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Ukraine Refugee Women in Bristol Find Future in Sewing

Women who have fled the war in Ukraine have been sewing their way to a brighter future thanks to a Bristol company.

The Made My Wardrobe project has supported 10 women by teaching them sewing skills at monthly workshops.

Founder Lydia Higginson said a sewing machine was something many of the women could not bring with them to the city.

Since joining the sessions Tetyana Ustich has been able to set up her own sewing business.

Ms Ustich said: “I’m so grateful to Lydia, she was so helpful in telling me where to get a sewing machine, where to get thread, scissors and all the things I needed.

“I had my business in Ukraine selling baby clothes and bedding and now I’ve got it here, called Twinkle Leo, it was quite difficult to move it but people have helped.”

Ms Ustich has been to markets in Bristol’s Tobacco Factory and to some in Bath while setting up online.

Ms Higginson said she met the group of women after finding out they were doing language lessons above her workshop.

“They walked past and saw all of the sewing machines and wanted to have a go on them so I offered to let them,” she said.

“A lot of them were great sewers already and would have sewn a lot in Ukraine but it’s something they could not bring with them.

“They all started out having different skill levels and are all now really confident and have lots of creative ideas. Its been really fun.”

Ms Higginson said she is really proud of Ms Ustich’s business venture.

“Tet is amazing, she is absolutely flying now – making kids clothes and pyjamas. She’s smashing it,” she said.

Ms Higginson said her workshops for the general public had funded the women’s training.

“Were trying to get some funding to do more because at the moment we are doing it all for free,” she added.

Metro Mayor Dan Norris visited the group to celebrate the women’s achievements.

“It was an absolute pleasure to meet Lydia and her team who, like so many Bristolians, have opened their arms to our Ukrainian neighbours to literally help them sew a bright future in this amazing city,” he said.

Source : BBC