and get home again to your husband Alec.

Fixing up of a  young lad’s ‘find’… a faux suede 70’s coat, Mum paying for her son’s Christmas present. Good for you Rachel, and maybe he’s just fine with it, it’s trendy and no he won’t look like ‘car salesman from the 70’’s to anyone of his own age group, that’s just our association!

A new zip for a really well made wool jacket, for her husband, – why bother shopping for a new one which will probably be vastly inferior in quality anyway.

The curtains,  and dining room chair cover ups and piano stool cushion for Jan.

Curtains for Angela, glad you found the right fabric at at last – yes these things can take time – although a year and a half is quite a long time!

And lovely cushions for Lara.  Louise Body fabric left over from the blinds made a few years ago, just about squeezed in the three out of that.  Collecting tomorrow, just in time for Christmas.

And a now curtains for happy Bob, retired early from being a stressed out overworked Paramedic, who told me he was so overworked he couldn’t eat his lunch AND go to the toilet.  One day he thought ‘ I know , I’ll do both together, eat my sandwich and sit on the loo’, and then that was when he decided , enough’s enough, this is MAD. He retired and now is attending to curtains and being creative in his home. Lucky you Helen.

So to all my customers, thank you for your work, for your stories. Hope you have a good Christmas.

X Nina



Repairs to tent







Yes, I repair tents too, not often, but worthwhile considering the price of this quality tent and considering the environmental impact of plastics dumped.


Working on alterations to a pair of trousers for an electrical engineer soon to be working on the wind farms being built off Brighton .  Interesting very tough cotton drill fabric, registered as ‘Cordura fabric’, and registered as an Oeko-Tex Standard 100 – a uniform standard of testing and certification at all stages of production,  ensuring  as I have discovered that the materials and the dyes used and other treatments of fabrics does not exceed the maximum allowed content values of harmful substances. So an acknowledgement that clothing production methods and substances potentially do harm the makers of, and the eventual wearer of the garment. “The certification covers multiple human-ecological attributes, including harmful substances which are prohibited or regulated by law, OEKO-TEX GARMENT2chemicals which are known to be harmful to health, but are not officially forbidden, and parameters which are included as a precautionary measure to safeguard health.”


People believe that the clothes donated to charity will be given to those in need or sold in those charity shops to raise funds and don’t realise that their donations will be traded abroad for profit.

Here’s a an interesting article from the economist about the complications inherent in the journey that our second hand clothes take, where they end up, and what that means for their local textile and fashion economy, but also who else gains in profit and employment. It’s complicated!  Kenya used to have a textile industry in the 60’s/ 70’s but that’s now gone because the second hand clothes from the developed world mean it’s not economically viable.  Cotton and wool mills have shut down.  South Africa actually have a ban already and they have a flourishing textile industry. 70% of our charity shop donations do end up being exported. We are the second biggest exporter of used clothes, and export $602m worth of the stuff , mostly to Africa.  Actually  demand for the clothes sold in charity shops here  is low compared to supply.  I still think we’d all be better off buying less, buying better and mending stuff a few times before the end of it’s life.

Unalterable trousers: Glued hems

glued trousers

A customer brought me a pair of trousers to do a perfectly normal and many times done, hem shortening.  This entails,of course undoing the invisible machine stitching, however, this pair of trousers from Marks and Spencer were virtually undo-able. Why? Because their supplier (in Vietnam)  had put a line of very strong glue around the very edge of the fabric.  It took me three times as long to carefully pull apart – and even with due care and attention this did cause visible damage to the outer side of the fabric – fortunately this is hidden in the new hem line, it being shorter.

I contacted Marks and they said:



“we test all our products to ensure they’re tough and durable. We don’t suggest that you alter our products as we therefore can’t guarantee them in the future”

I said:

“Well that is ridiculous – if I can be blunt – many people either do not conform to the standard inside leg measurements or as they get older, shrink in height, and need existing trousers altered, also this gentleman was forced to buy the incorrect length as there was no other stock in your store of the correct length…. Anyway it is not about guaranteeing the product, it’s about selling something that can be used in the longer term. It’s not a sustainable policy to have clothes that are not altered. There is no fault with the product , the fault is in the decision to use unnecessary glue.”

I have encountered glue before –  on the seams, a quick cheap fix to make them lie flat, but not all the way around the hem. This is another example of clothes that are not made to be adapted – so another example of throw away culture.

 ‘tough and durable’.

Do we need things to be so tough and durable that they firstly cannot be unpicked and adapted, and secondly with reference to the polyester/plastic post, that they won’t decay once they are thrown away? I did manage to alter these but won’t be able to do so in the future as the possibility of damaging the fabric and the extra time it takes to undo the glue means it’s not worth it!

AUTUMN OFFER – 10% discount

I am running an offer until 16th October on alterations and repairs – 10% off for all repairs and alterations, this includes curtains for those who have moved or have new off the shelf bought curtains that are not the right length.  Give me a call to arrange a visit or to discuss.



Repairing Possibilities

Why repair clothes?  Especially when some are so cheap to buy new?  There are environmental and ethical reasons to get the most wear out of your existing clothes but for now just think –  you have already invested time and money  in choosing these garments -you like them!  Why not make them last a bit longer?  Slow down those shopping trolley wheels, use the time and money gained differently, go walking on the downs and not around the shopping center.  Bring your garments along to me to be repaired or altered; new zips can be put in, seams repaired, splits and tears sewn up or patched, garments re-sized, hems altered – these are all things I do for my customers.