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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.

Simply click on the news item to read in full.


  • 5 Feb 2020 10:22 AM | Deleted user

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

    Iris Skinner
    Common Threads Boonah Group

  • 5 Feb 2020 9:19 AM | Deleted user

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



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

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

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

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


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

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

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

    Dianne Downer
    Strathalbyn Sewers SA Coordinator

  • 14 Dec 2019 10:12 AM | Deleted user

    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 | Deleted user

    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 | Deleted user

    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 | Deleted user

    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 | Deleted user

    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!

  • 3 Dec 2019 10:00 AM | Deleted user

    Did you listen to stories via the radio when you were knee high to a grasshopper?

    When you’re sewing on your own, do you want to have someone to listen to so you feel less lonely?

    Sometimes the radio stations in your area just aren’t your cup of tea. Well now you can choose who to keep you company when you’re alone in your sewing room. They’re called podcasts. I know. Who would have thought!

    Podcasts have been around for about 14 years. It used to be called audio blogging. Some people have word blogs. Others have video blogs. Podcasts are audio blogs.

    Yes, podcasts are internet radio so that means you can find thousands to choose from. 1.6 million Australians listen to podcasts in an average four weeks.

    The most obvious way to listen to a podcast is to play it directly through that podcast’s website on your computer. For example, go to and click on the episodes page

    Most Podcasts have a play function directly on their episode pages.

    On Sew Organised Style, the play function is always at the top of each episode page. Click on the link to listen to the podcast.

    And there you go. You’re listening to a podcast.

    Are podcasts free?

    There are an amazing number of free podcasts available. Sew Organised Style podcast is a free podcast produced by Australians, featuring Australians to the world, with a smattering of well-known sewing community identities that want to speak to our Australian producers.

    Can I listen to podcasts on my phone?

    Yes. In the US, 22% of people listen to podcasts in their car. In Australia, 75% of podcast listeners listen to podcasts on their phones.

    Podcast vs sewing friend

    • A podcast can be with you or be switched off. A sewing friend can’t.
    • A podcast can be with you when you need someone. A sewing friend can’t.
    • A podcast doesn’t need a cup of coffee and cake when they’re with you. A sewing friend does.
    • Keep your sewing friends for ASG events. They do come in handy and they’re always available for coffee and cake.
  • 3 Dec 2019 10:00 AM | Deleted user

    Perth was buzzing on the evening of 9 November when 150 people descended on Arthur & Co at Hibernian Place to celebrate the art of sewing. In recent years, ASG Industry Partner Sew for Life hosted the Perth Sewcial Soiree. This year members of two ASG groups – VIC Park Sewcialists and Maylands Sewcial Club – took the reins and re-badged the event. Perth Frocktails was born and was a huge success.

    Here’s a sampling of pics from the evening. There are too many to include in this newsletter so be sure to visit @_perth_frocktails (Instagram) to feast your eyes.

  • 3 Dec 2019 9:46 AM | Deleted user

    Last month we featured Janet Zekulich (ASG member in WA) in one of our Facebook posts. Janet made this gorgeous dress using the FREE pattern from Violette Fields Threads.

    Janet tells us about her sewing journey.

    "Mum was a Stanley School for Sewing graduate and was a passionate and gifted sewist. The sewing machine was in constant use in our very organised household. Those were the days, you probably all remember. Mum would wash Monday, clean Tuesday, iron Wednesday and sew Thursday.

    At eight I was designing and creating doll clothes. I would sit on the floor when mum was sewing, collect the scraps and make dresses for my dolls.

    My first machine was a Bernina. This was a whole new world - suits, dresses, shorts - I was hooked.

    My other great passion, classical dance, meant I could sew costumes. I made ballet cardigans and leotards which were so popular, I was asked to make them for a shop. My domestic Bernina did an amazing job but I invested in a Juki Industrial Overlocker. This meant I could do mass production on a grand scale.

    My expertise came to the attention of the local Bernina shop in Midland where I have now worked for the last 8 years.

    In August 2015, I was introduced to ASG Foothills Sew and Sews where I passionately enjoyed ‘sharing and furthering the art of sewing’. Opportunities always arise for me to help ladies who do not know how to use certain feet on their machines or need patient help with threading overlockers.  Another thing about the ASG is a camaraderie and friendship which is the ‘fabric’ to keep us interested."

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