The founders of a Lancashire sewing group featured on BBC Radio Lancashire this week to discuss their work within the community.

Gemma Allen, who wants to bring people together through sewing, launched her non-profit community group ‘Sewing Together with Sew Gemsy’ which has now been changed to ‘Pendle Stitches’ on Spacehive in January.

Joan Davies, who has been sewing for more than 60 years, joined the project and in three months Pendle Stitches exploded into a popular community group, running workshops every week.

The pair were invited onto BBC Radio Lancashire on Wednesday (March 22), where host Nishma Hindocha picked their brains about the benefits of sewing and socialising.

Lancashire Telegraph: Gemma, Nishma, and JoanGemma, Nishma, and Joan (Image: Joan Davies)

Speaking on where the idea for a sewing group came from, Gemma said: “Originally, I was going to start up a business making clothes for children and adults.

"I was ready to launch but had this huge anxiety wobble and thought this isn’t right for me and I thought how can I get people back into sewing?

"How can I still do something that’s sewing but not having to fulfil orders?”

One afternoon, Gemma was showing her friend how to thread and unthread a sewing machine and seeing “the buzz she got when she did her first line of stitching” inspired her to teach others the craft.

Joan’s mum was a seamstress and showed her how to use a sewing machine when she was only five years old.

She has been sewing for more than 60 years so when she saw Gemma was looking for a sewer to join the group, offered her support.

Explaining the benefits of sewing, they said: “When you’re sat at sewing machine, you can’t think of anything else.

"You’re just thinking of where your material is and where your hands are, and you can’t think about the worries and the wars you’ve got.

“It’s like meditation, you get into this state where you’re purely focusing on what you’re doing and what you’re making and that’s why it’s just incredible for mental health and wellbeing.”

Since they launched, Gemma and Joan have donated 60 syringe bags and palliative care bags to the patients at the hospital and are keen to make even more now the group has grown.

Responding to Nishma asking whether programmes like the Great British Sewing Bee have popularised sewing, they said: “The only obstacle with sewing was when mills in this area started to close. The mills closed and fabric was drying up.

“It was cheaper to go into Primark and get a throw away dress rather than sit at a sewing machine, paying out £15-20 for fabric to make a dress and I think that’s what spoilt sewing.

“But Barnoldswick has great contacts for fabric now, so it’s enriched the need. There’s something special about making your own dress because if you’ve made something, whether it’s a cushion or washbag, you can say it’s mine and I’m really proud of that.”

Gemma applied for funding as part of Crowdfund Lancashire and within 13 days, they received the full £744 to fund the purchase, making them the first fully funded project.

After appearing on the radio, the pair went to Hobkirks and collected their overlocker machines funded by the council.