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Here you will find various useful news items, articles, notifications of events and sewing updates to keep you busy and engaged.

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  • 27 Aug 2020 7:35 PM | Louise Sparrow (Administrator)

    The latest AUSSEW-Along has members making a pleated skirt.  We got off to a flying start in July but ran into a big obstacle called Covid-19.  The pleater of choice - Specialty Pleaters - had to close shop due to the lockdown in Victoria.  Thankfully, Rado Pleating in Sydney has come to the rescue and we are now back on track.

    This video gives a fascinating insight into the pleating process.

  • 20 Jun 2020 10:02 AM | Louise Sparrow (Administrator)

    Megan Nielsen (ASG Industry Partner) shares her love of the sewing community in a blog series celebrating 10 amazing makers.

    Earlier this year, before our way of life was turned a little upside down, I was lucky enough to make a long-held dream come to life. We held a two-day photoshoot– to celebrate the sewing community and encourage involvement in person and online.

    Though we’ve been physically distant in the past few months this is not the time to pull away from our communities. More than ever we need to be connected and involved as much as we can. We need to be showing care and consideration for each other.

    I love the sewing community. This special corner of the world is so full of love and encouragement and mutual respect. The sewing community changed the course of my life and has personally brought me so much joy and fulfilment and introduced me to so many dear friends. Where would I be without all of you?

    Creating this blog series of incredible makers is my celebration of community and my call to engage more than ever with each other online, through social media, video chats, messages, packages dropped at doors and random deliveries – any way we can.


    Let’s build each other up! Let’s shout encouragement and love from our rooftops! I’ve seen so many hashtags on social media shared to encourage sewing community connection on Instagram – jump on board and do it! Reach out and make new friends! Let’s make awesome things and show each other!

    We have profiles of 10 amazing people from my local sewing community on our blog, giving you a little insight into their sewing worlds and lives. They very graciously agreed to be part of this special project and I’m so proud and excited to introduce them to you all, not to mention show you their incredible outfits!

    This project has a very special place in our hearts and I hope you enjoy this community series as much as we have enjoyed creating it!!

    Megan Nielsen

    Photographer: Bronnie Joel


  • 7 Apr 2020 2:36 PM | Deleted user

    Sneaking in just before the ban on social gathering, ASG members met for the semi-annual NSW Industry Day. 

    Saturday, March 14th dawned cool and faintly miserable in Sydney.  Inside the Blueberry Hill conference room at Canterbury Leagues Club, the atmosphere was anything but cool and definitely not miserable.

    Attendance at the Autumn 2020 Industry Day was much reduced, in line with the increasing health crisis.  But all that was forgotten as we were taken into the world of costuming by Rebecca Ritchie, head of wardrobe at Opera Australia.  Rebecca was an engaging speaker and as some attendees said, “we could have listened to her all day”. 

    Rebecca spoke of how costumes are constructed and made to be true to the designer’s vision, reasonably wearable, and with meaning for the audience.  She had many examples of considering who else will be wearing the costume i.e. someone larger or smaller than the first singer, and how money can be saved in one part of the costume to be spent up big on another part.

    The visual story-telling was wonderfully illustrated by Rebecca showing us how, to indicate just what the character is giving up to marry a very poor man, her extravagant ensemble is slowly dismantled over the course of one aria, until she is, at last, standing in just her chemise.  The success of this process is hugely dependent on the other members of the cast. One bow that knots itself and won’t come undone is a potential disaster.  Scissors are held at the ready.

    Attendees then enjoyed the three workshops available for both a morning and afternoon session.

    Laura Walsh from Bobbin & Ink brought sewing decidedly into the 21st Century with information on sewing with conductive threads and materials.  Conductive Thread is ideal for introducing electronics into textiles projects. The thread looks and behaves like conventional sewing thread with the added bonus of being conductive, allowing the thread to be used in the place of wires, with conventional electronics.  Laura explained, to much merriment and excitement, how to start experimenting with light-up elements and other electrical components.  Attendees came away with much enthusiasm to produce garments to wow their grandchildren.

    Maria from Digital Fabrics very generously brought along her printing press and everyone who attended her workshop went home with a small sample.  It was very interesting that the colours on the master pattern were very strong, while the final product was much less intense.  It was inspiring to know just how much can be done with digital printing – not just fabric for garments.

    In a quieter mode Kazue Kawauchi delighted with her line of soft toy patterns  Piccolino Patterns.  Kazue chose the Industry Day to launch her new addition to the Piccolino family, Forest Friends Mouse & Rabbit.  Small figurines but endlessly cute – something to sew for family members not quite ready for techno threads.

    For our regular “Show &Tell” session, there were 3 gift vouchers to be won, thanks to the generosity of The Fabric Store in Surry Hills.  It was such a joy to hear the stories behind the garments – the sewing journey.  The focus was not on the quality of the sewing, but on the journey.

    Many thanks to Pitt Trading and Larraine Jenkins for providing some shopping opportunities.  Unfortunately, Dearne Natoli from Booby Traps was unable to attend as it was her 20th Wedding Anniversary and she thought she really should spend the day with her husband.  Achieve Australia were also unable to be with us because of the health crisis.  Next time.

    Thank you to everyone who sent their regrets – your kind words and well wishes were very much appreciated.  We are now starting to organise our Spring 2020 Industry Day.  Date to be confirmed.  Hope to see you all there.

  • 7 Apr 2020 2:08 PM | Deleted user

    I had the pleasure of liaising with the Wig Service Coordinator at the Cancer Council WA, Maryanne Van Dal who was able to source some fabric and threads for our event.

    Altogether we made a total of 75 caps and wraps from 41 metres of gorgeous bamboo jersey. A few of us spent some time cutting out our selected patterns ready to sew up on the day, which in itself was quite a fun game of group Tetris as we got the most out of the fabric.

    Using three patterns for the specifically drafted event, we started with a short intro session and then our 25 sewists got down to business to produce these beautifully handmade products which were delivered back to the Cancer Council Wig Service based at Millroy Lodge.

    When I dropped them off, our Woolies green bag full of hats and scarves looked unassuming but it was heartening to know we did something good for the people in our community.


    Being able to sew these items for the Cancer Council felt like a huge gift, not so much for the recipients but for me. In my professional life I am a Cancer Nurse and every day I speak with people who experience hair loss due to cancer treatment.

    It is always a difficult conversation to have because hair loss is the thing that will, without doubt, make someone look sick.

    As my fellow sewists worked away I couldn’t help but be moved by the relief that these handmade products would provide. Not only was it a joy to sew with some beautiful fabric but to make something that would make another person feel beautiful when wearing them, or at the very least comfortable, in an ocean of discomfort.

    I also got to form a closer relationship with the beautiful staff and volunteers of the Cancer Council of WA and to experience the amazing facilities at Millroy Lodge, the home away from home for our country patients. I never thought my sewing and professional life would collide but when it did, it enriched both.

    The Cancer Council is an entirely donation funded organisation who provide support services for those affected by cancer. If you or your sewing group are interested in continuing our work sewing for the Cancer Council please contact the Cancer Council Wig Service in your state on 13 11 20.

    by Kylie Peel
    ASG member, WA


  • 7 Apr 2020 1:53 PM | Deleted user

    This piece has been something of a UFO – a long time in the making, with lapses in attention. The long hot summer is over here in Italy, the last sewing project was finished a few weeks back, and now the sewing machines, gadgets, pins, scissors etc have been put away for the last time here. Now I will complete these musings.

    We have been coming to Umbria every northern summer now for six years, when after daydreaming for years about the possibility, we bought an apartment in the medieval hilltop town of Todi.

    The idea was to come for sojourns in spring and/or autumn and rent the property out in between. However, after spending some four months here over that first summer, organizing renovations – plumbers, electricians, tilers, painters etc – coming for the whole summer each year has become a habit.

    But a girl can’t spend six months without time at a sewing machine. In our second year here, I bought a Pfaff Passport sewing machine, quickly followed by an overlocker, both purchased online from Turin. The machines were delivered to the door (three floors up) and so my Italian sewing room was launched.

    I now have most of the necessary gadgets and tools assembled – either bought online or on excursions to Rome, or further afield in UK, France etc. And, of course, a very respectable fabric stash now nestles in containers under one of the guest beds. After a couple of years here I tracked down a very helpful man near Perugia – a 30 min drive away – who serviced both machines, with excellent results.

    My sewing room (aka the guest room) doesn’t have the divine vistas of the sitting room and main bedroom, but it does look out on a neighbour’s vegie patch and part of the 1,500-year-old Roman wall still standing in parts around the city. Further down the hill is the younger medieval wall that circles the city, defining the Centro Storico.

    Depending on which way I set up the ironing board, I can still gaze out through our bedroom window with magnificent views of the Umbrian countryside, and Apennine Mountains. If I am doing hand sewing, there is a comfortable armchair in the sitting room, with even more expansive views through the floor length windows there.

    It is a view I never tire of, and at different times of the day and year, whether sunny, cloudy or lit up with a classic Umbrian thunder and lightning show, it is always stunning. Add to that the spectacle for ten days in July of the hot air balloonists literally coming over our balcony as we have our breakfast.

    This summer’s completed projects include a black linen jacket for the husband, a viscose crepe dress (Max Mara black with white carnations fabric sourced from Marci Tilton online), a black striped linen dress – all of which were cut out in Perth for assembly in Italy. But how did I manage to plan three black garments?

    Then there was the beautiful piece of Italian black patterned silk crepe that Lottie, a Swedish friend with a house here, showed me. It was a gift to her 25 years ago and she was looking for a style and a dressmaker in town. From my wardrobe and onsite collection of patterns a style was selected and, while Lottie did layout, cutting and pinning, I agreed to run that one up too. She was delighted with the result and looked fab in it when we all went out to dinner.

    During June, with the BBC live on my new smart TV, I settled down to watch Wimbledon, while doing the hand sewing on my Chanel-style jacket - again a project commenced in Perth. A subsequent trip to Rome and a visit to an amazing passementerie produced a wonderful trim for the edges and pockets, along with chain for inside the hemline. The jacket was completed by end of August and made its debut at the opera in our lovely theatre.

    A couple of pieces of linen became dresses, but a couple more will make the return trip to Perth unmade.

    After sorting what stays and what comes home, the packing is now all but done. In a few days we leave for Dubai and then a two-week adventure in Uzbekistan…. I’m already thinking silk...There is always room in the luggage for some special piece of fabric, or shoes…

    Sandra Moran
    ASG member, WA

  • 16 Feb 2020 12:09 PM | Deleted user

    ASG Industry Partner Anita McAdam (Studio Faro) shares her sewing journey.  Take advantage of the special discount for ASG members on upcoming workshops in May and July 2020.

    A little about me:

    I've always had an urge to create, a need to make something, and use my hands.  My grandmother had the greatest influence on my final choice to become a designer/patternmaker.  She lost her husband when her boys were teenagers but managed to put them through university by working as an office manager by day, and dressmaking on weekends and evenings.

    When I was growing up my Dad was frugal with his money, but if you made something useful with your hands he'd support you. The moment I finished with a piece of fabric there was a little bit of money for my next project.

    Originally from Brisbane, I spent several years working before deciding to go to college to train as a fashion designer.  I then made the obligatory overseas adventure through Africa and Europe.  It was the most wonderful opportunity to live and learn.

    In short, I spent 5 years as a freelance designer in London, and then ten years as a senior lecturer at the Manchester Metropolitan University of Manchester.  Those fifteen years were an amazing learning experience for me on so many levels.  

    In 2000 I returned to Australia and put all those skills and experience to work.  I decided to combine my freelancing experience and teaching skills to set up a design studio in Sydney’s, Inner West.  Over seventeen years I cut a lot of industry patterns and taught many, many design and pattern making students.  I know how fortunate I am to have spent much of my life doing something I love.  And I hope to continue doing so for the rest of my life.

    Almost three years ago, my partner and I decided to move our home from the city to the country.  And that has turned out to be the best move ever.  Coolamon is a wonderful small town, 30 minutes out of Wagga Wagga. 

    We’ve both fallen in love with this beautiful town.  It’s so well kept and clean and peaceful, and the locals are so welcoming.  What’s not to love!

    Anyway, back to the present…

    When learning to live in a country town, in rural NSW, it’s important to look around yourself and shift perspective.  The question being:  How do my skills and abilities fit into this new environment?

    So, three years down the line and finally I’m finding my feet.  Country people already do a lot of their own sewing.  Out of necessity, they always have.  And the younger generation are now learning that the skills their mothers and grandmothers have are valuable, and will open the door to creativity and the ability to make their own style.

    The most popular of my classes are pattern fittings and sewing classes.  For those that can already sew they come to the classes for help with fitting their sewing patterns.  For the younger ones, they come to learn how to use their sewing machines and begin their first sewing project.


    But fear not, I’m still addicted to teaching everyone pattern making.  So I’ve set up a few three-day intensive training sessions here in Coolamon.  They combine fitting sewing patterns with creative pattern making skills.  Everyone gets the opportunity to learn to fit their own garment blocks, then move onto learn pattern making skills to make their own designs into sewing patterns. 

    So if any members of the ASG fancy learning to how to fit their own dress or trouser blocks, before making their own sewing patterns, I have two upcoming dates for these intensive workshops.  And added to that I’ve put together a special discount code for the use of ASG members only, so you can get a further discount on these fabulous workshops.

    Dress Pattern Intensive – 3 Days in Coolamon – 29-31 MAY

    Trouser Pattern Intensive – 3 Days in Coolamon – 17-19 JULY

    And for all you creative types:

    Fashion Design Intensive – 4 Days in Coolamon – 6-9 JULY

    Keep in mind that each of these intensive workshops can be purchased as individual days.  The discount will still apply to individual days for ASG members only.  

    To claim the discount, log in as a member and go to the Industry Partner Directory.  Search for Studio Faro and click on the name to find the discount code.

    If you’re thinking of travelling out here for these creative events or just for the hell of it, here are a few links that will give you a good idea of what Coolamon has to offer.

    Anita McAdam 


    0419 167 451

  • 6 Feb 2020 9:45 AM | Deleted user

    Meet Kate Marra, an ASG Industry Partner

    I have always loved sewing and creating, garment construction being my main focus. I find overlockers to be an amazing piece of machinery and love stretching the boundaries with what you can do with them.

    In the last two and a half years my career has taken a different direction. I had been a sales representative for quilting products. In January 2018, a store asked me to teach a ‘get to know your overlocker class’ and from that my little business Sew into Overlocking was born. For 12 months I worked full time as a sales rep and teaching on weekends.

    In May 2019 I decided to throw myself into teaching. The response from the classes has been amazing and I really love watching sewists leave the class happy and confident about their overlockers. In 2019 my Saturdays were fully booked and most Sundays booked as well. Now I am available to teach mid-week and am taking bookings for 2020.

    I love teaching and inspiring others to use their overlockers and I can work with any brand. Currently I have three courses I teach, with new projects I’m developing.

    • Learning to Love your Overlocker (a 24-page workbook which covers understanding tension, techniques like sewing corners, circles, stabilizing shoulders, gathering, how to stitch and turn straps and many rolled hem techniques)
    • Flatlocking – Extension one (an extra 10 pages to the Learning to Love course, all about flatlocking, moving into the world of decorative threads, blind hemming, and constructing a notebook cover using the techniques learnt)
    • Coverstitch – Sew much more than just a hem (a workbook designed to help you understand your coverstitch machine and get the most from it, even decorative uses)

    I am currently teaching in various stores in Melbourne, and country Victoria, Albury, Canberra and Queensland in October. I am proud to be an industry partner with the ASG and would love to work with Guild groups more. There is more information on my Facebook and Instagram pages. I can be contacted through those pages or at

  • 5 Feb 2020 10:39 AM | Deleted user

    Meet Robyn Bauer, from Robyn's Learn to Sew Studio in Cairns

    Robyn is a valued Industry Partner and she shares her story with us.

    I was guided and encouraged in my love of sewing from a very early age.  The more interest I showed, the more willing others were to encourage and assist me in my endeavours.  I wanted to be a teacher when I was at primary school but that wasn’t to be, so I followed my passion which is sewing.

    My introduction to a sewing machine was in Year 4.  We were set a project of hand stitching a cushion with the final goal, using the sewing machine. I was hooked, completing the terms assessment in a week.

    At 15, I worked sewing caftans and wrap skirts. I moved on to covering cushions and bed ends, then covering lounges in local naval vessels.

    I joined Bernina club and purchased an overlocker which opened up the window for me to teach applique.

    A family tragedy led me to seek a confidence boost by assisting a designer and learning new skills with fit and pattern making.

    I went to TAFE and joined the Australian Sewing Guild, which has given me so much in knowledge growth. The friendship from like-minded people and camaraderie is second to none.

    Some memorable moments for me were meeting and hosting Connie Crawford in Cairns, and being part of the team which hosted the 2016 ASG Convention.

    I look back at the goal I had as an 8-year old, wishing to be a teacher. I have achieved that, but not in the way I thought, with black board and chalk.  Instead, but much better, teaching with thread, fabric and the interwoven love of sewing and sharing that skill.

  • 5 Feb 2020 10:22 AM | Deleted user

    At the 2015 ASG Convention, held in Brisbane, Dr Veronica Lampkin launched the book “Madame Weigel, the Woman Who Clothed the Australasian Colonies”. The research for the book took many years of dedicated work and culminated in Veronica receiving her Doctorate.

    No members of the Common Threads Group (Boonah, QLD) were able to attend the convention, but we purchased the book. At the Templin Museum in Boonah, where we hold our meetings, there is a small collection of Madame Weigel patterns. After reading the history of this remarkable woman, we decided to each take a pattern and make a garment as an exercise. We used old-style fabrics from deceased estates.

    The exercise was interesting. The patterns, though sound, required a good general knowledge of sewing. The description of the stages of assembly would likely challenge today's younger sewists who have not been taught the skill at school.


    Two of our members attended an Industry Day in Carindale, hosted by the Blue Lite Sewers, where Dr. Lampkin was the guest speaker. Her PowerPoint presentation included an image of a hat. She heard our exclamation “Not that horrible hat!” After the talk we explained that a ready-made copy of that hat was on display in the Templin Museum’s collection. Helen Burke told Veronica about our project and she said she would like to visit us, which she did. Looking through the extensive garment and textile collection, Veronica was able to identify many articles from clothing to household items as being created from Madame Weigel’s patterns. There were enough items for an exhibition – the date was set for September 2017.

    Museum volunteers came on board with cataloguing, display and all the other necessities required. During this preparation phase, locals donated more items, patterns and journals. During this time Veronica endured a serious health issue but, with her usual courage, she cam and viewed the exhibition prior to opening. Her comment – “Craig must see this.” Dr Craig Douglas had been Veronica’s mentor for her PhD.

    Two weeks later Dr Douglas viewed the exhibition and stated it should go on tour. The Guild members were ecstatic! Dr Douglas arranged for the complete Weigel exhibition to go to the Liverpool Museum in Sydney where it opened in July 2018 and was on display for three months. Jacqui Wearmouth, Lyn Gordon and Iris Skinner, from the Common Threads Group, attended the opening.

    When all items were safely returned to Boonah, we were advised the Pine Rivers Museum at Petrie would like to display some of the items. The opening of this exhibition was held on International Women’s Day. To acknowledge Madame Weigel, to whom the women of Australia owe so much, was very special. Again, after three months the loaned collection was returned in excellent condition.

    The collection at the Templin Museum continues to expand. Can you imagine living in the outback or isolated Australian islands and New Zealand and eagerly awaiting the mail which would bring a journal or a pattern?

    We thank Dr Veronica Lampkin for bringing to life the woman who contributed so much from 1878 up to 1969.

    Iris Skinner
    Common Threads Boonah Group

  • 5 Feb 2020 9:19 AM | Deleted user

    On 12 November 2019, 22 members and friends took our annual bus trip to Adelaide from Strathalbyn. We travelled 65 km, first to the State Theatre Costume Store where we had the greatest joy inspecting costumes from many productions performed in Adelaide. These costumes are now available for hire.



    We had a great time turning garments inside out to see how they were made. Some of us did a mini dress up and many wanted to stay much longer than time allowed.

    Next stop was DK Fabrics. Most members were quite familiar with this store and knew before arrival what they were looking for. On to our second stop, a major shopping complex at Unley, for lunch and a very brief look around the shops before venturing down the road to the next fabric store to browse, be enthused and purchase if desired. We also found an amazing Op Shop nearby and many of us spent more time there than looking at fabric.

    Our last stop for the day was at Ferrier Fashion Fabrics.  What a feast for the eyes this was with their beautiful embroidered and embossed fabrics for that extremely elegant evening gown or bridal apparel. The ladies enthusiasm for the fabrics kept the business owner so busy time ran out and we had to round everyone up for the return trip home.

    On 10 December we met again for our annual Christmas lunch, fashion show and display of garments and items made throughout the year. We were so fortunate to have gift vouchers from Knitwit to award to those items voted deserving of a prize.


    (L-R)  Margaret's beading, Narelle's embroidery, Margaret's handbag

    Many members wore garments made during the year and paraded them for judging.

    The group enjoying a shared Christmas Lunch.
    So much lovely food and great company

    Dianne Downer
    Strathalbyn Sewers SA Coordinator

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