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Karen J. Gerrard Blog

Behind the SEAMS  

A day in the life of a fashion designers hands, Frances Tobin, The Maker’s Atelier

I came up with the idea for SEAMS Hand Cream whilst at The London College of Fashion, working with fabrics and creating clothes can be intense and damaging work to our hands and fingers, someone who knows this first hand is Frances Tobin the mastermind behind The Maker's Atelier, a professional fashion and textile designer, Frances knows how to create simple, stylish clothes in current fashion trend, it is my great pleasure to share with you her inspiration behind design and get an insight into what her hands do in a day! Frances was originally taught dressmaking by her mother, and then went on to work for leading brands all over the globe. She makes the majority of her own clothes to this day, and now focuses on designing patterns for people to produce on The Maker's Atelier, as well as running her own bespoke sewing courses. I always wanted to be a designer.. my earliest memory is of some dresses my mother made for me, and then I just knew I was going to make clothes too. I was only about two at the time so I didn't know what design was, but I started designing my own clothes at five or six and my mother made them for me until I learn't how to make them myself. As a designer and maker of clothes.. you have to persevere to get a really good design, there's a lot of trial and error. Making for me is easy its the designing that's harder. My designs often evolve from making one of my styles in a new fabric then trying to make it better. I started The Maker's Atelier about 16 months ago.. one of the people I buy fabric from suggested I publish my own patterns and I just thought, why not? So within two days I had visualised the brand and come up with the name. It took eight months to develop the product range, build the site and launch with the help of a core team of people I trust. For me, no two days are the same.. getting orders out is always the priority. Currently I'm working on a new range of patterns that I hope to publish this April, so my days are spent sampling. testing and working with Eighth Day who are responsible for my graphic design, we've just done a photo shoot incorporating the new styles with fashion photographer Amelia Shepherd. I also spend a lot of time on marketing. My favourite time of day is.. at 7am when I'm at my local swimming pool, I plan my day as I swim. My least favourite is.. at around 4.30pm when the orders must be at the post office, it can be a bit rushed! The item of clothing I enjoy working on the most is.. either what I'm making right now or what I'm going to make next as it's always something new. My favourite design is.. my neoprene mac, it became a prototype for the Unlined Raw-edged Coat pattern. Inspiration comes from everywhere.. the idea for the neoprene mac came from seeing a really cool windsurfer in a neoprene coat at the World Windsurfing Championships! The most important part of making a garment is.. choosing the fabric and seeing how it drapes. My hands are hugely important for my role because..I need to be able to feel the fabric and you need soft hands for that. My hands take the brunt of my work..  I hand stitch to finish off a garment and for sewing on buttons, but I always manage to prick my fingers, and I'm often stabbing myself with pins, and I have to keep my nails short, luckily I prefer short nails. I need to have a hand care routine.. I wash my hands before handling fabric, and I have to apply a hand cream as this dries them. I can't work with dry hands.. work is much easier when they have been moisturised. In the past, I've had to take extreme measures to protect my hands..I spent two weeks making shoes with Carre Ducker from Saville row, the leather caused some real damage, so I'd prepare for each day by bandaging my hands in preparation a bit like  a ballet dancer does with her feet! Nowadays I use SEAMS Hand Cream.. to moisturise and keep my skin supple, I apply SEAMS at least three times a day and always at night. SEAMS is great for anyone handling fabric.. because it's easily absorbed and non-greasy. In my spare time.. I meet friends, and scour flea markets and vintage shops, watch films and go swimming. In 2015.. I'd really like The Maker's Atelier to become more established, and am looking forward to the next sets of patterns coming out this Spring and Autumn. My motto in life is.. Live right now. I am so happy that SEAMS is looking after exactly the hands it was created for, to help couturiers in their daily work. Always keep SEAMS close to hand Karen J Gerrard You can get in touch with Frances at Click here

Hands that Make-up for Easter

I love the fresh feeing of Spring - from the first signs of the camellias on the trees to daffodils in the garden; it's such a wonderful time, and this year with Easter being so early it means I will soon get an excuse to indulge in as much chocolate as I like, guilt-free! But of course, Easter isn't just about chocolate eggs, for many SEAMS customers it's time to get creative - making hats, dressing up  outfits and colourful decorations - this all takes such a toll on hands and we are pleased that SEAMS is able to give hands some tender loving care after all that work. Easter is a also a great time of year to say goodbye to dark, winter hues (I must admit to nearly always wearing black)! and usher in a new period of fresh, springtime colours. Take a look at this make-up, don't the pastel colours look fantastic. They really bring alive the essence of Spring. SEAMS Hand Cream is a favourite among make-up artists because their hands are constantly being washed, used as colour palettes and subjected to abrasive brush cleaners, and SEAMS is always on hand to help heal and protect them. You will often find SEAMS Hand Cream backstage at TV & Film studios in wardrobe and make-up - Kate Garraway was recently spotted having a SEAMS hand massage before going on set for Good Morning Britain. Our other news is that Lisa Eldridge who just happens to be one of my favourite beauty bloggers whose You Tube make-up lessons I religiously follow, has sent us a tweet to say how much she loves SEAMS and has squeezed every last drop out of hers. The great thing about SEAMS being in a tube is that when you think it has finished just cut off the top of the tube and smoother the little bit left over your body, enjoy every last drop! Oh and I must mention the Fragonia Oil in SEAMS, it was only discovered in Australia about 5 years ago when during the harvest of Tea tree some happened to slip into the mix and was found to have natural anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory properties and calm emotions, which is why it's a key ingredient in SEAMS. Have fun getting ready for Easter Always keep SEAMS close to hand Karen J Gerrard  

A day in the life of a bloggers HANDS Stephanie Toms cocochicblog

Blogging is a business in its own right, and increasingly the girls behind their sites have gained as much influence on style and beauty regimes for the masses as A-List celebrities. For this week's In The Hands of... I spoke to the super-chic Stephanie Toms of style blog She uses her hands day in, day out in order to create content for her blog - wether it's applying make-up for beauty tutorials, styling clothes to inspire her street style followers or filming videos, Stephanie is out and about busy whatever the weather - which means you are never too young to start taking good care of your hands. Here's what Stephanie had to say - I work as a full time blogger and You Tuber... Which is pretty crazy as I'm also a second year Journalism student at University. Busy hands on a keyboard! I got into blogging when I started a Tumblr account... somehow I gained a pretty big following by posting pictures of food and people, and then one day I decided to venture into the world of blogging. I've been doing it for around a year and a half now. It wasn't something I always wanted to get into... I never really knew what I wanted to be - in fact I still don't know now! Of course it's everyone's dream to make money from the internet (hello pyjama uniform) but I never really knew this type of job existed until it actually became a reality. I definitely cannot complain. The best thing about what I do is... every single day is different which is great because I am a person who gets bored easily. The majority of the day is spent using my hands on some form of computer or gadget, one day I can be filming video's, the next I'll be taking photos and then having meetings with brands, it's fantastic. I really love my job... slippers all day, my own work hours - what's not to love?! My hands are important for my job because... they're the basis of pretty much everything I do. If I have to live without hands for a day absolutely nothing would get done - no blog posts, no photographs, nothing. As a result of my work my hands get pretty dry and sore... especially in winter when I am out and about taking photos. My hand care routine is... basically ensuring I moisturise my hands with SEAMS throughout the day. My least favourite part of the day is... getting up! I'm the worst morning person. No matter how much sleep I get in a night I can always manage to squeeze a nap in throughout the day. Put me on public transport I'll be out like a light! 2015 is a big year for me because... I've been part of a blogging platform since I started blogging, but this year I'm going solo. I'm hoping I can push my blog more than ever before and I'd love to hit 10,000 subscribers hands on You Tube and feel proud of what I am doing. I don't have much spare time... but when I do I watch my favourite You Tubers or play video games with my boyfriend! My favourite way to relax is... to have a bath, and relax my hands and mind from the digital world for a while. Clean spaces inspire me... I'm a naturally really messy person, so if I'm ever feeling uninspired I'll do a huge spring clean to clear my mind. Tumblr is a huge source of inspiration for me too, of course. My motto for life is... if you don't love it, don't do it. I tried so hard to come up with an inspiring quote, but I think this is pretty self-explanatory. At SEAMS are now addicted to cocochic on You Tube and are loving her 'What's in my handbag which now of course includes SEAMS! Always keep SEAMS Close to hand - In your bag Karen J Gerrard Founder You can see Stephanie on her blog        

A day in the life of a seamstresses HANDS Johanne Bertaux-Strenna

One of the interesting things at SEAMS is that I get to meet so many people who use our product and it is always fantastic to hear that SEAMS Hand Cream is being used effectively by the people it was created for. From Designers to new mums to make-up artists I would like to share with you some of their hands on stories. One of those people is the talented Johanne Bertaux-Strenna, a seamstress at Selfridges the luxury store on Oxford Street. Her daily role is to tailor fit designer garments so that clients can walk away with made to measure outfits, her hands are a fundamental part of her role. As she herself said "they pin, write, cut, hands do the talking!' I caught up with Johanne to hear how she takes care of her hands and to discover how SEAMS has helped improve the condition of her biggest asset. Intrigued by the fashion world from childhood, Johanne Bertaux-Strenna always knew she would have a career in the industry. That path led her to the London College of Fashion where she studied costume design and obtained a BA in 2010 after a foundation year in art and design at Central Saint Martins,  Johanne is now an integral member of the alterations team at Selfridges the home to designer brands and thousands of esteemed customers. Here's her hands on day- As a fitter and tailor... my work mainly involves fitting men's, ladies and kids designer garments - everything from jeans to intricate ladies designer wear. My job is to pin them accurately to make the fit more personal, in the workroom I carry out a variety of alterations as part of a team including shortening of trousers with a variety of finishes. Being a seamstress was something I always wanted to do... I had always wanted to design and make clothes. I remember drawing fashion sketches when I was 10 and organising makeshift fashion shows with dresses made from bed sheets in my cousins' attic in Corsica! I spend every summer there with my family. Working for somewhere as well known as Selfridges... means that we attract a variety of customers, so we strive to provide stellar customer service and expert advice, fast. It can be quite trying physically and especially on the hands! Each day... I start in the Alterations work room on the 5th floor with whatever alteration we have in store for the day. In the meantime I can be called out at any moment for a fitting at any department within the store. That will involve a short discussion with the customer in front of a mirror to understand what the customer wants and the work that needs and can be done, then I pin the garment and fill out the appropriate paperwork. Then it's off to another fitting or back to the workroom! It's a job that demands extreme accuracy and attention to detail. I am so happy in my role... I love working as part of a talented and multicultural team, I love the contact with customers from all parts of the world and all walks of life, I love being able to work with such a varied and exciting selection of brands and seeing how they look on different body shapes! I have to say I am most satisfied... when I establish a great connection with a customer, for whom the sales assistant / personal shopper and myself have found a great garment for. I remember one Oscar de la Renta dress - which involved several layers of tulle and chiffon - I spent one hour pinning it because I had to shorten each layer separately! I had a great conversation with the customer and when I'd finished the dress looked perfect on her, as though it had been custom made. The most difficult alteration's... are taking in the centre back seam of certain trouser waists, these can be tricky because of the number of pieces involved, the label that needs to be unstitched and re-stitched etc. Certain types of turn-ups can also be difficult. My hands are an extremely important part of my role... they do the talking, pin, write, cut, touch. The problems my hands have... is that I often get painful small nicks, cuts and scrapes on my skin, cuticles and fingertips. If my hands are properly moisturised... and hydrated then I feel more comfortable and confident. I really like the fact that SEAMS is absorbed quickly, which means I can get straight back into work. Touching fabrics all day... dries my hands, some fabrics are more tough than others and some have dyes which can be quite irritating - certain types of denim for example. For my daily hand care routine... I try to apply hand cream every time I wash my hands, and in the morning before I head out and in the evening before I turn the lights off. SEAMS Hand Cream has really helped my hands... it seems to have sealed my cuticles, and smoothed over the little nicks and cuts I have from pinning and hand sewing, particularly on my fingertips. The texture is especially great; it's non-greasy and easily absorbed and the scent is very subtle and pleasant. My favourite part of the day... is when my head hits the pillow and I review my day in my head before falling asleep, especially if I've had a good day. My least favourite part of the day... is waking up on a chilly and dark winter morning. In 2015 I am hoping to... improve my men's bespoke tailoring skills and complete the first part of the Bespoke Tailoring Course at Newham College. I want to visit Japan, start aerial hoop training again and do something with my voice! In my spare time... I do a lot of yoga and meditation, I dance if I can and sing, I meet up with friends and family and I like to go travelling. I am inspired by... confidence; enlightened, curious and inquisitive minds; music; photography; painting; literature; performance... I have one motto in life... difficult takes time, impossible just a bit more. Always keep SEAMS close to hand Karen J Gerrard      

The SEAMS Story So Far..

Do you remember the Human League song that starts 'I was working as a waitress in a cocktail bar? Well I just heard it on the radio and it promoted me to write this blog post! I want to explain the circumstances that led me to launch SEAMS. When the idea first came into my head I was studying millinery at fashion college - my hands were dry and sore, and ceaselessly being pricked by needles and rubbed by fabric. I needed a hand cream which was healing, soothing and nourishing while also being quickly absorbed, but there just wasn't anything out there that did the jb - so I decided there and then whilst sewing some binding on a hat to launch my own. Having a daily hand care routine is so important - everything we touch removes the moisture from our skin, and so I wanted to create a go-to product for everything you need for hand care - something that would take only a few seconds to apply, but would make so much difference to how hands look and feel. So I found a wonderful pharmacist and got to work on translating my ideas. There were a few things that were really important to me. The first was ensuring that SEAMS was produced in the UK (so much so that I travelled the length and breadth of the country and found one that is clean enough to eat off the floors!) - I had to be able to work with people face to face and support our country's manufacturers. Secondly, I wanted to ensure that SEAMS delivered everything I claimed it would by using only the very best ingredients - that's why each ingredient within SEAMS works in perfect harmony with the others; ensuring they blend together to make the perfect combination. Lastly I wanted SEAMS to be absorbed by the skin within 60 seconds, because I know that the modern woman doesn't have time to waste! It's been 18 months since I launched SEAMS and I couldn't have asked for more - many customers have told me it's the best hand cream they've ever used, which makes me incredibly proud, and as well as being stocked in some of the world's most prestigious spas and featured in top magazines, I'm now working on developing five additional products. SEAMS looks like it's well on the way to becoming a handbag staple - all I can say is thank goodness I realised I was terrible at making hats and moved in to hand cream instead! Karen J Gerrard


I noticed whilst backstage with SEAMS at London Fashion Week, every make-up artist was using the back of their hands as an easel to test lipsticks, foundations, blushers and eyeshadows - you name the product and it was sure to be mixed on the back of a hand. Something we all do  at home too! Think about when you shop at beauty counters - the back of your hand is always the place where you test products. This is a major sin for the health of your skin. Each time you wipe a lipstick or blusher stain away, the skin becomes dehydrated and sometimes sore. Even just a few wipes of a tissue or one use of anti-bacterial gel dries out the skin. As ITV and Celebrity make -up artist Helen Hand explained to me: "The brush cleaner we use is so astringent it makes my hands feel so dry that they feel hard and tight - it kills my hands." Her advice to solve this problem? "Always use SEAMS straight afterwards. It softens hands after one application. My colleagues and I love it." Next time you are on a beauty shop carry a tube of SEAMS in your handbag. Full of Fragonia Oil a natural anti-bacterial ingredient that helps protect your skin from the spread of germs in used make-up, it also helps to heal. Shea Butter helps to moisturise and protect skin, and Glycerine helps to heal any rashes or irritations you may get from the action of wiping away make-up with tissues. It is also worth noting that testing make-up shades on the skin on the back of your hands does not give a true visual impression of what the colour will look like, how many times have you got a lipstick home only to find it doesn't look right on your lips! The red pigment found naturally on lips changes  the colour of lipstick so it appears totally different to how it looks on the back of your hand. My advise to counter this is to ask at the beauty counter for a pice of clear tape and spread the lipstick or eyeshadow on the tape then hold it over your lips or eyes to give you a truer idea of how it will look against your skin tone. Whatever happens, don't forget to always keep SEAMS close at hand. Karen J Gerrard  

SEAMS Summer News

We had a great start to the summer season - at the Make it British event in June, and a busy time through July in Fenwick Brent Cross with our popular SEAMS Hand Massage events. The sun continued to shine when we were requested to supply SEAMS to the make up department on the set of a new Steven Bernstein movie, about the poet Dylan Thomas called Dominion. I decided to deliver SEAMS in person - all the way to their base in Montreal. "I actually have got a confession,"revealed hair expert Tamara Harrod when I arrived on set the second day, "I have also been using SEAMS on my whole body after a bath as such a little goes a long way!" I was so pleased to see her use it at every opportunity on set - she even requested a bigger 'professional size and also a foot cream too. Watch this space!  Whilst there I was fortunate enough to see the amazing actors, Rhys Ifans, John Malkovich, Romala Garai and Rodrigo Santoro shoot some amazing scenes. We can't wait for the movie! Another delightful ray of positivity added to our summer glow: Next week SEAMS arrives at the prestigious Dorchester Spa in London's exclusive Dorchester Hotel Park Lane London. we are overwhelmed that SEAMS' first spa is such an esteemed hotel. We will be ensuring that the guests will enjoy our SEAMS Hand Massage treatment as part of their manicure regime. I hope the sun shines positively for you this summer! Keep SEAMS close to hand Karen J Gerrard


SEAMS  Hand Cream MADE IN UK SEAMS is proud to be British. When I created SEAMS one of my main priorities was to keep production in the UK. I wanted a product that I could trust, so being able to watch it being made close to our offices was imperative. So many wonderful factories across the country produce premium products successfully, it made sense to harness that talent and support the British manufacturing industry. Today SEAMS was a product sponsor at the Make it British Meet The Manufacturer conference. The first event of its kind, we have sampled SEAMS Hand Cream in the VIP goodie bags. With over 1000 brands, retailers, buyers  and manufacturers taking part, its purpose provides companies and designers to forge relationships with Britain's best clothing manufacturers. With fabulous guest speakers from the fashion world such as Mary Portas and Ian Maclean, Managing Director of John Smedley, it has been an inspirational and ground breaking event at The Truman Brewery in Brick Lane. Make it British is a fabulous initiative for British brands and UK manufacturing and we are proud to be featured in their directory click here According to research carried out by Mintel last year, one in two Brits now believe that buying British is better. I am sure the recession has made people stop and think about the impact on the UK economy of buying British, as well as how doing so can create more jobs. Even large multinational companies like Arcadia and Debenhams are starting to bring their production back to the UK because of customer demand, higher quality levels and speedy factory-to-shop-floor manufacturing. We are so proud SEAMS is playing a part in this revolutionary British manufacturing movement. Long may this home-grown approach continue.... Always keep SEAMS close to hand Karen J Gerrard  


This month SEAMS was selected by Models 1 as one of their favourite daily essential items. As you can see from this image taken at a recent Models 1 event, we are alongside healthy snacks, quality skincare and expert make-up, we are so happy that SEAMS has become such an important part in models' everyday looking-good regime! I have met lots of models since creating SEAMS and they have all had almost-perfect hands thanks to their good hand care routines. Although most models' hand care habits are extreme, we can adapt them to help keep our hands beautiful. If you're a hand model for example, your hands are crucial to your fortune, so everyday tasks like peeling a potato are approached with, as one model put it, "cautious  lunacy". This isn't surprising when you consider that some models hands are insured for up to five million pounds! Even opening a can of drink is risky, because if it breaks the skin they are at risk of losing a lot of work. So in order to protect hands, all hand models wear gloves religiously! I know of one lady who owns over 500 pairs! Of course for most of us, wearing gloves 24/7 is impossible, but what we can learn from this is that gloves pay a huge part in keeping hands soft, protected and callous-free. So always wear them when the weather is cold and use rubber gloves when doing any manual work like cleaning, gardening or washing up. We are often in such a hurry that gloves get forgotten! A good 'model habit' to get into is wearing driving gloves. One of the main causes of ageing hands is from sunlight contact whilst they are on a steering wheel. Diet also plays a huge part in keeping a model's hands healthy. White spots on nails is as much a no-no for a hand model as freckles and age spots, so models are advised to eat a diet rich in Zinc, protein and calcium to stop them appearing. Caffeine and chocolate should also be avoided as models have to keep their hands steady, sometimes they will be expected to hold objects for long periods without leaning on anything and without shaking. It can take up to 12 hours to film just a 30 second film, and caffeine and chocolate can make hands shake more. If your nails are cracking or splitting try eating more foods with Vitamin B2 like almonds, eggs and oily fish. If they are dry and brittle I suggest to increase your Vitamin A and calcium levels. If cuticles are dry a Zinc-rich diet and massaging in SEAMS Hand cream will help soften them. SEAMS  hand cream contains plenty of Keratin which is the best to help make your nails strong and heal split cuticles. But the ultimate secret of keeping your hands looking young, as agreed by all models and agents I have met so far, is the regular use of hand cream! The girls at Models 1 love SEAMS not just because of its velvet feel and soothing scent, but because its light non-greasy texture absorbs into skin very quickly which is vital for use around expensive fabrics whilst on a shoot. I have heard that some models can use it up to thirty times a day, which is great but not practical for all of us! I advise that if you are only going to use hand cream once a day then keep a tube of SEAMS by your bed. Applying SEAMS just before you go to sleep has the most beneficial effects and provides a great opportunity to make the most of its calming and soothing ingredients like Lavender and Fragonia Oil. Skin goes into repair mode when you sleep, so moisturising  hands at this time is vital as this is when they will be most receptive to the unique replenishing, repairing and restoring properties of SEAMS. Always keep SEAMS close to hand. Karen J Gerrard


For Mothers day on Sunday March 30th, we have collaborated with London's most luxurious florist, Nikki Tibbles Wild at Heart, by selling a SEAMS Hand Cream with one of her gorgeous floral bouquets. The collaboration came about after Nikki contacted me to say how SEAMS had transformed her sore and cut hands, and made them soft once again. To hear this was such an honour, as I have admired Nikki's beautiful bespoke creations for years. "SEAMS has been a miracle cream for all our hands at Wild at Heart," she wrote. "Being a florist, you can't avoid cuts and irritation to the hands - it comes with the territory, but since using SEAMS, the invisible mending has been a blessing. My hands are now so smooth and soft: looking at them, you'd never know the daily constant pressure I put them through." This is one of the many reasons why SEAMS was created and it is amazing to hear that someone so respected in the floral industry recognised SEAMS' remarkable results. "Using SEAMS now protects my skin and calms from the first moment of impact," she explained. "Even despite the constant contact with water, applying SEAMS daily keeps my hands conditioned and healthy." So it was fitting that the SEAMS Wild at Heart 'Forever Love' bouquet was created. Is it available at Wild at Heart stores in Pimlico, at the concession in Liberty and at the Turquoise Island, Westbourne Gove or order online from SEAMS' reputation has also been acknowledged in the publishing world too, we were approached by the beauty industry's leading retail trade magazine, Pure Beauty to advise their readers on how to care for dry hands. It was great to be part of an article that concentrated solely on hand care, caring for the skin on our hands is as important as the skin on our face! Then the Daily Mail's Beauty Editor Elsa McAlonan reported how SEAMS' notoriety backstage at February's autumn/winter catwalk shows was so huge, that it is now known as the "Unsung Hero of London Fashion Week. From mothers and florists, to fashion designers and journalists, I feel so honoured that SEAMS' caring properties is providing so many with a helping hand. Until next month.... Karen J Gerrard   .