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All change at Crafty Betty on London Road, Balderton as move gives more scope




A craft centre that has already helped hundreds of people discover their creative skills can now cater for even more.

Crafty Betty, opposite the library in London Road carpark, Newark, has secured bigger premises right next door, so owner Michelle Baker, of Bottesford, can offer far more space and facilities to the growing band of crafters who use it.

Crafty Betty was part of Newark Craft Hub, which included several other businesses.

SEWING classes are a mainstay of the activities at Crafty Betty, owned by Michelle Baker. The craft centre has expanded into larger premises next door, offering far more scope.
SEWING classes are a mainstay of the activities at Crafty Betty, owned by Michelle Baker. The craft centre has expanded into larger premises next door, offering far more scope.

But with one moving into its own premises elsewhere in town, one deciding to operate online, and another closing, it meant the flourishing Crafty Betty could expand into their space.

Michelle is a former school textiles teacher, who started her business six years ago.

She loved teaching people to sew, but not everyone wanted to learn.

“In a school they have to go to a lesson, but when they come here they are here because they want to be here and they are all enthusiastic,” she said.

The move to a bigger space is allowing Crafts Betty to give full rein to all that A new timetable sees Crafty Betty open five days a week for classes and available on the two other days for private parties and events.

There is a huge range of classes and meetings covering everything from beginners’ lessons in using a sewing machine to pop-in patchwork sessions, an after-school sewing club, a crochet knit and natter club and lessons on sewing for the home.

One-to-one lessons are available, but Michelle has also launched sewing with friends session for groups to go along and work or projects together.

She has also planned an exciting series of workshops by guest tutors throughout the year.

So far the subjects include calligraphy, felting, zip crafts, rag wreaths, crochet, memo boards, decoupage, bath bombs, candle-making, ceramic painting, hoop art and pin cushions.

“The list goes on and is expanding weekly,” Michelle said.

CRAFTY Betty is owned by Michelle Baker, who is pictured showing some of the handmade goods for sale.
CRAFTY Betty is owned by Michelle Baker, who is pictured showing some of the handmade goods for sale.

Her new premises give her more than twice the space of the old, with the added benefit of kitchen facilities, which means it can be used for private parties and sewing events, which Michelle used to previously have to run in other places.

One of the most popular regular sessions is called Sew Teens, which has an after-school meeting on Wednesdays, and a new three-hour session on Saturdays.

“It as proved so popular on Saturday mornings that the attendees asked for a longer sessions as they never want to go home,” Michelle said.

She said she thought the rise in popularity of sewing in youngsters was partly because it was taught less in schools and at home, but also through the popularity of television sewing programmes such as The Great British Sewing Bee, and because many youngsters wanted to make clothes that were unique to them.

Michelle’s daughter Darcie, 14, is following in her footsteps, currently working on a pair of dungarees, and she has also taught husband Mark to sew marine fabrics for boats. Michelle’s own speciality is home furnishings.

Michelle is delighted more people are discovering the hobby she has turned into a career.

“Some of my friends thought I was mad, but I have proved them wrong. I love it and it makes me happy,”she said.



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