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Monthly Archives: August 2011

Sewing makes a comeback with people keen to learn the craft

Michelle Collins From The Sunday Mail (Qld) August 07, 2011

One on one sewing classes with Sajeela Jamie at Sew Yourself Silly!

One on one sewing classes with Sajeela Jamie at Sew Yourself Silly!

Source: The Courier-Mail

There’s a certain couple of generations of us for whom the hum of a sewing machine was part of the soundtrack of childhood.

Everton Park’s Vanna De Amicis is one of them, but her mother and grandmother didn’t just stop at making clothing for the family.

“Mum made everything,” Vanna recalls. “Curtains, bed linen, tablecloths, napkins. y grandmother did it all by hand; my mother at least had a machine.”

It seemed natural that sewing would always be a part of Vanna’s life and indeed she started from an early age and later took dress making lessons. She continued making her own outfits at home during the decade she spent working in an office job but a year ago decided it was time to make sewing her career and start teaching.

The fact that she was swamped with potential students as soon as her website went up last August proved what she’d suspected – that a new generation of sewers was ready to get busy.

Vanna says people are taking up sewing for many different reasons; some are frustrated at not being able to buy clothes that fit properly, others want to get into the fashion industry, some hope to crack into the market scene with children’s clothing and many are embracing the world of craft.

In Cairns, Sajeela Jamie is also seeing a return to sewing through her Sew Yourself Silly one-on-one classes.

The former fashion designer who lived in Bali for several years and exported her clothing around the globe, began teaching in Cairns two years ago.

“There are more people returning to sewing, especially younger people,which is really great,” she said. “It’s such a pity it’s been forgotten for such a long time.”

She said modern sewing allowed for more creativity too than in the past when everything had to be done a certain way.

“Now, it’s all about being creative which is really accepted,” she said.

For details of Sajeela’s courses, see sewyourselfsilly.com.au.

Back in Brisbane, Vanna’s group classes at Everton Park teach the basics of operating a sewing machine, learning how to adjust tension and stitch length and how to achieve different types of stitches. Her students then learn techniques such as various ways of hemming and how to make a button hole and put in an invisible zip.

Vanna’s own daughters, Lili and Jasmine, are already continuing the tradition, having each recently sewn little satin bags for their ballet slippers, albeit with some help from Mum and, in Jasmine’s case three phone books so she could reach the pedal.

Vanna’s four-week Introduction to Sewing course is $120. She also runs classes on overlocking, using patterns, pattern drafting and more. Visit sewingintuition.com.au

Where to buy fabric:

Many will be familiar with the big chains like Lincraft and Spotlight, but there are plenty of other places to fossick for fabulous fabrics, including Sckafs Fabrics (phone 3378 8591) at Indooroopilly Shopping Centre and Gardems stores at Indooroopilly (3378 5992), Toowoomba (4638 2201) and the city (3220 3001). Also try East Coast Fabrics (3889 6024) at Lawnton for a good range of affordable offerings.

How to make:

Check out Vanna’s pattern for a chef’s outfit – including apron, oven mitt and chef’s hat – for the little cook in your family (as modelled by Lili, 5, and Jasmine, 8.)

Buying your first machine:

If you are thinking about buying your first sewing machine, it turns out you are not alone.

“It’s back to where it was 30 years ago,” says Howard Austen.

He’s talking about sewing machine sales and yes, he would know – his Janome shop at Everton Park sells more machines than anywhere else north from the Brisbane river all the way to Cairns. He’s been selling sewing machines for 31 years.

Howard says those starting out who don’t want to spend a lot can buy a machine for $199 and then there are models all the way up to $8500 (that’ll get you a whole lot of elaborate embroidery programmed in).

With the base mechanical model, you’ll need to learn how to adjust the settings to achieve the right stitches but for around $499 you can buy an electronic machine that does all that for you.

“If you can do it, it’s a great way to go,” Howard says.

“You literally just touch the stitch you want to use and the machine does it all for you.”