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Saturday, 12 December 2015

AUSSEW-Along Photo Gallery

Our very first Sew Along, the Tiny Essentials Tote Bag, was loads of fun.  Although the event is officially finished, instructions for making this bag are still available by clicking the link under Sew Alongs (in the right column).  Here's a sample of what was achieved in 5 days.  Some got the whole bag finished, while others didn't quite make it due to other commitments.

A great effort from all those who took part.  Plans for Sew Along #2 are under way - watch this space!

Monday, 16 November 2015

Win Patterns!

Thinking of joining the AUSSEW Along on 30th November?  Little Moo Designs is donating three (3) PDF patterns (your choice) to a lucky winner.  Check out their pattern shop to see what's on offer. The winner will be chosen by lucky draw.

To be eligible you must submit a photo of your finished bag.  Members of the Facebook Group may post their photos to Facebook.  If you are not on Facebook you can submit your name and photo to

All photos to be submitted by 10th December 2015.  The winner will be drawn on 11th December. Good luck everyone.  Can't wait to see the photos.

Monday, 9 November 2015

Introducing AUSSEW-Along

What is a Sew Along?

A Sew Along is essentially sewing a pattern step by step with a group of others.  The beauty of the online world is that you can join up and do this together, no matter where you are! You can ask questions, share ideas and tips an post pictures.

Our very first Sew Along will be...

The Tiny Essentials Tote Bag, brought to you by Little Moo Designs and Handbag Hardware Australia

Tiny Essentials Tote Bag
The Sew Along will commence 30th November. and will be hosted on this Blog as well as a Facebook Group called AUSSEW-Along.
Each day, for five days, we will be posting steps from the Tiny Essentials Tote Bag Pattern that you need to follow for that day.  Don't worry if you miss a day.  The instructions will stay on the blog and you can catch up as soon as you get back to your sewing room.

Bag Interior

We will not be repeating all the steps in the pattern instructions; you can read those as you sew.  However, we will have mini videos and tips and tricks to help you get the best possible result.  You will be able to ask questions via the Facebook Group (or via this blog, if you are not a Facebook devotee).  An instructor will be monitoring questions but participants are free, and strongly encourage, to help each other as well.  You can also share your work by posting pictures to Facebook.

If you would like to take part this is what you need to do.
  • Purchase the Tiny Essentials Tote Bag pattern at Little Moo Designs.  Use discount code AUSSEW20 for your 20% saving.  This is a downloadable pattern; once purchased, you will receive an email with a link.  Price:  $6.80 AUD
  • Read through the pattern a few times to get familiar with the steps required.
  • Gather all your supplies.  Handbag Hardware Australia are providing Ready-to-Sew kits for this project at a special price.  The kits include netting, interfacing, fleece, piping cord and optional webbing for straps. You will need to provide fabric and zipper.

    Price:  $23 AUD (with webbing), $20 AUD (without webbing), $6 postage

    If you already have some of the supplies and just need a few bits and pieces, Handbag Hardware makes your shopping easy. Use the discount code ASG10 if you are buying supplies separately
  • Join the AUSSEW-Along Facebook Group (optional).  This is a closed group so you will need to request an invitation to join.  OR just follow along on this blog.
  • Get ready for some fun!
Please note this is an intermediate pattern.  Ideally you should have some experience sewing zippers. This Sew Along is suited to people with intermediate level of sewing skills, or confident beginners.

Join the fun and be in the draw to win 3 patterns from Little Moo Designs.  How to enter...

Check back with us on 30th November 2015 when the fun begins!

Kit from Handbag Hardware Australia

Friday, 23 October 2015

The Fashion Revolution

What is the Fashion Revolution?

... a global coalition of designers, academics, writers, business leaders and parliamentarians calling for systemic reform of the fashion supply chain.  
On 24th April each year, Fashion Revolution Day will bring everyone in the fashion value chain together and help to raise awareness of the true cost of fashion, show the world that change is possible, and celebrate all those involved in creating a more sustainable future.
Find out how to get involved at 

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Briar Tee pattern

Megan Nielsen Patterns are excited to announce that their much loved Briar tee and sweater sewing pattern is now available in printed form! Lovers of paper patterns rejoice!

Briar is the stylish alternative to a boring tee or sweater - The pattern features a high scooped front hem, low curved back hem, an includes two lengths, two neckline finishes, three sleeve lengths and two patch pockets.
Version 1 is a short sleeved crop top. Version 2 is a cropped sweater. Version 3 is a standard length tee with patch pocket. Version 4 is a standard length tee with long sleeves. 
The perfect wardrobe builder, this pattern will see you through all seasons and all occasions.

To celebrate the release MNP are offering all newsletter subscribers 15% off the printed version of the Briar pattern for this month only - just use the code BRIARLOVE at checkout!

Follow Megan Nielsen Patterns

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Megan Nielsen Patterns

Megan Nielsen Patterns (ASG Inc. Industry Partner) combines technology and traditional print to bring sewers the best experience possible.  Their designs are contemporary and wearable, instructions are detailed and the patterns are easy to use.

The Megan Nielsen Patterns app (available on iTunes right now and Google Play in June), gives customers access to pattern instructions, important information and help tutorials from their phone or tablet.

Website -

Give this FREE pattern a whirl.  The Veronika skirt is a full circle skirt for woven or stretch fabrics.  The pattern features optional roomy scalloped pockets and two waistband choices.

Sizes XS - XL

Friday, 21 August 2015

FREE Patterns from Craftsy

Everyone loves a sale but what is even better than a sale?   FREE!

Check out Craftsy's Top 20 Free Sewing patterns

Bags, home decor, baby accessories, pincushions and more.  Check out the very easy wrap dress pattern - perfect for warmer weather which is just around the corner (fingers crossed).

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

SA Inspiration Day - Inside Secrets & Finishing Touches

 SA Inspiration Day - Inside Secrets & Finishing Touches

Saturday 29th August 2015
Larraine Jenkins, nationally renowned tutor and passionate about sewing and dressmaking, will present a full day program on how to achieve professional results that take your garment from the home made look to a professional finish. Lots of hints and tips will be given throughout the day. Come and take advantage of Larraine’s experience with techniques she has developed over many years of sewing.

The days presentation will include:

  • the correct interfacing for the garment and for decorative stitching
  • edging tapes-where, why and how to apply
  • how to achieve perfect topstitching
  • tips for perfect piping
  • collars- perfect points and tips on interfacing

Larraine will bring along garments for display and have examples of techniques discussed in the class. Also, the tapes, interfacings and other sewing aids discussed will available for sale on the day. Please visit the Australian Sewing Guild website  or click here.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

RSL Beanies and scarves for ADF serving overseas.

Project goal: To provide a knitted or crocheted BEANIE and an INFINITY SCARF for each serving member on deployment in the Middle East and similar areas.

There are currently approximately 600 ADF in Iraq and 400 ADF in Afghanistan at any one time and these numbers can fluctuate.    It can be bitterly cold in these areas as well as at sea, so let us help keep them warm.  We aim to send our ADF members something made by people at home, so they know we care about them and appreciate their service.

 Project aim:    To gather our knitting, crocheting and sewing supporters and volunteers from various sources to provide at least 1000 beanies and scarves to be sent to our deployed ADF members in time for Christmas 2015. 

Preferred colours are camouflage, dark navy, dark grey, charcoal, black, brown, khaki – or a combination of some to make camouflage. However, the “troops” will mostly wear the gear when in civvies or relaxing, so the colours can be expanded, though sensible as we really have to think about the sensitive conditions our ADF may be exposed too.  Colours that don’t show the dirt would be preferred.  

Knitting patterns:
12 ply rib beanie
8 ply double knit beanie
8 ply double knit beanie alternative
8 ply rib beanie

Scarves can be made of fleecy fabric, dimensions 12-15cm wide by 120-130 long. Currently they have more beanies than scarfs.

 Time Frame:   To have at least 1000 sets completed by 25th November 2015 so that they can be gathered and posted before the Australia Post cut-off date approximately 4th December.

For further information contact - 

Sharon Harford
Centenary Program Manager
The Returned & Services League of Australia WA Branch Incorporated
((08) 9287 3706
7:  (08) 9287 3732
+  PO Box 3023, EAST PERTH, WA 6892

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Quick and Easy Projects

Do you need a sewing fix but don't have a lot of spare time?  Try these delightful projects provided by Handbag Hardware Australia. (10% discount for ASG members when you shop online). Quick and easy, they make great gifts.

Instructions for Aunt Martha bag

Instructions for Key Fob

Monday, 6 July 2015

Taming Your Overlocker

by in2Mode Fashion Design College

Have you noticed that woven fabrics are increasingly being replaced by stretch fabrics? They are comfortable, suit our casual lifestyles but… are harder to sew with domestic sewing machines, which makes overlocking machines the answer for the home sewer.

The greatest asset of the overlocker is the fact that it not only creates an excellent quality seam, but also provides a professional cut to the edges of the sections of material that are being joined. Its speed also makes the overlocking machine very desirable for both home and plant use, making it easier to achieve a quality product in a shorter period of time, with seams being sewn in one pass that sews and finishes the seam to prevent fraying.

Another advantage of the overlocker is the use of loopers as the source of thread for the sewing project. Unlike the standard lockstitch model, it doesn’t make use of bobbins. Instead, the loopers allow the sewing machine to feed threads for multiple thread cones into the needle mechanism, making it is easier to contain the edges of the material in the seam and creating a more finished look to the project.

However, overlocking machines use multiple threads and may need more than one tension. Like all things, it is easy when you know how it works, but you may need help to learn the basic techniques and also how to read and understand the sewing jargon before you can make the most of your machine.

On 20th and 27th September 2015, we’ll be running the “Taming Your Overlocker” course in Sydney, which gives an introduction to overlocker techniques and is designed to give students the confidence to use their machine to its full potential. Visit or call us on (02) 9449 1450 for more information.

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Interview with Madonna Doyle, our Castaway to Couture Winner!

Madonna Doyle was the winner of our recent Castaway to Couture competition and she kindly agreed to answer some questions we fired at her. As you'll read, Madonna has been sewing for years but is new to the ASG, so let's give her a friendly welcome! Take it away Madonna........

Growing up in a large family, our clothes were usually handmade, hand-me-downs or from a Red Cross shop which was conveniently located near mum’s work. Both my mother and grand-mother were very crafty with their alterations to make them fit and look great. From an early age, I was taught to use a sewing machine. I used to think when I was older I would just buy all new clothes and never have to alter anything again. But these mass-produced items are made for an ‘average’ size, so I find myself back behind my Bernina doing alterations. Judith Turner recognised that there was a gap in the market on how to alter clothes and has written a sensational book: ‘The Sewing Bible for Clothes Alteration’. It’s filled with easy to read instructions and great illustrations. I was fortunate to win it and I recommend it for any sewing enthusiast.

I’m fortunate that my family and close friends know the value of shopping at Red Cross shops, and living on the Central Coast of NSW and working in Sydney, I am never far from a Red Cross Store. Red Cross offers a diverse range of items, the quality is high and the prices are affordable. When I saw the Australian Sewing Guild stand at the Stitches and Craft Show at Rosehill earlier this year, I read with interest their brochure advertising the Red Cross Australia Castaway to Couture competition. I immediately started thinking of ideas and came up with the idea to make a jumpsuit from a nice pair of dress trousers. I found the perfect pair with enough material in the legs to make the bodice at the Red Cross store at Gordon, NSW. I measured my ‘model’ (my 12yo niece) and drafted a pattern. The only tricky part was the Peter Pan collar as I was pretty tight for material. At the same time I also bought a salmon colour dress to convert into a jumpsuit for my model’s little sister (my 9yo niece). Over two nights I made the two outfits and like my nieces, I was very happy with the results.

Some of my favourite up-cycling projects include making shirts from a patterned sheet, making sock creatures from an assortment of socks, and recently making a ball dress from a curtain. After watching the recent series ‘The Great British Sewing Bee’ I am inspired to create more projects.

Prior to visiting the Australian Sewing Guild stall at the Stitches at Craft Show at Rosehill earlier this year, I was not familiar with the Australian Sewing Guild. As an avid sewer, I am keen to explore the benefits of being an ASG member and to meet others with the same interests.

I have been sewing for +30 years and I sew because I LOVE it! I have crafted a wide range of items and love coming up with new ideas each Christmas. Some of my favourite items I have made include wedding dresses, bridesmaid dresses, flower girl dresses, party-shirts for the male bridal party, graduation outfits, and christening gowns. I love the beautiful fabrics, trims and embellishments. I have made numerous regular items (dresses, pants, shirts, etc), accessories (laptops bags, wallets, tablet covers, etc) and Manchester (curtains, cushion covers, etc) over the years. I also enjoy quilting and have recently completed my first free machine quilting project. I use my sewing machine to embellish home-made cards and enjoy decorating them with fabric and trims. Check out my facebook page “Milo and Me” to see some of my creations.

I most often get described as very creative and generous. I love sewing for family, friends and their friends. If I am making something as a request, I usually ask for money to cover my expenses; it’s more for the love of giving than being a financial reward. Sometimes however, I get unusual requests and it is difficult to say ‘No’. I recently came across an article on-line which changed my thought process and has helped me immensely. If I cannot say ‘Yes’ with genuine pleasure, then there are other options. Some examples are:

  • you can say that you only sew for gifts for family and friends and they need to work their way onto your Christmas list; 
  • you can say that you do not have time and offer them the details of a local tailor / seamstress; you could offer to help / teach so they can learn to do it; 
  • or (Drumroll for my favourite response) that your time is valuable and come to a barter arrangement where their time is returned (eg they could offer their time to do some cleaning, your ironing, gardening, prepare meals, child minding, etc). It’s a great system and can be applied to any task where you are asking for a favour.

I also enjoy sewing for charity. After +20yrs in the military, I am now settled and have reached a point in my life where I have time to contribute to the community. Time is a valuable resource and to donate it to charity is very rewarding. Consider what you can do for your community; one day you, or someone you love, may need a little help.

With the availability of pictures and information on-line, it is easy to spend hours surfing the net, filling our wish list with things to make / try. I am looking forward to spending time reading through the projects on the ‘Genie Centre Magic Circle’ and watching their video tutorials.

A big Thank you to Madonna for sharing with us! We look forward to seeing more of your creations!

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Ava & Neve Liberte Courtiers

Autumn/Winter Liberty Arts Fabric release…here’s a sneak preview of
what’s to come and what will be featured in this month’s
A & N Liberty Society
A & N Liberty Society will consists of 10 new release fabrics.
We just couldn’t choose a balanced mix between the new and classics
so we decided let’s just do it all.
A & N Liberty Fat 1/16 Society – not too late to join
$30 gets you 10 x 1/16ths every month for local and international
(postage included)

No obligation – cancel at any time
An economical way to build your stash and quench your love of Liberty Fabrics

Friday, 26 June 2015

NSW Industry Day 19th September 2015

A fabulous day, not to be missed. Guest presenters, demonstrations, fabric sales, mini fashion parade, prizes to be won. Full details available on the website under Events, Industry Days. Open to members and non-members. Book early to avoid disappointment.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Exhibition: Love Desire & Riches - The Fashion of Weddings

Love Desire & Riches: The Fashion of Weddings is a collection of over 50 famous and rarely seen wedding gowns and accessories.

The collection spans over 200 years of fashion, including pieces from leading Australian designers, rare and beautiful pieces from the National Trust’s own collection to gowns made famous through their connection with iconic film, television and literature.

The backdrop for this exquisite exhibition is Australia’s oldest public building, Old Government House in Parramatta, Sydney, itself listed as a World Heritage Site and available as a very special wedding venue.

The exhibition tours to Sydney following its hugely popular showing at Ripponlea House and Gardens in Melbourne and Barwon Park Mansion in regional Victoria, presented by National Trust Victoria in 2014.

To book tickets, sign up of special events or just find out more,  visit the Love Desire & Riches website.

Monday, 25 May 2015

Castaway to Couture. And the winners are............

We can't believe Castaway to Couture has come to an end! We have been thrilled and excited day after day to see what amazing things people have made! The transformation, thrift and shear genius has kept us up late a at night talking and marveling.

Finally we have our winners by popular vote, CONGRATULATIONS!!!! WINNERS!!!! Thank you to all who entered you are an inspiration to all who sew or aspire to!  We are listing all of the amazing entries below so your fabulous creations can be seen by all. Please enter again next year and make sure you get everyone you know to vote!! That's how it works! And thank you to those to shared the competition or came by to vote.

Importantly, the ASG thanks Red Cross for its wonderful collaboration. Two great Australian icons coming together to raise awareness of how refashioning can benefit everyone involved both financially and with personal reward.

Please take some time to scroll through all the wonderful entries, you'll find the name of the entrant and what they had to say about their entry below the photo they sent in. The entries are listed in no particular order.
Elizabeth Craggs - From a simple party dress to a glamorous evening top - not a bad transformation for only a couple of $ and a little bit of time. Basically everything is made from the original dress except for the floral back insert.

Dianne Jensen - Two men's shirts plus one from the rag bag were turned into a blouse for my daughter.

Lucianne Lewin - dull dowdy coat to trendy trench dress

Elizabeth Napper - Redesigned by Liz

Abi Salomen -Pretty in print - an oversized dress, now a stylish tulip pencil skirt!

Julie Livingstone - Issey Miyake does Business

Helen Dalton - Skirt to dress and hat

Anita Smith - Amazing what you can do with leftovers - Marcy Tilton puzzle vest Vogue 8954

Anita Smith - Old fashioned dress to wearable tops and necklace

Anita Smith - From yuck mustard to wearable update.

Courtney Clark

Carol Pegum - Buy one skirt, chop it up and make a shirt. Sew matching beads to the side seam of a pair of pants and bingo a new outfit for $19 !

Kylie Hay - Boxy pinafore and man's shirt into vest and pencil skirt - strike a pose!

Kylie Hay - From Frumpy to fabulous, maternity top and dated skirt into cowl neck top and curve loving pencil skirt

Christine Watts -Retro jacket from two old jumpers

Wendy Hawthorne - Six Shirts and a dress

Kirsty Mackenzie - A Perfect Little Librarian outfit

Gail Lyle - It looks like I just cut the skirt off the dress but I actually cut four panels and four yoke pieces which I rematched to make this lined skirt to fit me (Size 14 Vogue pattern) from a voluminous size 16 dress. It was a quality garment and lovely fabric to sew with.

Lyn Mateer - Halter neck dress to smart after 5 skirt

Helen Noakes - Oversized 80's to boiled and restyled

Kirsty MacKenzie -Funking up some Class

Mandy Bradley - Old denim and halter top becomes a ruffle party dress.

Louise Sparrow -Over-sized jacket turned into a skirt with personality

Gabriele Bell -Two items from one

Gabriele Bell - From frump to sass
Wendy McKinnon - Take one red mens suit & make a handbag from lapels, mixed with another navy/red check suit for contrast, plus a second smaller bag from one sleeve.  Add fringing from purchased fabric selvedge, 2nd hand buttons, lining from suits and pockets from inside & outside suit!
Helen Dalton - Helen Dalton

How creative are these contestants! It just makes you want to nip out to a Red Cross Shop and see what fires up your creativity. In fact click here for a list of Red Cross Shops near you. Thank you again to everyone who partcipated by sending in an entry, sharing a paper flyer or sharing online and all those who voted. It's been so much fun!