Australian Sewing Guild
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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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  • 16 Feb 2020 12:09 PM | Louise Sparrow (Administrator)

    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 | Louise Sparrow (Administrator)

    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 | Louise Sparrow (Administrator)

    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 | Louise Sparrow (Administrator)

    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 | Louise Sparrow (Administrator)

    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

  • 14 Dec 2019 10:12 AM | Louise Sparrow (Administrator)

    West End | Brisbane

    Discover ethical brands and learn about sustainable fashion on this small-group walking tour in Brisbane.

    Join Britt’s List founder and editor Brittanie Dreghorn on a small-group sustainable fashion walking tour in Brisbane. Over 2.5 hours, you will learn about sustainable fashion while being introduced to ethical and locally made brands alongside like-minded people.


  • 3 Dec 2019 10:00 AM | Louise Sparrow (Administrator)

    This is a story of three community groups coming together with a common goal of helping women and men with breast cancer. They are Solaris Cancer Care, The Embroiderers Guild of WA and the Australian Sewing Guild.

    Fay Boyd (member of the Embroiderers Guild), on a visit to Melbourne, was shown a kit for those undergoing breast cancer treatment and recovery by a friend who found it most useful. Permission was given from the originator, with great delight, to bring the concept with some modifications to Perth.

    The “Comfort Kit” consists of a cushion worn under the arm after surgery while in bed or under items of clothing during recuperation and a drainage bottle bag that may be required during treatment. This can also double as a carry bag for any X-ray CDs you may have. Also included is a small gift.

    Fay is a long term volunteer/supporter of Solaris Cancer Care and a member of The Embroiderers Guild of WA (Claremont Group). Karina Barlow is also a member of The Embroiderers Guild of WA (Claremont Group) and the Australian Sewing Guild (Western Suburbs Group). Between them they have a team of volunteers who cut out the patterns and assist with the sewing up of the cushions and drainage bags. Fay then provides the finishing touches to the kits for gifting by the Cancer Co-Ordinator at St.John of God hospital in Subiaco, where they are well received.

    The ladies from the Claremont Group have a cutting out day once or twice a year where they cut out the cushions and drainage bags from donated fabrics. Karina then takes them to the Western Suburbs Group who have a charity day making up the cushions. This whole operation has been going on for three years, providing much needed help to cancer sufferers.

    Many thanks to all for their contribution enabling a free, useful and attractive gift to cancer patients of Western Australia.

  • 3 Dec 2019 10:00 AM | Louise Sparrow (Administrator)

    If you are a regular visitor to the ASG website, you will have discovered a new and colourful site. It was time for a face-lift – we hope you like it.

    All the same information is still available, but we have tried to make it easier for you to access. For example, the resources in All About Sewing/Sewing Skills Library can now be accessed directly from the page. These resources are for members only, so you will be prompted to log in when you click on a link (if you are not already logged in). Likewise, instructions for all the past sew-alongs can be downloaded from the All About Sewing/Sew-Alongs page.

    We’ve added a News page where you will find sewing-related articles, information about upcoming events and other items that might be of interest. This will be the page to go to between the bi-monthly AUSSEW Newsletter.

    There’s also an online store where we sell both physical and digital products. All the Sew-Along instruction packs are in the shop, for non-members to purchase. Remember, as an ASG member, you get these FREE by downloading directly from the Sew-Alongs page.

    Be sure to check out the Industry Partners Directory for any discounts and special offers for ASG members. And, of course, we want to support all these businesses as much as possible.

    Less exciting, but still important, is the information In the Members Only section (under Membership). The Documents and Resources page is where you will find forms and templates, annual reports, ASG policies, insurance certificates of currency, etc. There is also a Frequently Asked Questions page (FAQs) about operational procedures. If you are not sure how to update your personal profile or get a copy of your latest renewal invoice, this is the place to look. Guild officers can use this page to check on procedures for managing a Group or a Region.

  • 3 Dec 2019 10:00 AM | Louise Sparrow (Administrator)

    Thank you to everyone who joined us at the ASG Spring Gathering. It was a fantastic day, despite Melbourne’s very uncooperative weather.

    Our five fitters were kept on their toes! They fitted everyone who booked, squeezed in a few extra people and garments and even measured two ladies. We are looking forward to photos of lovely garments finished by our members.

    Anne Whalley presented very inspiring information and we are expecting more garments to come from our members. Everyone was motivated to start sewing again!

    The fabric swap was a success, even if it proved that some of us just love fabric too much!

    A number of members found gorgeous pieces for their new favourites and some ladies went home with just as much fabric as they brought, in different colours.

    Matt, our mobile sharpener, sharpened over 50 various scissors and a few knifes.

    Tatyana Anderson
    Special Events Coordinator, Victoria



  • 3 Dec 2019 10:00 AM | Louise Sparrow (Administrator)

    ASG member Wendy McKinnon reports on her visit to The Dressmaker Costume Exhibition

    In July, I travelled to The National Film and Sound Archive of Australia, Canberra, to see The Dressmaker Costume Exhibition curated by the indomitable Marion Boyce. This is an exhibition of costumes designed by two Australians, Marion Boyce and Margot Wilson, for the movie The Dressmaker. No movie in recent times has brought home the message more, that we are what we wear!

    The designers enjoyed making costumes for a movie set in the 1950s. What made it more interesting, the movie is set in an Australian Outback town. The costumes had to convey a message, as well as create a character so that, when the actors climbed into those costumes, they became those characters. The storyline is about a Paris-trained dressmaker of couture garments, wronged by the townspeople, home to gain her revenge. As if that wasn’t enough, Tilly transformed the lives of downtrodden, dowdy women and made them magnificent. Using garments – their colour, design lines, silhouettes and glorious fabrics - lives were changed.

    For early scenes, fabrics were aged and stained. Designs, while reflective of the times, were simple, to convey a feeling of hopelessness – these women had lost their souls. Along came the House of Tilly and their world was turned upside down. Of course, with success and acknowledgement comes jealousy. Enter the House of Una, a dressmaker brought in by a malicious Mother-of-the-Groom. Who could forget the dreadful wedding dress that was so, literally, over-inflated with voluminous skirts and tulle that, when the on-set Health & Safety officer approached the actress with his concerns over her falling during her dramatic scene, the actress responded by telling him not to worry – she would bounce! Having made her way to Tilly, she married in a beautiful Grecian inspired wedding dress!

    I was at once fascinated and thrilled to learn that Kate Winslet attended a sewing course before coming to Australia so that she would fully understand sewing terminologies and cutting lines. All the same, she found it a challenge working with such an old machine as the wonderful Singer. Kate worked every day with the designer, involved in the whole process.

    Also of note was how, through the use of pale and lack lustre fabrics, in keeping with Outback colours, characters were portrayed, setting the scene. As a character became stronger and more confident, this was reflected in the stronger colours they wore.

    Accessories also had to be sourced and everything on set had to reflect the 1950s. The hardest part for the designers was sourcing the fabrics of that period, travelling the world in their search. We don’t stop to think how some of the more complicated, and beautiful, fabric weaves are no longer around. These were the hardest to source so they did very well in their quest!

    I thoroughly enjoyed the exhibition and Marion’s curation told the story of how clothes maketh the man/woman; as well as maketh the movie - it was wonderful!

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