Tag Archives: Georgie Somerset

Sew 358 – To guides and mentors

Jane Milburn wears upcycledWhen we think of creativity, most think of art with a capital A, when really it is about having a sense of festivity, fun and playfulness. One of my academic friends said the sense of play is what she most enjoys about Sew it Again because we need more creative play in our lives and workplaces.

In her book The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron quotes Stephen Nachmanovitch: “Creative work is play. It is free speculation using the materials of one’s chosen form” and C. G. Jung: “The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves.”  Continue reading

Sew 334 – Cotton with sustainable values

Georgie Somerset wears upcycledAustralian cotton industry focus on continual improvement of environmental production and safety measures is the basis of a great Sue Neales yarn For cotton, the big noise is about sustainability in The Australian this weekend.

Sue quotes cotton grower Simon Corish from Goondiwindi saying “consumers worldwide now want to know that the cotton they wear and use has been grown by farmers who do things environmentally well, and the big retailers are responding to that and saying they will only source in the future cotton that has been sustainably produced”.

The Australian industry has made great strides in reducing water use by 40 per cent and chemical use by 95 per cent in recent years – as discussed in an earlier Sew it Again post – and Sue’s story reports industry has now signed on for a five-year improved sustainability plan. “It requires Australia’s cotton growers to track their own – as well as the industry’s – ongoing performance against 45 key criteria linked to water efficiency, reduced chemical use, carbon footprint, biodiversity, farm productivity and work-related safety.”  Continue reading

Sew 297 – Silk worn across generations

Georgie Somerset wears upcycled silkWe have clothing, and then we have fashion clothing. Clothing withstands the passage of time, whereas fashion comes and goes.

Professor Kate Fletcher Sustainable Fashion and Textiles says fashion links us to time and space – and caters to emotional and social needs. Where the fashion sector and the clothing industry come together – in fashion clothes – our emotional needs are made manifest as garments. She says this overlaying of emotional needs on physical goods fuels resource consumption, generates waste and promotes short-term thinking. It also leaves us feeling dissatisfied and disempowered, because external physical possessions are unable to satisfy internal psychological and emotional needs, no matter how much new stuff we consume.  Continue reading

Sew 296 – Silk for Sydney Town Hall

Jane Milburn wears upcycled silkIt was such a privilege to be at Sydney Town Hall last night for the 100 Women of Influence awards dinner, at the invitation of my friend Georgie Somerset who is a regional influencer named in the 2014 list.

Westpac chief executive Gail Kelly announced Elizabeth Broderick as the overall 2014 Woman of Influence for her strategic and far-reaching work as Australia’s Sex Discrimination Commissioner.

There were some fabulous speeches, with Kelly saying women of influence know how to share their stories, have purpose and generosity, and co-sponsor Fairfax CEO Greg Hywood saying gender diversity is still an issue – because men inevitably revert to male-group-think, society needs women in positions of influence. The other point Mr Hywood made was women journalists from Fairfax currently hold the nation’s top journalism awards, led by Joanne McCarthy with a Gold Walkley.  Continue reading

Sew 270 – Gemma upcycles shorts

Gemma wears upcycledIt was great to have my friend Georgie Somerset staying the other night, this time with her daughter Gemma who is studying textiles at Fairholme College in Toowomba (which has its own Fairholme Fashion Week in October).

Gemma was a willing candidate for an upcycling project. We had a rummage in the cupboard and found this pair of orange cotton romper shorts suitable for a quick restyle and a green top that needed a few buttons replaced.

Buttons often fall off clothes these days, so knowing how to replace them is a useful life-skill. From the button stash, Gemma found four matching buttons of the required size and sewed them in place.  Continue reading

Sew 261 – Wear your own sparkle

Upcycled wool skirt and boleroYour sparkle is your uniqueness. Wear your sparkle and be the best version of yourself you can be said Julie Cross, one of the many inspirational speakers at Queensland Rural Regional and Remote Women’s Network conference in Charters Towers.

We make our own footprints in life. If we place more importance on the opinions of others than our own, we give away our power.

So inspiring to be part the QRRRWN network full of women doing amazing things – including four fellows from the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation. Georgie Somerset, below left, the outgoing QRRRWN president. Cathy McGowan MP, Catherine Marriott (wearing a Textile Beat history skirt) and Jane Milburn.  Continue reading

Sew 142 – Repairing old favs

Mending is upcyclingCrisp new natural-fibre fabrics are lovely to feel, yet the softness and malleability that comes with age has great appeal too.

The men in my family often come with hands outstretched when their favourite trousers or shorts need mending (they’re good at housework and cooking so it’s a quid pro quo). I love that we have this family ethos of treasuring things for sentimental reasons rather than monetary ones.

Staying overnight recently with my friend Georgie Somerset on her and Rob’s beef property at Durong, I took this photograph, below, of their mending pile stacked in a corner waiting for a spare hour or two in between cattle work, community work and board meetings!  Continue reading

Sew 135 – Upside-down jumper skirt

upside down cardigan skirtWe don’t live in a perfect world, therefore shopping for the perfect outfit can be a difficult process.

It was the inability to purchase garments that work with my shape, in fabric and colours I like, that led me to upcycling and resewing existing clothing in quick and easy ways.

Having simple home-sewing skills and a basic sewing machine is empowering because you can take charge of your clothing and textile needs. You are not dependent on others or what happens to be ‘in fashion’ at the time.

In the same way that we are now valuing home-cooking skills and thinking about where our food comes from, we are becoming more mindful about the clothing that covers our living, breathing skin.  Continue reading

Sew 123 – Sew it UP

Upcycle of an upcycleI’ve traversed two states in two days, leaving Mt Tabor near Augathella yesterday morning and now at Coolah in southern New South Wales, travelling through grazing, grain and cotton country.

Part of that 15-hour journey was with Georgie Somerset, but since went separate ways at Miles yesterday afternoon, I’ve had plenty of reflection time ahead of my first exhibition Upcycling at Pandora Gallery tomorrow.

Australian country singer Tania Kernaghan was a special guest at the launch of Keelen Mailman’s book The Power of Bones at the magical sacred site of Lost City on Mt Tabor on Friday. Keelen meets everyone with an open heart, and because Tania also has a beautiful heart she says Keelen’s book “will touch your heart in so many ways”. Here’s a happy photo of us under the bough shed with me, left, Tania, Keelen and her sister Cissy, and Georgie.

Jane Milburn Tania Kernaghan Keelen Mailman Cissy Mailman and Georgie Somerset

Because I’m travelling, Sew 123 is by necessity a simple one. It’s an upcycle of an upcycled jumper which I purchased in Canberra. The vintage brown wool cardigan had vintage yo-yo flowers attached and I was pleased to find it on my last visit to the capital and support another upcycler’s efforts. After some wearing, the shoulder seam needed a mend and a small hole needed darning. Clothing never stays perfect forever, so simple skills like using a needle and thread to mend a hole is a basic life skill.

upcycled cardigan


Sew 121 – Natural, authentic people

silk dress with op shop shell accessoriesVery quick post today while my friend Georgie Somerset and I are stopped in Roma within phone range. Of course we made time for a quick visit to Ace Drapers, an amazing treasure trove of fabric, craft and cookware. The shop does’t look special on the outside, but it stocks many things you can’t buy in the city.

On the way up to Georgie’s place at Durong last night, we were carrying a precious cargo of Anzac biscuits donated to Danielle Crismani as #bakedrelief from caring Brisbane people wanting to send #lovetothewest for drought-affected farmers. Here’s the photo of Georgie handing over treasure to Margie Lee-Madigan.  Continue reading