Retro 21 header, if it needs sewing, it needs me
about retro21
Karen Harmer seamstress

Hi I'm Karen, I first used a sewing machine at the age of 8 and it was love at first stitch!

I spent endless hours learning all I could about sewing. In my teens I had a taste for 1940's & 1950's fashion and trawled charity shops for dress patterns from that era. Clothes had more structure in those days and I acquired valuable knowledge about garment construction and tailoring.

At 16 I got a job as a sewing machinist making bespoke loose covers for furniture. I paid my way through private classes at the Brahms Academy in London to learn pattern cutting which allowed me to develop my own designs.

I began to specialise in evening and bridal wear.

I now had dual skills of making fashion and furnishings and it was always my dream to combine the two. I built on my sewing skills by working as a cutter, pattern cutter and designer for soft furnishings.

Since moving to Southampton in 2007 I have also learned curtain making and have made many pieces for cruise ships.

I have a wealth of knowledge and skills but I never stop learning, honing and perfecting my trade. I will go above and beyond to create something special for you!