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Sunday, 11 December 2016

Voodoo Rabbit Fabric - ASG Industry Partner

Voodoo Rabbit Fabrics is one of the ASG's newest Industry Partners! Below, Voodoo Rabbit owner Kylie introduces her business!

Like a lot of you, I have been sewing since I was very young. As I got older I developed a taste for more unusual fabric designs such as the large conversational prints from Alexander Henry Fabrics. I noticed that the fabrics that I wanted for sewing dresses and bags was becoming harder and harder to get in Australia. I was sure that I couldn't be the only person trying to source these fabrics in Australia so I went out on a limb and Voodoo Rabbit Fabric was born in 2009 to fill this gap in the market.

In addition to cool, funky, fabrics Voodoo Rabbit Fabric has a large selection of bag patterns from Emmaline Bags, You Sew Girl, Two Pretty Poppets, Patterns by Annie, Sew Sweetness and many other popular designers.

Voodoo Rabbit Fabric has one of the largest ranges of bag hardware in Australia so you will find all of the hardware and stabilisers required to make stunning professional-looking bags!

New patterns, bag hardware and of course fabrics are introduced regularly. An exciting recent addition to our fabric range is cork fabric - created by adhering thin slices of natural cork onto a fabric backing, it is similar to leather but much easier to sew with - making it brilliant for making bags and purses with. All of our products are available on the website or you can come in and browse our exciting range at your pleasure, oops, leisure!


Voodoo Rabbit Fabric 
Phone: 0422 215 053

Showroom: Shop 1 / 466 Ipswich Rd Annerley QLD 4103
Open: Tuesday - Friday 9.30am - 4pm, and Saturday 10am - 4pm
Closed: Sunday - Monday and Public Holidays

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Castaway to Couture

Castaway to Couture is an exciting, national re-fashioning competition, open to the public!
This competition is brought to you by the Australian Sewing Guild Ltd. and major sponsor Baby Lock Australia.
May is National Sewing month and to celebrate we once again bring you Castaway to Couture! 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 re-fashion it into something new.
·         Take photos during the construction stage and of the finished garment.
·         Submit photos to with a short description (maximum 500 words) of the design inspiration, construction process and garment purpose.  Photos will be posted to the ASG Blog.
·         Ask your friends to vote for you and vote for your favourite re-fashions.

Go to the ASG website for conditions of entry, rules, judging criteria and entry forms.


Judges’ choice
Viewers’ choice
Baby Lock Eclipse DX Overlocker valued at $1599

·         Lutterloh Pattern Making System, valued at $180
·         Gift voucher from Brave Fabrics, valued at $75

·         The Pattern Drafter, valued at $250
·         Spotlight or Lincraft voucher, winner’s choice (donated by Chillipop), valued at $250
·         Gift voucher from Thread Den, valued at $50
·         Gift Voucher from Zebra Fabrics, valued at $150
·         Gift voucher from Thread Den, valued at $50

Most dramatic change to a SINGLE garment
·         1-year Sewing With Style program with image consultant Anne Whalley, valued at $375

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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.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Zebra Fabrics - ASG Industry Partner

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

Zebra Fabrics is an independent Australian online retailer of knit fabrics, focussing on natural fibres, primarily cotton jersey knits. Fabrics are sourced both locally and Europe. We stock plain and over 26 colours, and a variety of lycra jersey which is in stock most of the time.

Our range covers, whimsical, fun and fashion.

Looking for something special for high intensity sporting pursuits, we carry Supplex fabrics. Try one of our patterns from the Jalie Sewing Patterns from Canada who specialise in knit patterns.


Margo Parkyn
Ph: 0439 574540

Monday, 23 May 2016

One Thimble - ASG Industry Partner

One Thimble is one of the ASG's newest Industry Partners!  They are also the sponsor of the Crystal white shirt sew-along.  Thanks Jen! Read more about the One Thimble product below!

One Thimble is a digital sewing magazine which is produced quarterly. It is compiled and edited by sewist Jen Kennedy in Cairns, but has contributors from all around the world.

One Thimble is delivered as a PDF which you download to your computer or mobile device. Each issue has 10+ PDF sewing patterns ranging from patterns for children’s clothing to quilts and toys and everything in between. The patterns can be printed out on a regular home printer and the tutorial steps are included in One Thimble.

Each issue of One Thimble also includes 20+ articles. The articles cover a range of topics from sewing techniques & sewing stories to advice for those running a handmade business. Each issue is jam-packed with inspiration and information to help self-taught sewists gain confidence and perfect new skills.

The May 2016 issue is our 11th issue. It is our winter issue and the theme for the issue is “Urban Jungle”. The patterns for this issue are
  • a Women’s Hoodie Vest (size xs-xxl); 
  • a sleeveless button through dress (kids size 1-12); 
  • a party dress with double flounce skirt (size nb-12); 
  • a jumper with a cowl collar (kids size 1-12);
  • a pattern for free motion appliques to be put onto a hood (fox, giraffe, panda); 
  • a hooded tunic/dress (kids size 1-12); 
  • long pants (kids size 1-12); 
  • baby shoes (size nb-18months); 
  • a quilt, cross-stitch, felt puzzle animal game and soft baby balls. 
The articles include trending fabrics, handmade gifts, interview with ASG, review of the Brother Cut & Scan machine, getting sewing for boys “right”, sew a softie day, sewing with laminated fabrics, how to install double capped rivets, how to create a double pull zipper, how to upcycle, how to sew knit fabrics on a sewing machine, how to freezer paper stencil, how to make quilted bunting, how to make a rag quilt, how to sew a rag quilt panel into clothing, how to add a strap to a hat, marketing your online business, how to design a website and how to use facebook groups for your creative business.

Contact details


Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Cairns Create It - ASG Industry Partner

Cairns Create It, based (unsurprisingly) in Cairns (Qld) are one of the ASG's newest Industry Partners!  Read their introduction below!

Cairns Create It (formerly Craft Centre) has Cairns largest range for all your creative needs. We have the most comprehensive range of paint and art materials for beginners to professionals.  Specialising In quality cotton fabrics for quilting and dressmaking, we also stock haberdashery including threads for embroidery, yarn for knitting and crochet.

We have a great range of papers for paper-craft, cards and scrap booking. We also have beautiful beads and findings for jewellery making, and lots of bits and pieces to create with and stuff to keep the kids amused.

Send Cairns Create It an email to join their email list and/or for details of workshops and classes.


Address: Showground Shopping Centre, 157 Mulgrave Rd, Cairns.
Phone: (07) 4031 3024

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Sckafs Fabrics - ASG Industry Partner

Sckafs Fabrics, based in Indooroopilly (Qld) are one of the ASG's newest Industry Partners!
Read their introduction below!

Sckafs Fabrics is a family owned business established in 1979 and is still Brisbane’s leading destination for fabrics & haberdashery. We offer a wide selection of high quality & fashion forward bridal, evening & daywear fabrics. We also carry an extensive range of craft fabrics, haberdashery, trims, embellishments, sewing patterns & the biggest range of buttons you have ever seen which are sourced from all around the globe, thousands in fact! (YES, button heaven).

At Sckafs we pride ourselves on our high level of customer service & skills and our expertise & sewing knowledge is second to none so you’re guaranteed to be in good hands.

Come visit us in-store, we are conveniently located on level 1 at Indooroopilly shopping centre, Brisbane QLD - just a 10 minute drive from Brisbane CBD.  If you live abroad and can’t get to us, not to worry we do mail orders!

Like us on Facebook to stay up-to-date with the latest arrivals, promotions & sales in-store.


Phone: (07) 3378 8591

Australian Sewing Guild members receive a 10% discount on all full priced fabrics in-store all year round!

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Sewing in Queensland!

by Colleen Whittaker, Queensland State Liaison Officer, Australian Sewing Guild.

With this vast state in Australia, it takes hours to travel the state of Queensland by car. I am always amazed when people say "You are in Brisbane! Mackay is not that far away!".  When you sit down and think about the distance, yes it is far away; a day and half drive in a car, and Townsville and Cairns are two days away by car!

In my new role as SLO, distance means I can't visit as many groups as I would like, especially as I work full time and getting time off work is not always easy.  However, I am endeavouring to contact everyone by email as a starting point! 

Through my contact with neighbourhood groups, I have pulled together items of interest - things happening in groups all over Queensland in the near future! 

Sew Much 2 Sew (my group, based in Albany Creek) is meeting at a Community Hall in Strathpine as we outgrew our Hall at Albany Creek. The group recently held a sewing display at the Albany Creek Library about the past and present of sewing . For the month of April the group is having Sue Marriott who is a Style and Image Consultant and will be working with the members who wish to know their colours on the day.

Sue is adjusting the fit of this dress that Pam Gravenor bought along to the workshop. We shortened the sleeves took the collar away etc.  Pam will go away and do some unpicking to revamp her dress to wear again.
For the month of June, the Bulimba Belles NGC will be sewing for their charity which helps out women suffering from domestic violence.

Sew Much More at The Gap had Martyn Smith’s Pant Fitting Workshop in April. A large group of people attended the day, and learnt many skills and tips for future pants making. There are a few of members participating in the Guild's Castaway to Couture competition.

The Winter Bribie Island Retreat is on again in June this year, registrations are now open. This is a very popular weekend and all the ladies and gentlemen love going to share and work together on their various projects. It is a weekend away from home, where you are waited on by the ladies of the CWA who do the wonderful catering. All the attendees have a great weekend away.

Cairns are holding the ASG's Annual Convention from 10 to 13 October at the Hilton Hotel in Cairns. Please check the website for details on registrations. The challenge this year is “Put a Wrinkle in it”, check the website for further details. There are plenty of categories for all attendees to enter. We strongly encourage a large number of entries, your imagination can run wild.

Queensland has a number of regions, Brisbane North and, South, Darling Downs, Far North Queensland, Gold Coast and Suncoast. Brisbane South Region is holding an Industry Day on 30 July 2016. Plans are well underway for a superb day out for both Brisbane North and South Members. Keep checking the website for further details.

Want to learn more about the ASG in Queensland? 
Email Colleen at or visit the ASG website for more! 

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Me Too Please - ASG Industry Partner

Me Too Please is one of the ASG's newest industry partners! Learn more about them below:

Me Too Please stock the largest selection of Mexican Oilcloth in Australia, with over 150 prints in stock in our warehouse in Sydney. All our oilcloth is sourced direct from the factory in Mexico which has been manufacturing this range for over 50 years. Ben and Lisa Joseph have been importing Mexican Oilcloth for 10 years, and are delighted to offer professional makers and crafters alike, the opportunity to work with this gorgeous and practical fabric.
Mexican Oilcloth is perfect for any application that benefits from a waterproof or wipe clean surface. Think beyond the traditional tablecloth to beach bags, aprons, baby change mats, bbq covers, the possibilities are endless. Mexican Oilcloth is famous for it's vibrant colours and prints, it's easy to sew with, fantastic for upholstery (highchairs, bar stools, kitchen chairs). You can let your imagination run riot.

Me Too Please also stocks a great range of gifts, synthetic leathers and unique hand loomed cottons. They can supply small or large orders quickly, so you can get your craft on and your project underway!

Contact Details

Address: 2-4 Nelson Street, Annandale, NSW
Phone: (02) 9519 2398
Facebook: Me Too Please 

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Buttonmania - ASG Industry Partner

Kate Boulton of Buttonmania joined the Australian Sewing Guild Inc. after visiting Perth over the Christmas holidays and taking along her special vintage buttons for sale. Kate’s very happy to be an Industry Partner and get to know more about Guild members and what they are looking for in terms of buttons, buckles, and belts.

Kate bought her first button business 21 years ago and she is as passionate about buttons now as she was then!

Since then she has steadily increased her range including mostly European, high-end buttons (including vintage buttons) but also has budget-priced buttons for craft projects.

Kate’s bespoke, handmade covered buttons and belts have graced the dresses, suits and jackets of some of Australia’s best-known designers of haute couture, bridal gowns, ballet, theatre and movie costumes.

Buttonmania buttons and belts featured on many ABC production costumes, including Doctor Blake and the Miss Phryne Fisher Mysteries.

Her work continues to complete many award-winning outfits. Kate's knowledge and eye for detail are widely appreciated by her customers. Based in the renowned Nicholas Building in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD, Kate also has 45 years of experience with dressmaking and has a passion for crazy patchwork quilting. Kate enjoys the challenges that her customers bring to her.

Contact details

Level 2, Nicholas Building
Corner Swanston Street & Flinders Lane
Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia
Tues to Fri - 9am to 5pm
Saturday - 10am to 3pm
Phone: +61 (0)3 9650 3627
Instagram: #buttonmaniac

Company facts

  • Buttonmania started by proprietor, Kate Boulton, on March 26, 1995.
  • Over 4 million buttons in stock!
  • Thousands of genuine vintage buttons.
  • Largest button selection in Melbourne CBD.
  • Mostly European, high-end buttons (including vintage buttons) but also has budget-priced buttons for craft projects.
  • Kate’s bespoke, handmade covered buttons and belts have graced the dresses, suits and jackets of some of Australia’s best-known designers of haute couture, bridal gowns, ballet, theatre and movie costumes.
  • Buttonmania buttons and belts featured on many ABC production costumes, including Doctor Blake and the Miss Phryne Fisher Mysteries.
  • Kate has 45 years of dressmaking experience.
  • Easy access via Public Transport: One block north on Swanston St from the Flinders St Station

Monday, 28 March 2016

Vicky's first impressions of the Guild

Hi, my name is Vicki Burns and I am a new member of the Australian Sewing Guild Inc.

I was introduced to the organisation two weeks ago when I was looking for a sewing course to do in my local area, Hornsby, NSW.  I Googled sewing teachers and a few names popped up so I chose one and made a phone call to a lovely lady by the name of Wendy. She explained to me that she was not doing classes at the moment but would I like to come along and join in with some of the ladies from the Australian Sewing Guild, Cherrybrook group?  Well, I jumped at the chance and thought this would be a great way to meet people and talk about everything sewing.

I met the Cherrybrook ladies the very next day and they were delightful and welcomed me with open arms, there were all different age groups there but there was one thing we all had in common, sewing!!

Wendy told me all about the Aussew website and all the different activities the Guild holds, so after my morning with the ladies I went home and got online and had a look at the the website and I found it so easy to use and everything she said was there, dates, days and times of activities, projects, newsletters and much more.  It was then I decided to join the Australian Sewing Guild.  I feel the Guild is a great organisation.

I am looking forward to joining in and having fun with my new sewing family, the Australian Sewing Guild and have already volunteered to go on the morning tea roster and to help at the upcoming NSW Industry Day as a volunteer.

Thanks for sharing your experience, Vicky! 
If you're interested in finding a sewing group in your local area, visit the ASG website to search for groups  or get in touch with the State Liaison Officer nearest you!

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Tasmania sews for Goroka Hospital, PNG

During 2015, the Tasmanian Region undertook a charity project to assist the Neo Natal Nurses Inc in their quest to support Goroka Hospital and the Eastern Highlands Province in Papua New Guinea.

In the Province, women have often walked many kilometres to get to hospital for the birth of their baby, often bringing only a rug and one nightie for their babies and a nightie for themselves. Nights can be cold and generators unreliable and babies, particularly premature ones, need warmth.

The aim was to make sheets, bunny rights and nighties for the babies and to send some pants for the mothers. All Groups undertook to get behind the project. Logistics prevented one day where the whole Region joined together and so each Group worked individually and the result of their efforts were brought together at our Annual General Meeting.  

Nighties had to be made to a pattern provided by the Neo Natal Nurses Inc, with ties on one shoulder to allow easy access for tubes etc. in these little people and flannelette was the fabric of choice.

Everyone beavered away at their various tasks, with some Groups using a production line method and all having a fabulous time. Not only was it fun to get together for a common goal, it was rewarding to feel we were providing help where it was needed. Support was also given by some knitting friends who contributed colourful singlets and hats.

The count is in - the end result was 22 singlets, 126 nighties, 136 sheets/bunny rugs and 11 hats. Well done to everyone concerned!!

Fiji Cyclone Appeal

Echidna Sewing (ASG Industry Partner) have put out the call.

Help Us Fundraise For This Worthy Cause!

We are all aware of the devastating category 5 cyclone that struck Fiji on the 20th February, causing severe damage across the islands, forcing over 50,000 people to shelter in evacuation centres. On that day, more than 90% of structures were destroyed in some of the hardest hit areas, with approximately 10,000 people left homeless and requiring urgent shelter and assistance.

When we think of Fiji we see images of white sandy beaches, palm trees and beautiful resorts.  There's no doubt that Fiji will recover back to it's full glory in time, but for now the people of Fiji desperately need our help.

In partnership with our good friend John Deer from Adorable Ideas, we would like to help fundraising efforts by offering this lovely Vintage Beach Embroidery Design Pack for only $10 (normally $59) with 100% of the sale (excluding GST) donated to the Bartercard Charity Foundation's Fiji Cyclone Appeal. It's a small way for us to help a very worthy cause.

If you would like to join in, simply purchase this downloadable design pack today.

Monday, 7 March 2016

Introducing the Locals: Southern Suburbs Neighbourhood Group (WA)

The Southern Suburbs Neighbourhood Group was formed approximately 12 years ago with the assistance of the WA Regional Organiser.  Our initial meetings were held at Bullcreek Primary School until we moved to our current venue, Farrington House in Leeming.  We are thankful that many of our foundation members are still with the group! 

Our group has been able to develop support systems that encourage all members of the group to share in determining programs for the year.  All members are encouraged to either organise an event for group members e.g. a visit to the local Polytechnic to have lunch and buy fabric, or to participate in charity sewing.  Other members opt to present a topic or strategy related to sewing.  Every second month we have sewing Saturday when we bring in our machines and participate in a workshop. 

One of the most enjoyed and enjoyable aspects of our meetings is Show and Tell – over the years this has been a source of laughter, admiration and inspiration.  This year we have added What’s Your Problem to this so that members can bring items in when they need help, perhaps with fitting or adjustments to ensure quality garments.  We take pride in our sewing and several members have entered our local agricultural show with great success.

We enjoy the opportunity to socialise and members can be relied upon to support others when necessary.  Members from other groups are always welcomed and new members are encouraged to be part of our group.

Thanks to Helen Hawthorne for taking the time to introduce us to the Southern Suburbs Neighbourhood Group!  

 To find more information about the Southern Suburbs Neighbourhood Group, or to attend an upcoming meet, email, or find the group on the ASG website -

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Sewing in Victoria - Join Us!

The state of Victoria has a number of Neighbourhood groups divided into three regions:- Northern Melbourne; South East Melbourne and South Western Victoria. The largest concentration of groups is in metropolitan Melbourne but there are groups in Geelong, Werribee and Bendigo.

An advantage of belonging to a group is the “hands-on” help one can receive in skill building and solving fitting and construction questions or problems. New techniques can be trialled, discussed and enhanced. Members are always willing to assist others with any question or problem. The wide skill base within a group is invaluable for support and help.

Groups cover any number of sewing related activities: dressmaking, machine embroidery, other forms of embellishment, and charity sewing for various organisations. Many charities require assistance with sewing items and groups are willing to volunteer to fill the need. Many groups have sewn for the children’s hospital, breast cancer support groups and for premature babies in intensive care, just to name a few. Some groups also hold fundraising activities to support charities.

Outside the square - a Melbourne based member who also belongs to a Doll Making organisation has used her needle skills, both hand and machine, to make some outstanding dolls. Her work has won her “Doll of the Year” for 2015. Just an example of where your skills can take you if you have the desire to focus outside what is considered “normal” sewing activities.

Sewing covers a wide spectrum of needle work and every genre is catered for within the guild. Along with learning new skills you will also form new friendships and enjoy the comradery that exists in all groups, each meeting is “social” as well as working.

Annual retreats are organised and members love to get away for two or three days to sew without the interruptions of daily home-life. Who could not love not worrying about meals and washing dishes, etc., a great way to produce as much (or little) as you wish.

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

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Meet Our Members: Noela's Story

One of the highlights of the Australian Sewing Guild Convention is the Sewing Challenge, which is open to entries from all Guild members.  At the 2015 Convention, Noela McKernan was the overall points winner, and winner of the Debutante’s prize!  We had a chat with with Noela to learn more about her sewing journey, and her involvement in the Guild.  Enjoy!

Why did you join the Guild?  I saw the ASG stand at one of the craft shows and went to see what it was all about. I discovered that my closest group met in the Community Hall in the estate near me which is less than 5mins from where I live.

Which group do you belong to? Buttons & Bows, Kallangur, Queensland.

What is the best thing about your group? The friendships I have gained.

When did you start sewing? While still in primary school. My mum sewed for us on her treadle machine and I would sit and watch her and cut up fabric and make dolls clothes by hand. At that stage she would not allow me to use the machine.

Who taught you to sew?  I first learnt to sew while at primary school in the late 50s early 60s. We attended Windsor State School in Brisbane for domestic science classes on a weekly basis. The first thing I remember sewing was the sampler we did there - it was all handwork - starting with learning the basics. I continued my sewing adventure at High School where I really gained the love of sewing. We were taught the basics of pattern drafting and garment construction. I can remember our mother telling my sister and myself that now we had learnt to sew she would no longer make our clothes for us. Luckily for me I enjoyed sewing and was pretty good at it. And by this time we finally had an electric machine.

Throughout the years I made the majority of my clothes for work. Once my daughter Michelle started ballet, the costumes required for concerts gave me another avenue to enhance my sewing skills. There were tutus and costumes of all descriptions to make over the years. Once high school came around it became time to start making formal dresses. For some years while still working I was also into making wedding and bridesmaids dresses. All this type of sewing is what increases your knowledge, skills and abilities.

I was never afraid to say yes I can do that and then hope all would turn out as expected – fortunately it did.

How did you improve your skills?
  • I attended TAFE learning advanced pattern making and garment construction
  • I had lessons for sewing with stretch fabrics, I attended other workshops and I practiced what I had learnt.
  • By checking how the garments (especially the better designers) in shops were constructed as in those days the manufacturing was still done in Australia
  • Books were a great source of reference and still are.
  • The internet is now a good source of learning and I have enrolled in some Craftsy lessons
  • I don’t limit myself to just dressmaking. I also attend craft classes learning different techniques along the way. With sewing you are always learning.
What is your best tip or technique to pass on to other ASG members?  Enjoy what you do. Never be afraid of trying something new. Be open to new ideas. Remember there is no right or wrong way to sew something. Do what works for you. Try to have your garments looking just as good on the inside as they do on the outside.  I love to do piping and include this in my sewing as much as possible and have done so for many years.  Invisible zips are just the best as they give your garment a nice finish.

What advice would you give a young person new to sewing? The best advice I would give a young person is:
  • Take lessons and learn the basics and build your knowledge from there.
  • Never be afraid to try something different.
  • Ask questions if you don’t know how to do something. Join a sewing / craft group - there can be a wealth of knowledge amongst members in these groups and people are only too happy to help.
  • Use the Internet to your advantage - there is a lot of information out there today.
What advice would you give to anyone entering or thinking about entering the next Convention challenge? Be very clear with your understanding of the criteria for any challenge/competition and ensure your entries meet these criteria. Sewing and finishing off of any garments should be flawless.

Do you have any photos of your early sewing efforts? I have attached a couple of photos of a dress I made for my daughter when she was around 6yrs. Originally it was for her first ballet exam and then I added the frill so that she was able to wear it to church. As you can see by the lace daisy it is quite old. It would be around 38yrs old now.

One last thing is never say ‘I can’t do that’ - you never know unless you try. You just may prefer one genre of sewing to another but you never know unless you give it a try. I thought I would never try patchwork / quilting as I could not see the sense of cutting fabric into small pieces and then sewing it back together. I have given it a go and will keep doing it occasionally but dressmaking will always come first.

The 2016 National Australian Sewing Guild Convention will be held in Cairns from Monday 10th October to Thursday 13th October, but the sewing challenge is already underway! Read more here. 

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!