Clare Perkins of Woodbridge launched Silk Rose – Sew Suffolk in March 2020 after being asked to help with the shortage of scrubs for the NHS to protect key workers. She has just been recognised as one of the top 30 mask makers in the UK by Make it British.
Wanting to help support people through the coronavirus crisis in any way she could, Clare Perkins began to help make scrubs for the NHS in March and subsequently launched Silk Rose – Sew Suffolk. Following this, Clare was then asked to help the East Anglian Air Ambulance with sets of scrubs for all their critical care paramedics and doctors.
As lockdown continued, word got out that Clare was making face coverings and she was asked to make some for local care homes, charities and Woodbridge Town Council to help volunteers who were delivering essentials and prescriptions.
Clare has also been recognised as a local unsung hero by Toppesfield Vineyard and five other vineyards across East Anglia.
“I felt immensely proud to put my skills to such positive use during the initial COVID-19 crisis and to feel useful whilst being in lockdown,” said Clare.
“We should not underestimate the signal sent out by wearing a face covering, but it does not have to be boring. Now face coverings have become a chic fashion statement.”
So far, Clare has made over 800 face coverings and on the 28th July, she received 90 orders through her Etsy site. Silk Rose – Sew Suffolk looks forward to adding more products over the coming months.
Clare uses patterns created by Woodbridge artist, Claudia Myatt, to create her bespoke face coverings, bringing two local businesses together in helping the town become socially responsible.
The reusable and reversible, 100% cotton or pure silk facemasks are bespoke made from designs chosen by the customer and are machine washable at 60 degrees. They are made using three layers of cotton with soft round non-chafing elastic ear loops and integral nose clips.
Clare began her passion of sewing and designing beautiful clothing with three years study in 1972 at The London College of Fashion and Clothing Technology and then continued with an apprenticeship with Sir Norman Hartnell in Haute Couture for a further three years.
More recently, following 40 years in making bridal wear, Clare has been running regular sewing classes for 14-17 year olds, but these have been put on hold due to the coronavirus crisis.
Lockdown has produced the micro business, Silk Rose – Sew Suffolk, which aims to continue to keep people safe by making cloth face coverings as lockdown measures are eased.
The Make it British site said when naming Clare to be in the top 30 that “Clare makes to a design that suits e.g. a grandchild’s love of trains, to make the wearing of this new face fashion fun.”
Clare’s work has been applauded by James Lightfoot, chairman of Choose Woodbridge. He said “It is great to witness a Woodbridge business adapting to the needs of Covid. The recognition by Make it British is fitting. Clare puts extraordinary effort into ensuring each client has a covering that suits them.”
If you would like to purchase a mask, please go to https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/silkrosesewsuffolk