An ocean of talent at The Seaside Sew

An ocean of talent at The Seaside Sew

An ocean of talent at The Seaside Sew

From tangled driftwood and pretty shells to frosted sea glass tumbled smooth by the ocean, natural shoreline treasures are the secret to Jo Melton’s beautiful handmade creations.

Her love of the coast, and a talent for sewing and design, led Jo to set up The Seaside Sew – which she runs from a light and airy cabin in her garden in Stubbington.

A treasure trove of beautiful handmade bags, purses, seasonal ornaments and bespoke items, Jo’s textile business started seven years ago when she made her first fabric beach hut filled with lavender – it has gone on to become her signature design.

As well as scouring her beloved beach for natural treasures to use in her creations, Jo keeps her designs eco-friendly by sourcing most of her materials from charity shops and scrap stores.

She loves to recycle old denim, shirts, coffee sacks, buttons, buckles, rugs and leather – and is currently busy turning an unused pair of expensive Dubarry leather riding boots into a handbag.

“It’s good leather!” says Jo, “It would be tragic to throw it away!”

As a child, Jo was encouraged to sew and explore her creativity by her Nana Vera, and she went on to design and make wedding gowns.

“I could be shown a picture or see a dress in a store and recreate it by capturing the image in my mind, and I’m the same now. I can be in the middle of a scrap store and know exactly what I’m going to make with all the fabrics, trimmings and buckles that catch my eye. I try to be unique in the way I put colours, textures and prints together.

“I’ve created a work life that I love – and in the busier times when it all gets a bit stressful, I just walk to the sea; I love being in it, looking at it, photographing it, collecting treasure from it, and taking inspiration from it.

“If I’m not in the cabin, I’m scouring the shoreline for driftwood to use as bag toggles, or coloured sea glass to use as zipper charms or keyrings. All the designs are just there in my head. I love denim with its frayed, rough edges and I use a lot in my beach bags and purses, which are very popular in summer.

“I also love repurposing – one lady asked if I could make a bag from her loved one’s old leather jacket, and then there’s the customer who brought me a pair of riding boots she doesn’t wear that I have turned into a beautiful leather slouch bag.

“In lockdown when the world just stopped, I wanted to do something to help, so I made scrubs for the local hospital and hundreds of masks, which raised £500 for Mind.

“I’m so lucky to do something I love. A creative life is an incredibly happy, inspiring one!”

Check out her social pages to find out more!