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Case study: Pam Faulkner

I attended the studio course for the Diploma in Curtain Making and Soft Furnishings with the National Design Academy in May 2013. The start of the course coincided with when I was just setting up as a sole trader with the intention of supplying bespoke curtains and soft furnishings. I am now in my second full year of business with Fast Track Fabrics, I am doing well and feel that all the hard work of starting out has been worth it.  With a career in healthcare and hospitality I was keen to be more creative and enjoy the colours, textures and designs of the fabric whilst using my business and sewing skills.

I live in Cornwall and could have learned how to make curtains locally, so coming up to Nottingham was both a time and financial commitment but a good decision. I suggest anyone wanting to start out on their own who does not have a background in interior design will find studying with NDA invaluable.

The diploma course is comprehensive and provides much more than practical sewing skills, including tasters in interior design, colour and textiles, window treatments and working with clients. There is a really informative unit on setting up a workroom and starting a business.

Fast Track Fabrics is growing by word of mouth and I am increasingly working directly with clients. At the beginning I showed samples I had sewn at the NDA to local fabric retailers and this helped me establish regular subcontracting work, vital for experience and income in the early days.

The tutors on the course were very approachable and patient and have kindly provided advice since I finished the course. I regularly use the manual provided and the information contained along with the recommended reference books.

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