About

This is where things get confusing... I’m Elizabeth Pennington, founder and inspiration behind all this, and you could say Eliza Wyke is my alter ego.

Eliza Wyke is the label I created when I left Leeds College of Art & Design (formerly Jacob Kramer College), way back in the last century I completed a City& Guilds in Ladies Light Tailoring and manufacturing, a course I believe has long since gone.

At the time I used the Eliza Wyke name as “Elizabeth Pennington” wouldn’t fit on the label!

I didn't just pluck the name Eliza Wyke from obscurity, she really did exist... and she was a tutor, tailor, and my great-grandmother. A strong and extremely stylish lady, a maverick in an age when women were meek and mild, she was an altogether striking lady with a passion for style. Sadly I never met her but I've seen the pictures and heard the stories and, yes there is an aspiration there.

Where was I? In 1999, I founded my couture label Eliza Wyke. Since that time I’ve designed, manufactured and produced catwalk collections, together with a large selection of bridal, evening and occasion-wear for a wide variety of customers. It’s called couture.

Eliza Wyke continues to grow, as do I, and I continue to tailor the patterns, source the fabric (my favourite part), cut the fabric, manufacture the garments and fit my customers all by myself. There isn’t any part of the process that I can’t do, or indeed any part of the process that I cannot teach my students.

However, I don’t just design and make things. Over the years such has been my interest and passion for all things style, I’ve been asked for advice by friends, family and colleagues, I once had a recruitment consultant who knew me from old, call me out of the blue for fashion and style advice before her honeymoon! What started as a lunchtime hobby has grown into a career I adore. Such was the demand that in 2007 I became known as “The Personal Shopper”, helping customers achieve their perfect wardrobe – whether a capsule or a whole new look. This element of the business draws on my training as a tailor – I can asses a body-shape at 20 paces, and suggest tailoring solutions to give you the desired look. Six years down the line and here I am; from lunchtime hobby to image consultant with lots of fashion and style in between.

So where does the tuition come in? Another Monday morning conversation at the coffee machine and my colleagues were in raptures at my new suit; where had I got it, it was so unusual, the colour, the cut, was it vintage?

Why I'd made it. Shocked? – not half!

Where could they learn to make one? How could they start? Could I teach them?

On that dreary Monday morning, “Just Sewing” was born, born to teach a new generation to sew.

And that’s how I got here. I love sewing things. I love creating things. I get such a buzz when I see fabric (yes I’m the girl who shops for fabric on holiday – every time I manage to find some, it's a running joke I have a fabric antenna). I love working with luxurious fabrics – if you’re going to invest time in making something you might as well use nice fabric – to create something unique. Whether it’s a contrast lining, that only I can see; piping around an inside pocket, or just the glorious feel of putting on a dress and knowing it will fit on the bust, waist and hips.

Equally I’m fascinated by clothes; how we wear them and why we select them. I love the fact that clothes can look so very different from individual to individual. My approach to dressing is less fashion and more style. I help my customers identify their style which is both unique, fits their lifestyle and budget, yet still makes a statement about their personality.

You can call me Eliza (I’d be flattered if I were half the woman she was) or you can call me Elizabeth, but do call me if you think I can help.