Letting Go


There have been a lot of changes recently at MIY Workshop; new teachers Zoé and Ricky starting and Emma taking over some of the admin.

It’s all a very big deal for me, but a necessary big deal and I know some people may be wondering why I’m doing it, in fact I was asked just last week: “So what do you do Wendy when you’re not teaching?(!)”

I pondered for a while over whether to include an image with this post and if so, which. Then I remembered this one of a dry stone wall at home in my beloved Yorkshire and it’s the perfect representation of why I’m making these changes and what I do when I’m not teaching, don’t flinch, this is honest gritty stuff (just like those stones).

I feel like I’ve hit a wall with the amount of work I need to do, just to keep on top of everything and I don’t like to just keep on top of things, I like to be a bit ahead of the game so I can plan, anticipate and be aware of bumps in the road ahead. The truth is it’s all become too much for one person. Those beautiful stones in that wall could each represent things I’m doing that are slowly but surely building a successful (and more importantly, sustainable) business. Now you know the secret to a good dry stone wall is that you shouldn’t see any fresh air coming through the gaps? For me, that fresh air is down time, time away from my business, time to be Wendy, time off and that wall is pretty solid – there are no gaps, so I need to hand over control of some of those stones to other people and make myself some gaps.

It’s a big deal for me to even admit these things. I’m from a northern working class background and am very independent (occasionally to the point of stubbornness). Whatever I spend my time doing it has to earn me a living. I’m not in the privileged position of having a wealthy family or partner to back me up or subsidise a purely creative but commercially unviable business, I need to support myself and I’m very determined to continue doing that. I’m a grafter.

So here’s why I’m making those changes:

  • I’ve spent the past 4 years working on average 60 hour weeks
  • since I started teaching in 2007 I’ve taught 3 evenings a week – that has meant almost no weekday socialising of any description for me for 8 years
  • so far, I have been running MIY Workshop and MIY Collection (not just one, but two self contained businesses) single-handedly and that has meant that I do all of these jobs myself: teaching every class, making resources for classes, website maintenance, writing blog posts, social media, cleaning the workshop, paying the bills, doing the accounts, making window displays for the workshop, answering the phone, writing magazine articles, writing and promoting a book, designing new patterns, organising advertising and marketing, processing and chasing payments and replying to at least 150+ emails per week
  • I need time away from (some of) my teaching and admin to develop new patterns, do more writing and work on my blog, all things that I believe will improve the experience of all my students, readers and pattern users and perhaps more importantly, is what I want to spend more of my time doing.

So, there you have it. I hope I didn’t take the dry stone wall metaphor too far, but it was a good one!  I’ll still be contactable in the usual ways, but I will be directing a lot of it towards Emma and for now, I will still be teaching Tuesday and Thursday evenings, Friday morning and all of the Master Classes.

6 responses to “Letting Go

  1. I just bought your new book online. I am in the states and had not heard of your company. All I can say is that obviously you are an amazing teacher and designer. Your book has changed my life in the three days I’ve had it. I’ve stocked patterns, pattern books since 2007 and have been making almost all my own clothes for some time now. But the simplicity of your patterns and the comfortable fit is everything. I made the skirt/sundress yesterday and am starting the top today. I feel so inspired! I know you are only going to get more and more famous and in demand with a wonderful classic like The Beginner’s Guide to Dressmaking. Enjoy the calm when you can and congratulations on your success!


    • Thanks so much for your lovely feedback and I’m really pleased you’ve found my book such an inspiration. The way you describe it is exactly what I was aiming for with it! I hope you enjoy making more from it. Feel free to send any photos or share with me on social media – I love seeing what people have made with my patterns.


  2. I’ve often wondered how you do it all and kinda assumed you already had a team. To find out you didn’t is gobsmacking! I am in awe and YOU lady….need and deserve a break. Wow!


    • Ha ha, well now you know Portia – I was just going INSANE!! Hopefully I’ll start to feel somewhat like a normal person from hereon in. Oh apart from the Knitting & Stitching Show in just over a week……well maybe after that then.


  3. Congratulations. Recognising that you need to do these things for yourself is a major step. It is so very hard to let go and trust. But you can, and you should. Enjoy!

    Liked by 1 person

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