Julie has been developing Ministry of Handmade over the past three years to teach handmade skills with a contemporary twist. From her studio on Brisbane’s northside, Julie encourages people to slow down and take time to embrace the joy that comes from making something by hand. It was fascinating to talk with Julie about her workshops (which include lampshades, ottomans, cushions and picnic frocks) and how she engages people in the process of making, not just the end results. Sew wonderful to spend time with someone who has shared values, and who also believes home-sewing as a life skill just like home-cooking!
Today Julie brought along out-of-range curtain samples which we turned into bright bunting for Julie’s upcoming Baby Shower event, using calico tape recycled from her son’s 21st birthday big-top to sew it together. The samples were shot taffeta and after cutting each piece into two, and interspersing them, a cheerfully random pattern emerged. This inspired me to make some celebratory bunting from curtain samples in my own cupboard – perhaps as Sew 365 (yay) to deck the halls for my New Year’s Day DONE IT party!
Then we moved on to project #sewitagain, namely Sew 362. We found something suitable in the opshop box labelled Blue – a formerly beautiful now tired navy blue linen XL dress, which Julie refashioned by adding bias-cut white linen as a collar and extra length on the hemline. First Julie removed the sleeves and took in the sideseams for a more fitted look, turning the dress inside out and pinning to shape before sewing. Then Julie added the bias-cut white linen (which was extra I made for Sew 349) to the hemline and another piece at the neckline to form a beautiful cowl collar, which ends loosely in line with the back zip. To finish the sleeves, Julie used white overlocker stitching to create a casual upcycled look!
What did you learn about upcycling, I asked Julie? “Don’t be afraid, open your mind to possibilities and let go of the need to always be neat,” she said. What did I learn from Julie? My iron has never had such a workout as it did today! I do understand the time you invest in ironing is time saved on sewing, and it helps create a neat finish.