Luxury Sewing Retreats

More than just sewing………..

Three days of sewing

The retreat runs from Friday until Sunday, you will have ample time to relax and sew, in beautiful surroundings. Meet new friends and learn new skills whilst indulging in your sewing passion. You will receive plenty of help and guidance plus lots of delicious refreshment. Each day will be different including skills workshops and plenty of sewing time.

Learn new skills

In addition to having sewing 'free time', there will be structured lessons/ demo's on various skills and techniques to help move your sewing to the next level. From pattern drafting, fitting issues and couture techniques. The retreat will be led by two experienced sewers; Jamie Kemp, from series 4 of the Great British Sewing Bee, and the talented dressmaker, Vanessa Borrell.

luxury accommodation

With the option to stay at the beautiful Two Bridges Hotel in the heart of Dartmoor, for either 2 or 3 nights, you will be really spoilt. With luxurious rooms and award winning food you will be able to relax and enjoy your time sewing. We have been given an extraordinary deal from the hotel, meaning you can stay in luxury at an affordable price.

'Heart of Devon'

Spring Sew-cation

23rd - 25th April 2021
Two Bridges Hotel Dartmoor

Price £350 to £1100 Maximum 25 Guests

Kicking off 2021 is our ‘Spring Sew-cation’ at the luxury, Two Bridges Hotel in the heart of stunning Dartmoor. 3 days of sewing, socialising, relaxation and luxury. For over 200 years the Two Bridges Hotel has stood on the banks of the river Dart, amidst the beautiful moorland scenery. The sewing room, will be set up in the large, light and airy Fountain room. The room is able to accommodate 120, so there will be plenty of space for us all as we are limiting numbers to 25 maximum. Along with bringing your own sewing project to work on, or have support with, we will be running small workshops and demonstrations on various sewing skills and techniques. See the outline programme below. You are free to use the time as you wish and can drop in and out of any workshops or just work on your chosen project.

The retreat will be hosted by Jamie Kemp (series 4 GBSB) and the very talented dressmaker, Vanessa Borrell. Together they have over 50 years sewing and tailoring knowledge and will be on hand to help throughout and provide workshops/demo’s. Read more about them here

Refreshments and lunch will be provided each day, including afternoon Cream Tea. You can also opt to have the 3 course Sunday lunch. We have secured amazing rates for you to stay at the hotel which include 3-course evening dinner and breakfast each morning. We are also able to offer you the option to bring a non-sewing friend/partner along: Whilst you are busy sewing they are free to explore Dartmoor and the surrounding beauty that Devon has to offer. If you want to bring a sewing friend and both do the retreat, you can! You will also save money.

Please see our FAQ’s below as to what to bring, what we provide and important Coronavirus information. Please do get in touch if you have any questions.

outline Programme


*Note* If you book to stay on the Thursday night will receive a breakfast before the retreat starts.

The day starts at 9am with morning refreshments and followed by a pattern drafting workshop. You will learn the basics of drafting your own pattern blocks and how they are used to draft different garment styles.

Mid morning refreshments.

Continuing from the first session you will draft your own pattern blocks.

Buffet lunch and refreshments.

The afternoon session starts with another workshop, this time on fitting issues and how to adjust patterns for the most common issues: FBA, SBA, sway back, narrow shoulders etc.

Mid afternoon Cream Tea.

The final session of the day will be dedicated to your projects with both Vanessa and Jamie on hand to help and provide guidance.

Day finishes at 5pm


After breakfast we move to the Fountain room at 9am with morning refreshments. Following on from the Friday morning session you will use your drafted pattern to make a toile and adjust fit.

Mid morning refreshments.

A secret sewing challenge for you all! 

Buffet lunch and refreshments.

The afternoon session starts with a workshop on couture techniques. We will demonstrate various techniques of couture sewing and how they can benefit your own sewing skills.

Mid afternoon Tea and Cake.

The final session of the day will be dedicated to your projects with both Vanessa and Jamie on hand to help and provide guidance.

Day finishes at 5pm


After another filling breakfast we head to the Fountain room at 9am with morning refreshments. The first morning session will be a workshop on Tailoring techniques. You will gain a good understanding of the processes involved in making a tailored garment.

Mid morning refreshments.

Free time session. You can work on skills you have learnt over the last 2 days or continue with your own project. Again Jamie and Vanessa will be there to help.

3 Course Sunday lunch (optional)

The final session of the day will be dedicated to you. We will demonstrate/teach/help on any aspect of sewing that you find difficult.

Course ends approximately 4pm

"You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have"

Maya Angelou

About Us

Jamie and Vanessa have been friends for many years and decided it was time to offer more to the sewing community. Whilst they both teach sewing locally they wanted to open up to others that might live further away. Holding sewing retreats is a great way of achieving this and exactly why we set up South West Sew.


Jamie has been sewing since he was a little boy, having been taught by his nan. He began with hand-sewing before moving on to his nan’s hand-crank Singer machine.

Although he has sewn various things he rekindled his sewing passion in 2014 by getting married! He wanted specific tweed waistcoats to get married in, so he made them. This really sparked his creativity and he has been sewing daily ever since. He runs an award-winning blog, Male Devon Sewing where he shares his makes and tips with readers.

In 2016 he appeared as a contestant on the Great British Sewing Bee on the BBC. Although he didn’t progress as far as he hoped, he enjoyed the experience…..well mostly!

He has written regular columns for various sewing magazines over the last few years and appeared on Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas on C4. He was also a guest designer on the Sewing Quarter TV channel and has designed several sewing patterns, with more on the way.

Jamie specialises in Tailoring and traditional sewing techniques. He works from his studio at home making bespoke items for various clients. He also teaches 1-2-1 tailoring classes and dressmaking.






Vanessa has worked in the sewing and fashion industry for over ten years in a variety of roles, giving her a wealth of sewing experience and knowledge particularly in the areas of fit and pattern manipulation.

Working in a sewing machine shop after college, led to her deciding to get a fashion degree and she graduated with a first class BA (Hons) in Fashion and Textiles Design from the University of Portsmouth in 2012. Throughout her time at University she was also teaching sewing classes, working as a seamstress and was the pattern cutting and garment construction technician at the University.

She went on to work for Johnstons of Elgin in Scotland as part of the construction team before progressing on to become the company’s machine training consultant, training the new and existing staff members in order to improve efficiency and accuracy. On moving to London, she worked as a seamstress for a designer dress hire company, where she repaired and altered their extensive collection of designer evening and occasion wear, working with a vast range of materials and styles from lightweight delicate fabrics to heavily beaded designs.

In 2014 she set up her business, Devon Dressmaker, specialising in unique made to measure outfits -as well as dress alterations, bridal alterations and sewing tuition – the habit of having multiple jobs at one time is ingrained! Recently, she has been moving more to sewing tuition, enjoying being able to pass on her skills and experience to other sewers. 

Relax in beautiful surroundings, learn new skills and be inspired!


Most frequent questions and answers. If we have missed something please do get in touch.

We are fully aware that you may be concerned with Covid-19 but safety is our priority. We have limited the number of retreat guest to 25. The retreat sewing room is capable of holding 130 so social distancing will be easy for all. Hand sanatisers and antibacterial cleaners will be provided.

Sadly deposits are Non-refundable. However if we have to cancel the Retreat due to Covid-19 restrictions you will receive a full refund.

Your sewing machine/overlocker, with power lead and a project to work on (pattern and fabric). Bring any haberdashery items you might need including scissors. A notepad, camera or video camera to take notes and record what we are teaching you.

We will provide a selection of haberdashery for all to use, plus having some for sale. We will provide irons and ironing boards for use. Any items required to complete our demonstrations or workshops will be provided. We will also have spare sewing machines available plus overlockers. 

The Two Bridges Hotel has a large car park that is free to use.

All refreshments will be included during the retreat. This includes drinks and lunch each day. If you are staying you will also receive a 3-course dinner each evening and breakfast the following morning. If you are bringing a guest (non-sewing or sewing) they will also receive the evening dinner and breakfast but not daytime refreshments or lunch.

For a small extra fee you can book to have their 3-course Sunday lunch.

After booking we will be in touch to discuss any food requirements you may have. Don’t worry we don’t want anyone to miss out!

The retreat is open for all and we have considered possible difficulties people may have. Please get in touch and we will be able to help. The hotel has wheelchair access and rooms on the ground floor.

Get in touch

Two Bridges Hotel, Dartmoor PL20 6SW