Update on Thursday, December 10: Check out the window of Josefina in Uckfield High Street where teenager Jade Earley’s Christmas tree dress is now displayed.
Our original story of Monday, October 19: Teenage dressmaker Jade Earley has made everything from elegant ballgowns to fun neckerchiefs for her family’s dogs but is now turning her hand to something more spikey and theatrical.
Jade, aged 17, is making a Christmas tree dress. It will have a fitted bodice with skirts made of the branches of discarded artificial Christmas trees which will then be decorated with traditional baubles.
This dress isn’t destined to be worn. Rather, Jade is hoping it might adorn a shop window and that she can raise funds for charity in the process of making it, perhaps through running a competition.
Jade, who lives in Ridgewood with her parents Nyree and Mark, sisters Jema and Joolz and brother Joel is appealing for artificial trees and Christmas decorations that are no longer needed so that she can incorporate them into the gown.
The teenager, who is studying art and design, achieved distinction in her first year at Sussex Downs College in Eastbourne. She has two more years at college and then is hoping to become an intern at a fashion house possibly here in England or in America.
But first she is saving money earned as a lifeguard and swimming teacher to enable her to do this because interns aren’t paid very well, if at all.
At the moment Jade isn’t sure whether to follow a path into fashion or into film and theatre but she currently has her sights set on taking part in the popular BBC 2 TV programme The Great British Sewing Bee.
She has sent off her application and is keeping her fingers crossed that she will get an interview and then progress on to the show where amateur sewers take on challenges as they compete to be named Britain’s best home sewer.
Jade spent years training as a triathlete before injury forced her to give up and look for a new dream.
Dressmaking has now completely filled that gap and her enthusiasm has grown since she began having lessons three years ago at Make It classes in East Hoathly. She has her own sewing workshop in a log cabin at home and it is where she most likes spending time.
Jade said: “The Christmas tree dress is one of the most unusual things I have made and it is great to be getting the community involved.
“Thanks to everybody who is able to help by donating artificial trees they no longer use and decorations which I can add into the skirts.”
If you would like to donate either trees or decorations please contact Jade’s mother Nyree on email@example.com.