Australia Trip Nostalgia

June 2, 2017   /   byGertie  / Categories :  Feeds


I've been back from my whirlwind Australia trip for two weeks, and it was so fabulous that I feel the need to sit down and write a little recap. Overall, I just have to say how welcome I felt by everyone I met and worked with. Am I really famous in Australia, or are you all just really nice? Everywhere I went, I was greeted with excitement and even little presents and snacks and flowers! So sweet. 

The main reason for the trip was that Spotlight Stores had just released a new Gertie by Gretchen Hirsch fabric collection. I have Spotlight and Fabric Traditions to thank for making the trip happen, and I couldn't be more grateful.

I started my trip in Brisbane! I stayed at Needlefruit Sewing Lounge with owner Kristina and her wonderful husband and cats. We all hit it off beautifully and it was like staying with old friends.
Me and Kristina of Needlefruit in Brisbane
In true Gertie fashion, the first picture I took in Australia was of their cat.


They took me to see koalas and kangaroos and wallabies almost immediately! Here's me with a wallaby, looking both thrilled and jet lagged.


The next day, I started my tour of Spotlight appearances, visiting stores in Everton Park and Mount Gravatt. Love the displays! We had a lovely crowd in both stores. For these events, I brought a suitcase full of dresses and did a short presentation on the fabrics and construction techniques involved in each of them, followed by a Q&A session and book signings. I got to meet all sorts of lovely sewists.


Next I taught my two day workshop at Needlefruit to a wonderful group of women. For these workshops, I have everyone make the basic bodice and a skirt of their choice from Gertie's Ultimate Dress Book. There's a strong focus on fit, and everyone leaves with a new dress and a custom-fit basic bodice pattern.

The last evening, they threw me a special party at Needlefruit! I met all sorts of ladies, and did a dress presentation and long Q&A. It was super festive. Vicki wrote the nicest recap of the evening here.


The next day, I flew to Melbourne and immediately drove to Spotlight Bayswater to do a Meet & Greet. (Hey, driving on the other side of the road is an adventure!) The Bayswater event was packed, with a long line for book signings. And dogs!

Everyone wore Gertie dresses and it's the best thing ever



Book signing line!

I taught my two day workshop next at Spotlight Bayswater.





I also was thrown a fabulous party right in Melbourne at Thread Den! Everyone dressed up in Gertie fabrics and patterns and made me feel like a princess in a room full of princesses.








After a day off in lovely Melbourne, I flew to Sydney. Guys, I loved Sydney SO much. It's just beautiful.

I did two Spotlight Store appearances at Lidcombe and Castle Hill. I started to get goofy with the mannequins and signage at this point.






I was taken to a lovely dinner by Brendon and Tessa of Spotlight, who took care of me for the entire trip. We went down to the harbour at night and I've never seen anything so pretty.

Thank you, Brendon and Tessa!


I had some down time to explore Sydney, and two of my favorite things were trying on vintage dresses at Faster Pussycat in Newtown and going dancing at Miss Peaches (Thursday nights are rockabilly nights!). Seriously, did I mention I loved Sydney? I didn't want to leave!

Go to this! 
I finished my trip at Bobbin & Ink, where we did a evening party followed by a two-day workshop.


Giving a talk at Bobbin & Ink
Teaching at Bobbin & Ink

Donna cutting her Gertie fabric
Well, that's the short version. All I can tell you is that it was magical, and I can't wait to come back. (I'm thinking about a November trip!) Thank you to everyone who helped organize, hosted me, welcomed me, and generally made me feel like the luckiest girl with the best job in the world. 



This is a syndicated post. Please visit the original author at Gertie's New Blog for Better Sewing

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Hello! I’m Jade, welcome to my little sewing sanctuary in sunny South Wales. I am relatively new to the realms of dressmaking and have only really been getting to know my way around a sewing machine for the past three years. By day I work in an office-based role in Bristol but by night can be found in my little sewing haven, musing over my next big make.

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I have always been a creative individual and have enjoyed crafting from a young age. At university I studied Graphic Design, which instilled my admiration of beautiful craftsmanship and contemporary design. There was a time when I believed my love for fashion and textiles would be limited to high street trending ready-to-wear garments. Learning of the wonderful indie sewing makers movement really changed all of this for me and after pouring over many inspirational sewing blogs (including Tilly and the Buttons!), I wanted in! In the beginning I attended a brilliant beginners dressmaking class and learnt basic skills and techniques but soon realised that if I was going to take the next step I’d need to make some room at home to build upon these skills!

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Quirky storage boxes and prettily patterned tins are a bit of a weak spot – I love a good storage solution! Not only do I find it quite therapeutic categorising all of my notions, tools, threads, patterns and fabric but I also find it much easier to pick up a project if I know where everything is. Working in the week means that sewing time is precious in the evenings and this is why having a dedicated sewing space is so great, as it saves time having to set things up and pack things away all of the time. I try and sew a few times a week but generally have more time to get stuck into a project over the weekend, usually with a nice cup of tea and some biccies.

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Although I am a fairly new sewist, dressmaking has been in my family for generations. My most treasured possession is my dressmaking scissors given to me by my lovely mum who was a fanatical dressmaker herself! My mum sadly passed a couple of years ago and every time I use these scissors to make a garment it gives me a warming sense of pride and connection.

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I think a wonderful thing about vintage sewing patterns is that they all have a story to tell and it is quite remarkable to think that they are still being enjoyed decades after they were first printed. I try to keep the most delicate patterns in cellophane sleeves, away from the sunlight to prevent them from aging any further and when it’s time to use a pattern, I tend to trace off all of the pieces onto tissue paper to try and preserve the original pattern pieces. Etsy and eBay are a vintage-pattern treasure trove but I have also found a couple of gems at vintage fairs…it can be a bit addictive though! The sky’s the limit… well, my spare room for now!

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Thank you for sharing your lovely space with us, Jade. We’d love to spend an afternoon sewing with you, especially if Henry and Coco are around to assist! 


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