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Saturday, 30 January 2016

Knitting up a Storm!

2015 was the 100th anniversary of the ANZACS.  The RSL, as part of this recognition, and after creating hundreds of red poppies, put out a call for the donation of handmade (whether that be knitted or sewn) beanies and scarves for our Australian Defence Forces posted overseas.  In WA, ladies celebrated their final contribution, with the organiser throwing herself into it and, onto the table!

ASG members rallied and met the challenge with great enthusiasm!  My dining room became the only place with enough room to store all the wonderful items that were collected by me or dropped off to me over several months - an example of the generosity and talent of our Australian Sewing Guild members!
When the time came for sending them off, there were 126 beanies and 31 scarves, which I packaged into boxes, along with Christmas cards and little trinkets! It took two days, but my heart was filled with joy and pride! And this was only what I sent off, there were many who sent them directly; the RSL confirming that we had helped them to well and truly meet their goal!

If the photos of representative members of the ADF; taken during a special handover ceremony in WA, are anything to go by, you can well imagine the Army, Airforce and Navy troops; so far from home for Christmas; in far flung and dangerous places, when they opened their parcels!  WELL DONE ASG!

Thanks to Wendy McKinnon, NSW State Liaison Officer, for sharing this story!

Saturday, 23 January 2016

ASG and the next generation

In 2015, Australian Sewing Guild members partnered with Greenwood College in Perth to further the art of sewing and foster an appreciation of the sewing/textile industry amongst students at the school!
ASG members from the Northern Suburbs Group (WA) volunteered their time and sewing expertise to help Year 12 students achieve a Fashion, Design and Textiles Unit of Competency in their school art program.  A number of students have now applied through Polytechnics to partake in the 2016 Textile Course.

Glen Larcombe, Marion James and Glenys Brown visited the school one day a week during the school term to share their time and expert knowledge with a group of enthusiastic students.

On the experience, Glenys said: 

 I’ve enjoyed my time volunteering for sewing at the Greenwood College. The students, both girls and boys, were all eager to thread and operate a sewing machine. Some of the pillow slips and cushions produced by the boys as a first attempt were surprisingly neat! 

I encourage ASG ladies to get behind and support the Guild with this project. By mentoring these students we keep the love of sewing and dressmaking alive.
Marion James
Glenys Brown
Thanks to the Perth Metropolitan Region for sharing this story!

Friday, 15 January 2016

Castaway to Couture 2016

May is National Sewing Month and to celebrate we once again bring you...

The idea is simple –
  • Buy a garment (or a few) at any Op Shop, or raid your wardrobe, and snap a ‘before’ pic  
  • Use your awesome sewing skills to refashion it into something new (click here for FAQs about what is and what is not allowed)
  • Enter your refashion here 
  • Ask your friends to vote for you and vote for your favourite refashions.

Fire up your sewing machines and your creative genius.  This is your chance to win a
Sewing & Embroidery machine

The competition opens 15th January 2016 and closes at 11.00pm 31st May 2016.  A registration form must be completed on Facebook at
Click the Castaway to Couture menu option at the top of the page to register and post your entries.
(You will need to be on a computer / laptop rather than a mobile device)

Don't use Facebook?  That's OK - just contact us at  We'll help you with the registration process and tell you what information you need to send.

There will be four prize packs awarded.   Two will be awarded to the judge’s choice and two will be awarded to viewers’ choice.
Judges will pick eight (8) finalists, based on pictures submitted.  Finalists will be asked to post their entry to the address provided.  All garments will be returned at no additional cost to the entrant.
Viewers' choice will be based solely on pictures submitted and determined by number of votes.

Before and After Pics

Getting a great picture will help show your work at its finest! We have a photo guide that helps you get a wonderful shot, whether you are using a camera or a phone, just click here to read. We do require that you submit a before and after pic as one image. Some of you will have access to Photoshop or other great photo editing software but there is no need to panic if you don’t! There are a tonne of free photo editing or collaging options out there. If you have one you already use, just go with that but if photo collaging is new to you, we have some suggestions: is a free online service that allows you to collage. Here’s a tutorial on how to do it.
Framatic is a free iPhone app that also allows collaging. Here’s a tutorial on how to do it.

We wish you happy snapping and collaging!  If you really get into trouble, shoot an email off to and we will try to give you a hand.

Re-fashioning Hints & Tips

There really can be no right or wrong when it comes to creative vision. But if you are in need of a little inspiration there are some fabulous refashioning blogs out there.  Here are just a few:

Blog Buttons & Images to help get those votes!

Of course you'll want to get as many votes as you can!  The easiest way to get the word out is to use social media to your advantage.  We have created some images, free for you to use, to help you get people voting. 

For use on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and anything else you might use.  Hashtag #castawaytocouture


And if you blog, here are some buttons for your sidebar.

Still got a question?  Our friendly team are always happy to help, just send an email to As you can imagine, we are spinning our bobbins pretty fast right now but someone will have your question all stitched up within 48 hours!

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Getting your sewing group organised for 2016!

All neighbourhood sewing groups in the Australian Sewing Guild meet regularly... but does your group have a plan for 2016?

Annual (or semi-annual) planning by groups is encouraged. The planning process provides a great opportunity to reflect on what you loved (or would change) about the meetings you held in the last year, and to define your group's goals for the next year!

The Foothills Sew'n'Sews who meet in Kenwick, Western Australia, are just one ASG neighbourhood group which plans its meetings for the year in advance. The Foothills Sew'n'Sews have kindly shared a copy of their 2016 schedule to assist/inspire other groups:

Important: If you're interested in joining the Foothills Sew'n'Sews, or attending one of their scheduled meets, it's imperative that you get in touch with the group first. That way the group can plan accordingly for the number of attendees at each meet.

More information about the ASG (including how to join) is available on the ASG website
To find a sewing group in your area, visit the Find Us page on the ASG website

Monday, 4 January 2016

AUSSEW -Along #2 - Cowl Neck Jersey Top

Announcing the next 
Sew Along 
commencing 8th February

Start with a basic T-shirt pattern like the one pictured here.  You may already have a favourite pattern, or your own knit block - feel free to use that.  If not, McCall's 6964 or Kwik Sew 3766 are good options.

Your fabric must be a two-way stretch jersey or similar weight to a jersey.  Just make sure it stretches in both directions.

You will start by learning how to alter your pattern to create the flattering cowl neck drape. How much drape will be up to you.  Long sleeves, short sleeves or no sleeves - your choice.  Once you start construction there will be lots of tips for working with tricky knit fabric.

What supplies do you need?
  • basic T-shirt pattern and fabric
  • Size 70/10 Ball Point needle  OR  Size 75/11 Stretch needle.  Ball point needles tend to work best with knit jersey. 
  • (optional) Size 75, 4.0 mm Stretch twin needle (for hems)
  • Fusible stay tape such as Vlieseline Seam Tape (for stabilising shoulder seams)

The Sew-Along will start on 8th February 2016 and run for six days with a new set of instructions every second day.  Instructions will be posted on this blog.  Join the AUSSEW Along Facebook Group to share with and learn from other Sew-Along participants.  It's a closed group, so you will need to request an invitation to join if you have not already done so.  Or you may prefer to work on your own without joining the group - that's OK too.

An overlocker is ideal for working with knits but if you don't have one don't rush out and buy one (unless you really want to).  Seam and hemming options will be given for both overlocker and sewing machine.

Questions?  Post them on the Facebook group or email