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Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Sasha's Story

The creative working partnership with my mother started last year in 2015. I have always been interested in historical costume and vintage fashions ever since I was little but only recently have found time to explore this with invaluable help from my mother. My mother has always been passionate with sewing and would sporadically, throughout her adult life, sew a dress or a jacket with store bought patterns, at first with Home Yardage or Lincraft in Sydney and now Spotlight in Perth.

My mother grew up observing my grandmother regularly sewing for her 11 children. Due to old fashioned views, my grandmother never taught my mother to sew and would forbid her from sewing at home. Being ingenious, my mother would find ways to practice the skills she observed by sewing with friends at their homes but always in secret. Due to her experiences with sewing during her formative years, she never thought of pursuing a creative career with sewing and never further developed her skills until last year. 

2015 was an important year creatively. I joined an arts and cultural development organisation and it was there that I had my first experience with creative experimentation, self-expression through art, playing with colours and most importantly storytelling through art.

With my new found interest in storytelling, it was by chance and necessity that I rediscovered my passion for history and costume. By combining history, costume, musical composition, digital art, painting and performance, I discovered my own syntax and method for storytelling. I voraciously read and taught myself needle art, period costume pattern making and costume embellishments by reading old books mainly dating pre 1950’s.

2015 was a year filled with many new discoveries, excitements and challenges. My mother made the commitment to help me bring my creative ideas to fruition. In preparation for an exhibition, she helped me to complete a 1950s Dior inspired costume art complete with meters upon meters of tulle for the petticoat as well as wires for the hoop underskirt. It took her about a month with many temper tantrums and needle tortures before she rediscovered her buried sewing skills and her passion for sewing. 

My Opus 1 was titled Zelda’s Resurrection. I wanted to interpret through costume art a lady who has resurrected from the flames of war like a phoenix. In order to achieve that, I used a combination of beading, painting, fabric origami, digital artworks printed on calico, variations of wool crochet and braids as well as the appropriate period costume foundation to express the emotion and to tell the story. My Opus 1 took both my mother and I on a challenging, exciting as well as exasperating journey of learning to paint by hand and digitally, crochet, embroider, pattern making amongst many other skills.

Having now approaching the end of 2016, both my mother's and my creative goals are now more defined, our skills are continuing to improve and we have experienced participating in three art exhibitions. I have during the year joined the Embroiderer’s Guild of Western Australia and in particular the textile conservation group. Now very recently my mother and I have joined the Sewing Guild of Australia which will help to broaden our knowledge and experiences manifolds. Through my passion for history, I have been invited to join the Melville History Society and it is with them that I will curate my first historical / art exhibition. The exhibition will be focusing on the lives of children living between the years 1900 to 1920. It will have a strong emphasis on children’s costumes especially storytelling through costume art.

My mother and I are now convinced that we have found our purpose and passion. To be able to share my passion and creative goals with my mother is truly a blessing indeed.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Tessuti Fabrics - ASG Industry Partner

Tessuti Fabrics is one of the ASG's newest Industry Partners! Read more about them below!

Established over twenty years ago, Tessuti Fabrics is now recognised as one of Australia’s leading retailers of quality and designer fabrics. With two retail stores in Sydney, one in Melbourne and an online shop, Tessuti has become the destination for dressmakers, fashion students and all lovers of sewing.

Tessuti takes enormous pride in sourcing fabrics that give our customers a unique and stylish range offering quality stock and designer ends. They purchase from some of the most celebrated local, interstate and international designers including Cue, Zimmermann, Missoni, Dolce & Gabbana and many, many more.

Check out their website for classes, patterns, facebook and blog. 


Tessuti Fabrics' retail stores are located in Surry Hills, Chatwsood and Melbourne.  
Visit their website for addresses and other contact details!


Thursday, 13 October 2016

Introducing Tara Moss and Victory Lamour

Tara Moss - author, journalist, TV presenter, human rights activist.  Tara is a woman of many talents and clearly does not shy away from a challenge.  Crime fiction writer, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and advocate for the rights of women and children just scratches the surface.  Read more...

Recently Tara has taken up the challenge of sewing and writes about it on her Victory Lamour blog:

Why did I make a promise to myself to (finally) learn the practical skill of sewing? The reason is simple. I wanted to be more self-sufficient. Scratch that, I needed to be.

Over the years it became clear to me that it was well and truly time to learn how to mend my own clothing, fix a busted seam before it rendered a garment unwearable, and sew buttons on in a way that didn’t immediately make them fall off again. I also wanted to be able to make clothing and cosplay outfits from scratch and from recycled materials, but I had no skills whatsoever in either respect (even the sewing on of buttons was a mystery to me), having never been taught any sewing or mending skills, and having never put time into learning.

My inability to mend my own things had become distinctly unhelpful to me, particularly considering my love of vintage and the tendency for even the best made vintage clothing to come apart at the seams, thanks to ageing, 60-year-old thread. It also occurred to me that I’d downplayed the importance of these skills in my younger years in part because sewing, mending and dressmaking have been considered ‘feminised skills’.  It is ironic, in a way, that a feminist woman would avoid things precisely because they are considered feminine, and in doing so, become less self-sufficient. In time this imbalance became impractical, and though I took a while to recognise it, recognise it I did.

I am a newbie with much left to learn, but in the past few months I have discovered a great deal about what goes into making the kinds of material objects I for decades took too much for granted. Fabric quality. Stitching techniques. The construction of garments and the hours of work that goes into even the simplest item. I look at things differently, more carefully considering the making of an item and what its life might be, how it might be repaired, and whether I’d happily wear it in 5 years or 50. 

Tara is excited to learn more, and use her profile to encourage broader interest in sewing, craft, mending and ’slow’, sustainable and personalised clothing.

Meet Victory Lamour, Tara's vintage alter-ego.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Thread Den - ASG Industry Partner

Thread Den is an Australian Sewing Guild industry partner.

Thread Den has been teaching crafty types every year for nine years.  At first it was about people looking for more crafty outlets for their crazy creations, but nowadays there isn’t such a simple stereotype that you can pin on the people that come into the Sewing Lounge. There are young professionals, empty nesters, teens, the self-employed…“One thing that we are seeing more of is corporations that pay for their employees to take creative courses for improved work/life balance”, said Danielle Bamford, owner and teacher at Thread Den.  

“I love that trend amongst businesses, encouraging their staff to pursue extra curricular activities. Sewing needs you to focus on what is in front of you. It is very difficult for those pesky little stressful thoughts to sneak in while you are making something. At the same time you are being creative and productive, you can’t lose!”

Thread Den has two classroom spaces, there is also a membership program where members can come in to use all the facilities of the sewing lounge on Thursdays and Fridays from 2pm to 6pm. There is a member’s social sewing night once a month, when the music is turned up, the Thread Den boss lady cracks open the wine and members bring along a plate to share. Add to that the laid back Sunday Afternoon Sewing Sessions!

The kinds of classes you could be taking? Well, just about anything to do with sewing! Learning from the very beginning, making your first garment, challenging yourself to insert boning, make a tailored and lined coat. Plus there are all the craft classes; knitting and crochet at various levels, lampshade recovering, making purses, leather bags…. For a full class list head to

Thread Den is located in unit 3d, 26 Wellington Street in Collingwood. It’s home is a refurbished distillery building, surrounded by Melbourne’s unique laneways. 



Saturday, 6 August 2016

MaaiDesign - ASG Industry Partner

MaaiDesign is one of the ASG's newest Industry Partners! Read more about them below!

Hi, my name is Maaike! I grew up in Belgium but have been calling Australia home for the past 10 years.

As a mum, I needed a creative and fun hobby that took me away from the daily chores…. So I picked up sewing again and was hooked!  I wanted to make my kids the cool clothes I love, and pieces for me that would fit properly... but I couldn’t find the unique fabrics I wanted in Australia!

So I went out looking for them, and started the MaaiDesign fabric store to share them with the rest of Australia.  MaaiDesign is an online fabric store specialising in unique and gorgeous European fabrics.

“Maai” is pronounced just like “My”.  MaaiDesign is, therefore, a reference to the joy of handmaking. Because whatever you sew, you can call it “My Design!”

I have a blog as well, have a look there if you’d like to see what I’ve been sewing.  And don’t forget to sign up to my newsletter on my website to find out about new products and promotions!

I also love sewing in a social environment, so I am planning on organising sewing events too.  So I look forward to meeting other ASG members soon. I will be attending the Guild's NSW Industry Day on 24th September, so maybe I’ll see you there!



Sunday, 10 July 2016

The Pattern Drafter comes to Perth!

The 2016 Federal Election did not take centre stage in Western Australia recently!

Maria Boncaldo, the inventor of The Pattern Drafter, came to Perth for the weekend and gave the Perth Metropolitan and Perth Metropolitan North regions an introduction to her approach to pattern drafting.

Thanks to Jennie van Driel for graciously allowing us to use her photo - she was so thrilled with the fit!
Over the weekend sixty Guild and non-Guild members enjoyed a day of fellowship and fun.

Three Pattern Drafter kits were given away as door prizes, plus prizes of complimentary membership for the non-members - a great way to get all those ladies who previously “didn’t even know there was a Guild” to come and see what we can do, and enjoy the company of like minded people!

The Pattern Drafter is an industry partner of the Australian Sewing Guild. 

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Castaway to Couture Winners

What a fantastic response to the Castaway to Couture competition this year - over 70 highly creative entries from around Australia!

This year the Guild partnered with Echidna Sewing Products to offer a Brother Innovis Sewing & Embroidery machine as first prize. Judith Turner, author of The Sewing Bible for Clothes Alterations donated a 12-month subscription to her popular Sewing Genie Magic Circle, a collection of eBooks and videos with insights into the secrets of alterations and re-fashioning of garments.  Winners also received gift vouchers from McCalls Pattern Services, Handbag Hardware Australia and Craftsy.

Without further ado, we present the winners.

Judges' Choice 1st Prize - Adam Mikulicz

Judges' Choice 2nd Prize - Julie Livingstone

Finalist & Judges' Choice Highly Commended - Kristy Chan

Judges' Choice Highly Commended - Trish Stott

Viewers' Choice 1st Prize - Stefanie Alvez

Viewers' Choice 2nd Prize - Jackie Pardoe-Matthews

View gallery of all other entries
Thank you to all participants.  We look forward to seeing more marvelous creations next year.