Famous Leeds mill with links to Emmerdale and Heartbeat becomes home to business inspired by lockdown sewing boom

A Yorkshire businesswoman has launched a new venture inside a famous Leeds mill as part of an expansion strategy which includes welcoming her daughter into the business.

Nicola Lee, who founded and runs the School of Sew at Sunny Bank Mills in Farsley, has established the retail business Mill Creations, offering a range of fabrics and haberdashery products.

Nicola Lee, who founded and runs the School of Sew at Sunny Bank Mills in Farsley, has established the retail business Mill Creations, offering a range of fabrics and haberdashery products.

Mill Creations will run alongside the School of Sew, which was launched in 2015, and offers sewing lessons and classes, attracting students from all over the region.

Sign up to our Business newsletter

Sign up to our Business newsletter

Joining the new business as an apprentice is Nicola’s daughter Isabel, 20. Both Mill Creations and School of Sew occupy premises in the Spinning Mill at Sunny Bank Mills, once the home of Yorkshire Television’s Emmerdale and Heartbeat.

Ms Lee said: “School of Sew has enjoyed six years of success, capitalising on the increasingly popular craft of sewing and the growth in home crafting.

“Introducing a retail side of the business in the form of Mill Creations, a brand new and much needed haberdashery for the area, creates a much more compelling service offering and helps meet the growing demand for quality materials and fabrics from customers who have not only learned a new skill but taken it to the next level, with many selling their own creations."

“Lockdown witnessed a huge growth in sewing, embroidery and crafting as people took up new skills and hobbies and this shows no signs of abating. Welcoming my daughter into the business as an apprentice means that I can proudly share my skills and knowledge with her and the business can continue for another generation.”

Mill Creations officially opens its doors on 11 September during Sunny Bank Mills Heritage Weekend which runs from September 10-12 and features weaving tasting sessions on traditional looms.

Ms Lee added: “With School of Sew well established, we want to continue to inspire people to be creative and discover their sewing and crafting talents. Launching Mill Creations offers the opportunity, materials and equipment for people to really embrace their hobby whether they are novices or experts.”