Adult learning’s sew good for dressmaker David

A former soldier who has worked for royalty has finished a dress making course with Dorset Adult Learning and is now encouraging other men to get sewing.

David Bravey aged 34 of Christchurch says: “I had a great time and learnt so much. There were 12 of us on the course and I was the only bloke. It was a bit daunting at first but it was brilliant and I really enjoyed it.”

He says: “People like to pigeon hole you and there are a lot of stereotypes out there regarding sexuality. Men shouldn’t take any notice, just get on with what you want to do.” He’s off to Bournemouth Arts Institute to do a foundation fashion design course in September.

David who is married with two young children was in the Welsh Guards and served in Northern Ireland. He then worked at Buckingham Palace, St James’s Palace and Windsor Castle.

He says: “We all had to be immaculate and our uniforms had to be perfectly presented. The attention to detail was amazing and I developed a real interest in how clothes were cut, what material was used and how things were made.”

Following an accident David suffered Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome and spent time at Combat Stress, a residential treatment centre in Leatherhead. It was here that he met a master tailor and his creativity really surfaced. David says: “My dad was in the RAF so I suppose it was a bit of a foregone conclusion that I would do the same thing. I’ve reassessed my life and I’ve found skills and talents I didn’t know I had. The dress making course really brought them out.”

David’s dressmaking course took place on Monday evenings and involved pattern cutting, a wide range of sewing techniques, hand and machine stitching and inserting pockets and zips. He made a mock up shirt for practising techniques and then made the real thing which is currently being assessed by examiners.

His tutor Stephanie Freeman says: “David has done some great things. He came to us with no experience, he’d never even used a sewing machine. His tremendous enthusiasm has been key to his success and he really listened and progressed very well as a result.”

His skills are already in demand – he’s made son Dylan a par of trendy combat camouflage jeans that were a real hit at the nursery gates. David says: “All the mums saw them and think they’re fantastic. I need to make my daughter and wife something now!”

David is a keen musician and has a recording studio at home. As for his dream he says: “That’s simple – I want to put on a fashion show where I’ve designed and made everything and the models go down the catwalk to my music!”