Seamstress creates sewing oasis in garden to meet demand for priests’ vestments and altar cloths

Share Button

A seamstress whose skill at embroidering vestments for Catholic priests and church altar cloths is in such demand that she’s created a special sewing oasis in her garden.

Dorothy McCarthy says the outdoor room will enable her to continue her passion for sewing and embroidery, supplying clergy and churches, without cluttering up her home in Wilmslow.

A student of the Royal School of Embroidery, Dorothy and her husband Frank began looking for extra space as her hobby grew.

They chose Rubicon Garden Rooms to create the purpose-built sanctuary –  its bespoke top-of-the-range units are now used for everything from home offices to hobby dens, art or music rooms, yoga studios, teenage chill-spaces and annexes for dependent relatives.

Dorothy, a former teacher, is thrilled with her new space. She said: “I really love my new garden room, it’s so light and airy and has plenty of space to lay out all my garments, sewing machines and all the other equipment I need.

“We did lots of research and even considered building over the garage. Then we found Rubicon Garden Rooms and they’ve done a terrific job –  we’re delighted.”

Dorothy explained how her hobby grew out of her religious beliefs.

“We are Catholics and attend the Latin Mass at our church and joined the Latin Mass Society. Members got to know that I could sew and I began to be asked to repair vestment robes worn by the priests,” she said.

“This expanded to altar cloths, houseling or communion cloths, and soft furnishings in priests’ houses.

“One of my projects involved repairing and making curtains and cushions for a well-known church in Merseyside. The ‘Dome of Home’ or St Peter and Paul’s Catholic Church in New Brighton, Wirral, had a flood in the kitchen and lots of furnishings had to be thrown out so, along with other volunteers, I’ve helped to make it liveable again.”

Rubicon Garden Rooms founder and managing director John Lyon was inspired by his 20 years as an engineer at plane manufacturer British Aerospace to develop a zero-maintenance wood fibre composite material.

Fully insulated, the materials simulate wood, whilst other products simulate stone and slate to enhance comfort, zero-maintenance and aesthetic appeal. The company has just been accredited for its commitment to customer service, under the Buy With Confidence scheme run by local authority Trading Standards reams.

John said: “It’s always amazes me the different ways that our customers use their garden rooms. Increasingly people see that it’s the perfect way to expand their hobby, without taking over their home, whilst also giving them space to sit and enjoy their garden.

“I have seen the work that Dorothy creates for priests and local churches and the standard of her embroidery is very high – it’s obviously going to last for years.

“I am honoured that she will continue to make such intricate work, which will be loved and respected by both clergy and congregations, in one of my garden rooms.

“We worked closely with the couple to design the space that Dorothy needed for her sewing and embroidery, and within their budget.

“Our bespoke service means customers can create exactly what they need, without any worries over maintenance, and it just takes a few weeks from start of the design to completion, so there’s very little disruption to their family life.”

The sewing room, which is six and a half metres by four metres,  has since been carpeted and equipped with lots of storage space by Dorothy and Frank, a retired BBC audio manager.

The 12 spotlights ensure plenty of light for the close work Dorothy undertakes when she is sewing and embroidering, as well as tables for cutting cloth and her sewing machines, plus cupboard space.

Frank, a member of Wilmslow Town Council and vice president of Wilmslow Dean Rotary Club, said: “The garden room is incredible, we are delighted with it. It’s also low maintenance, which is very appealing and is a lovely place for Dorothy to do her sewing in peace.”

More details at or call 01244 552813

dorothy-1 2 Dorothy-3 Dorothy-6 Dorothy-7 Dorothy-9 Dorothy-11

Share Button