Pattern Cutter UK has expansion all sewn up

A CLOTHING manufacturer that counts designers Jaggy Nettle and Terry Fox among its clients is to double its headcount and expand its production facilities after being inundated with demand.

Fife-based Pattern Cutter UK, founded last year by Lisa Moncur, will also soon start working with Thelma Madine, the wedding dress designer who shot to fame when her creations were featured on the Channel 4 programme My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding.

Moncur said: “If all goes to plan and she is happy with the samples we show her in the next few weeks then we will be starting off producing 50 to 100 each of six styles of prom dresses.”

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Moncur, a former product development manager at clothing maker Castleblair, worked in visual merchandising and commercial design for a range of companies before deciding to go it alone.

She said: “I found a freelancing website called PeoplePerHour, used it to bid for one-off jobs and started to build my client base from there.

“Within the first month I was so busy I had earned more than my wage in my last job. I was working long hours, but working from home I managed to pick up the kids from school every day, which was a real treat.”

Following strong demand from designers who were looking for a manufacturing partner in the UK, Moncur teamed up with co-director Kenny Livingstone, a former colleague from Castleblair who was keen to get back into the clothing industry, and the two opened their facility in Cowdenbeath in October.

Castleblair, which formerly owned the Happit clothing chain and was a major supplier to Marks & Spencer, closed its Fife factories in 2004, leading to the loss of hundreds jobs to Turkey.

Moncur said many retailers are looking to switch some production back to the UK in response to consumer demand, and believes the capacity for growth is “immense”.

She added: “Manufacturing is certainly coming back to the UK like a freight train. I am currently turning away more than 40 enquiries for pattern development and manufacturing a month.”

To meet demand, the company has set up a separate production arm, called Woodstone Garments, which is in the process of expanding into premises next door to the existing site.

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The combined businesses currently employ eight staff between them and aim to double that number during the second half of the year.

Along with Jaggy Nettle and bridalwear designer Terry Fox, the firm has also picked up a contract to produce 400 dresses a month for the Miss Francesca Couture label, which has featured on “reality” show Desperate Scousewives.

Moncur added: “We would love to start our own label one day.”