From a market trial to a brand new shop: how one local seamstress is keeping up with demand

1 September 2023

Sewing is often seen by many to be something of a dying art, but with people trying to save money and being more conscious about fast fashion, seamstresses are in demand – and it’s more important than ever that young people consider it as a thriving career. 

One local businesswoman has seen demand for her services soar, and what started as a trial in Colne Market over seven years ago has now seen her open her own shop. 

Samantha Martindale has been sewing for 37 years, with 20 of those working in local manufacturing factories. She noticed several years ago that many people were unable to fix their clothes and other items and decided to plug a gap in the market. 

Altered to Suit started with a small space inside Colne Market, and very quickly progressed into a larger stall. But Samantha has taken the plunge and opened a brand new shop inside the town’s Shackleton Hall. 

“I have a very varied customer base with people coming from as far afield as Blackburn and Great Harwood. I have many loyal customers that are happy to return time and time again and since the latest move I’ve seen a large number of new customers,” Samantha explained. 

She continued: “A good seamstress really does feel like goldust from what my customers tell me! I often have a waiting list of two or more weeks, thankfully most customers understand and believe it’s worth the wait for a quality repair or alteration. It would be great to see young people taking the trade into the future, I believe we are all becoming more aware about waste and are repairing or upcycling old clothes and we need repair or alterations shops to succeed.” 

Whilst the current Colne Market renovation has required some businesses to be matched into new spaces, Samantha stated that she agreed with plans to give it a major overhaul. 

“I feel the Market Hall is now very dated and the renovation is overdue, not an easy task to complete whilst there are active traders in there. I do wish them all the best and will be interested to see the final results.” 

Samantha is happy with her new location in Shackleton Hall. A beautiful shopping arcade, she has painstakingly spent her evenings making over the shop, ensuring it is the perfect fit for what she sees as her permanent home. 

She concluded: “I’m nestled between lots of other small independent businesses in Colne and everyone is friendly. It’s impossible to choose a favourite though! I know how much love, hard work and care goes into each one. Shopping locally reduces everyone’s environmental impact. I think it’s important to keep the town centre shops alive. Small independent shops can offer something that the big out of town stores can’t.”

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