Sydney Sewing

This was a special week for this humble sewing bod.

Heading off the couture sewing school

In Australia we’ve never had access to the sewing experts that reside overseas but I know that since Susan Khalje graced our shores last year, other have started to see Australia as a place to visit and meet local sewing people.


Last year we were treated with Susan visiting Australia and running her classes in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

Day 2 off to school

I was lucky enough to attend the couture workshop in Sydney and the guipure lace skirt workshop in Brisbane. Those classes were filled with sewing people who love what they do and everyone extended their skills.


Susan gives you the ongoing encouragement to extend your skills and knowledge.

I haven’t looked back at the guipure lace techniques I learnt last year and I certainly have to stop myself from buying more lace.


This year I worked on a Vivienne Westwood jacket design that I really didn’t have the pattern for. I don’t have the pattern for the skirt either but through Susan’s guidance, I now have a pattern for both of these pieces and I’m ready to make more.

Last year Gertie came to Australia twice and I’m sure she has plans to visit Australia again.

This week Jenny Rushmore (Cashmerette) and her colleague Carrie came to Australia after 2 long haul flights from the States and met a few of us in Sydney on Friday night at Bobbin and Ink

Jenny is running a Sewing Retreat in our neck of the woods. Not bad right!


In Sydney we’re lucky to have Mick (Quick Buttonhole Services 02 9699 2050) who professionally sews buttons, snaps etc for the garment industry.


I needed 3 buttonholes sewn on my couture jacket so I went to his workshop and he sewed them for me with no fuss or bother. Now that’s what I call customer service.


I did call Mick the day before just in case he had a huge industry order deadline. Again, he was lovely to deal with on the phone. I know Mick will do orders over the phone if you need to courier your work to him.

Now to recover and keep sewing.
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Gertie vintage

It’s always exciting when a sewing inspiration visits Australia and recently Gretchen Hirsch (Gertie) did just that. She’s so inspiring and keeps putting out her feminine fabrics and patterns to bring these lovely into our everyday lives.

On Friday night after Gertie’s whirlwind tour to Brisbane and Melbourne, we were lucky to have Gertie speak at a function hosted by Laura at Bobbin and Ink.

So the Gertie fabrics that were simmering in my stash for quickly found their way to the top of my sewing queue.

Last year I used the white cherry print fabric to test this vintage style blouse using Simplicity 1460. I wear this to the office a lot.
Well I had two colourways of Gertie’s cherry prints and I wanted to make Butterick 6380 for her visit.
The Instagram vote determined using white cherry version for this dress. I did a bit of research online and decided to test this dress pattern as a peplum blouse.
It’s actually kinda cute as a blouse style.

I still fully lined this version and enjoyed trialling the construction too.
The online feedback showed Butterick adds quite a bit of ease in this pattern as is their practice so I took out at least 5cm from the front and back bodice pieces before cutting out this test version.
I also used pleats where gathers were placed in this pattern.
As you can see, the neckline is higher than the pattern so I can comfortably wear this to work.
My other challenge was ensuring I had enough bra strap coverage and made sure these tabs worked perfectly.
The final bodice still looks feminine.
I kept the original skirt style. So this dress was finished in plenty of time for Gertie’s visit.
I still had time up my sleeve and decided to use the turquoise cherry print for a basic dress with an interesting neckline feature.
I really love the back cape idea.
On Pinterest I found this technical drawing so I used this as my guide.
Above is my very crude pattern for a short back capelet.
I’m sure this capelet is like a 1940’s nurse uniform.

 Below is a close up of the capelet.

From the front it’s still feminine.

Later on Friday night I met up with some friends and I got a better picture of my dress. By this time of the night I finally had a bite to eat so the stressors of the weak were starting to dissipate.

This dress uses my block pattern. I know they fit and I was cutting too fine to test a new commercial pattern in time to meet Gertie.

I was hoping to duck into Spotlight during the week as well as be a Bobbin and Ink’s night with Gertie but I could spare the time.

Thanks Gertie for your awesome compliment. I hope you had a great time in Australia!