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Hello from Alli in Australia!!

user-166963 | Posted in Talk With Us on

Hello to all you Sewers out there.  I’m from Australia and have been a passionate sewer since the start of high school – some 30 years ago.  I still struggle although I continue to learn something new about sewing every year.  That’s the joy of loving to sew – there’s is always something else to do/learn/try/fail and triumph at!!!

I am so envious of you guys in the States – you have so much choice of fabrics/trims/patterns and many more opportunities to learn from the masters.  I live in Melbourne, and although there’s a population of around 3 million, there’s only one decent fabric store in the city and maybe one or two in the ‘burbs!  I truly envy the ads I see in Threads and Vogue magazine for beautiful fabrics and the really hard to get items.  One of these days I’ll have to get to the States and go absolutely crazy!!!

Still, if you’re anything like me, you make do with what you’ve got, and use that creative spirit to come up with innovative ideas to make your garments something special.

Hope you all have a good night..morning?  Would love to hear from you.

Take care





  1. mem | | #1

    hello Ally I am in Melbourne too and I can tell you that there are some good shops here . Cleggs in the city , Arttextiles in Richmond  The Cloth Shop in Ivanhoe and Stitches in Armadale, La Modiste in South Yarra There are some others as well but I cant remember their names . They all have their strengths but we are MUCH better off than Sydney and really thats all that counts isnt it????

    1. user-166963 | | #2

      Hey Mem


      Thanks for getting back! - and thanks for adding to the list of shops - I didn't know about the one in South Yarra - I'm in Northcote so do go to the Cloth Shop and it's great.  I'm really moaning about the demise of Lincraft - and the days of Myer and DJ's having fabric - you could always get something good at The Vic Market - not these days.  Now we're basically stuck with Cleggs which is okay, but they're fabric buyer needs to be shot - some of the stuff in there is horrible!  Spotlight's okay but...

      Where are you?  Always good to speak to another sewing enthusiast!




      1. mem | | #3

        I am just across the creek in Brunswick . I agree about Spotlight but there are some good bits in amongst the tat.What do you like to sew?? We are probably about the smae age 40S??

        1. user-166963 | | #4

          Yep, 40's!!!!  Have you been to IT Inc in Brunnie St?  They have Alannah Hill fabrics upstairs - you have to trawl through and it's very hit and miss but I've gotten some fantastic stuff there.  I must go there on the weekend - there's always new things coming in and you've got to be quick!


          do you work in town?  I'm opp Cleggs and have to stop myself from going in there every day - live in Northcote though.  You?

          1. mem | | #5

            Brunswick . I work in Footscray which is just as well .   went in there but didnt realize the fabric was uopstairs I just thought it had gone !!  I wish you hadnt told me that!!!

          2. user-166963 | | #7

            Well mem, I'll be in there tomorrow - I've run out of fabric...... can nearly see over the top of the pile, so it's time to restock!!!  I'll be there around 11.30am.  Have a great weekend - looking a bit gloomy right enough but I plan on getting stuck in to some sewing so who cares!



          3. mem | | #9

            Well I am about to start on he muslin for a Chanel Jacket and then I will mak ethat up I have been gazing at this lovely yellow and Viloet Tweed which i bought at Cleggs on sale about 4 years ago. I have just found the right shade of violet silk shirt and  T shirt to wear under it and so it is time to proceed!! The T shirt will mean that i can wear it to work with a pair of jeans . What do you sew ??

          4. user-166963 | | #10

            I've been lacking motivation of late but I think I'm about to start again.  I do draft my own patterns when I've got the time but Cleggs had their $5.00 for all patterns sales last Friday and I bought 6 coat/jacket type patterns so I'm raring to get stuck into them.  I lost 20kgs last year, so I'm gradually building up my new wardrobe with practical things like work skirts and pants.  At IT Inc I bought this gorgeous tapestry type fabric that has beading through it and some fur to combine collar and cuffs, so now I've found the right pattern, that will be my goal.  Time is always my enemy.  Your Chanel jackets sounds fab - did you see the article in Threads on the internal workings of the Chanel jacket? 

          5. mem | | #11

            Yes I DID  and I am asking questions re interfacing or the lack of it in a Chanel Jacket . Good on you re the weight loss . I have lost 5 kg and am slowly going down but have decided that i should enjoy my sewing life now and not wait for reaching my goal. I do worry however about back sliding  One of my greatest talents is self delusion!!!!!!!!!!! 

          6. user-166963 | | #12

            I'm hearing you!  Maintenance is the hard part and I'm determined to be fabulous and 50 next January, so got a whole year to stay on track!! 

  2. Ellene | | #6

    Hi Alli

    I have recently returned from Melbourne where I spent almost two full days fabric shopping and visiting many of the shops. I was overwhelmed by the fabric choices and the low prices and I didn't get to visit all the fabric stores. My suitcase was overweight on the way home :-) I hope you get to discover them too.


    1. user-166963 | | #8

      Hi Ellene

      Where are you from then?




      1. Ellene | | #13

        Alli, I am in Sunny Queensland..like the tourist advert says..

        "beautiful one day, perfect the next" 

        I am enjoying our winter now...gives me a chance to wear some warmer clothing.

        It is great to see more Aussie sewists posting here. There is also a very active thread for those of us in NZ and Oz, called Sewing DownUnder on PatternReview.com.

        A lot of Melbourne sewists post on there too...a great friendly place to find out news and information, specially for sales, fabric sources etc...and Threads magazine is a big favourite too.

        I don't seem to be able to post the web link here, but it is in the regional Section on the message board.


        1. user-166963 | | #19

          Hey Ellene, thanks for the reply!  I'll check out the PatternReview website. I'm always on the lookout for new things to try.

          Have a good one... well, in Queensland you can't help it huh!


          1. bel | | #24

            Hello there - Belinda here from Adelaide. I LOVE coming to Melbourne to shop for fabric - Darn Cheap Fabrics (sounds awful) in Heidelberg is a place a friend of my Mothers took me to a couple of years ago - they have 2 or 3 shops - but there are sometimes some great things there, especially basics. If you ever feel like a visit to Adelaide, try DK Fabrics in Hindmarsh. It's now 2 floors of a huge warehouse probably totalling as much floor area as one of the pavillions at the Queen Vic market, but fabric-store layout- unlike anything I've seen anywhere else. It's THE place for Adelaide sewers. They have an area with beads, sequins, trims etc - but the rest is just bolt after bolt of fabric heaven- a huge variety of type, quality and cost. It's walking distance for me and I take my 4-year-old there regularly on weekends (she's got her own stash already!) but I have learned to be very disciplined because I often walk out completely overwhelmed with choices.




          2. user-166963 | | #25

            Hi Belinda

            Thanks so much for your email.  I'm actually coming to Adelaide for a girl's weekend mid August and will most certainly be checking out the fabric store from Heaven in Hindmarsh!  Is that for out of the city?  Think we're staying in Hinmarsh St but that's not it is it?  Ooooo I can't wait and yes, I do go to Darn Cheap in Heidelberg - it's sometimes pot luck - it can be pretty awful but then you can pick up something special.  I got some Lisa Ho fabric there for a jacket - like nothing you've seen before - green wool with pink woollen flowers applique'd on it.  Sounds yuck, but it's so unique and I get some many comments on it when I wear it.  Maybe we can meet up when I'm over there??? 

            Cold over there today?  Freezing in Melbourne this week and very gloomy for the weekend.  It's definately time to crank up the open fire I think!

            Have a good one - Go Power!!  or Go the Crows, whichever religion you are.




          3. bel | | #26

            Hi Ali - sorry abut not getting back to you sooner - no, DK isn't far from the City. If you are staying in the CBD, you can catch a train from the main station on North Tce - get either the Outer Harbour or Grange line trains - it's just one stop to Bowden (make sure you're not on an express - they skip past Bowden). Then, when you get off the train just go up Port Road away fromt he City - it's only about 1/2 block - and DK is on the same side of Port Rd - look for a huge pink double-storey warehouse. It's really only 3-4 k's from the GPO, and about 150m's outside the ring of Parklands around Adelaide/N.Adelaide CBD. Even a taxi ride shouldn't cost much (the sort of destination that makes the drivers wince if you catch a taxi at 5pm on Friday from the City!).

            Let me know when you're going to be here - we may well be able to catch up!  And...it's freezing here - just been this am and bought the family a pile of thermals for a trip to Tassie in a couple of weeks, and we've all put them on already!

            Forget the crows and Power - I am engrossed in the soccer at the moment - my sleep patterns are out of whack from watching the soceroos! It's huge that they are into the next round!!!



          4. user-166963 | | #29

            Hi Bel


            I know Port Rd as I used to work for Telstra and visited an office there - so I'm getting the direction I need to head in.  I will shoot you an email when we get our dates - at this stage it's late August maybe early September.  Get some sleep today girl, you'll be needing it for the game tonight!



  3. TwilaB | | #14

    Alli, I've always envied the beautiful art to wear, quilts, etc., that come out of Australia. I guess I always thought that the place was flush with great fabric and supplies stores. I sometimes order supplies from the Thread Studio in Australia, and wish that we had one here. Do you ever use some of the internet shops for fabric, here in the states? Some of them are really good.

    1. bilston_ | | #15

      i live in melbourne too! yes i drool over the ads in threads awswell!
      i hsop mostly at clegs and spotlight also in malvern there's a few material shops.where are all the youngins? im 24 and seem to be on my own!
      been sewing for about 5 years and starting at the MSF part time in July.. can't wait! :)

      1. mem | | #16

        hello Bilston was it you I was talking with about sewing schools here in Melbourne ?? How did you go ?

        1. bilston_ | | #17

          ahh yes that was me! ive enrolled in part time, evening classes at the Melbourne School of Fashion, "Pattern making and Garment Construction". So excited!! :) hopefully will meet some new sewers my age who share the passion :)

          1. mem | | #18

            Thats great . I would love to do that but fear I dont have the time . I would love to hear from you and see what you think of itand whether it really does take that much time . I love to sew and am reasonablt good at it but I need some strutured challeges to lift me to greater heights . Life gets in the way at the moment and I would love to get some inspiraition to keep me in there and improving .

      2. user-166963 | | #21

        Hey bilston

        Let me know 2 how you go at the MSF.  I've always been interested but just do classes at my local community house.

        FYI - Alannah Hills sells her fabric at a place in Brunswick St called IT Inc  - it's a big clearing house for Dangerfield, Alannah Hill and others.  You should check it out for fantastic fabrics.



    2. user-166963 | | #20

      Hey Twila!  Thanks for getting back to me.  No I haven't checked out the Threads store - must be in Sydney - right near my house is a fantastic quilting warehouse but as I'm not into it... yet... I just go to look!  Where are you from in the States? 

      I haven't tried ordering fabric on the net - but I should check it out.  Most times, the shopping is more expensive than the actual fabric, but there's not harm in looking is there!



  4. jennys | | #22

    I'm also a keen sewer in melbourne, and draft my own patterns. Living in the south east, there are a few places to go - spotlight Malvern), as you say has a lot of stuff, but a lot of it very average. Cutting Edge (Gleferrie road in malvern) sells end of rolls from a lot of local designers, and is worth a regular look, if you are out that way . Darn Cheap fabrics in Glenhuntley road ( they have other stores in newport and heidleberg ) often have a good range of stuff to look at. They have a lot of nice silks at the moment, and also sell the end of season stuff from the expensive importers ( l got some gorgeous italian knit foe $3 a mtere, that l had seen the week before for $60 a metre elsewhere - it was being discarded end of season )
    In Malvern, there is also Stitches and D'Italia, which stock beautiful imports that are really out of my average price range ( and a bit too delicate for my lifestyle of running around after three children). Hope this helps.

    1. user-166963 | | #23

      Hi Jenny

      Thanks for the tip - I've had so many responses on great places to shop for fabric - now all I need is time to go see! I will definately go to the Cutting Edge in Malvern.  I used to regularly go to Darn Cheap in Heidelberg but they dropped off for a while there, obviously is a seasonal thing and you have to keep going in.  Might make it a mission to check them out one weekend. 

      Take care


  5. Catherine2 | | #27

    Hi Ali,

    If you are looking for places to buy fabic there is an Australian directory of textile suppliers, "Textiles Anyone". It is available through Artisan Books in Fitzroy and lists suppliers for just about anything to do with textiles.

    Cheers Cahthy.

    1. user-166963 | | #28

      Hi Cathy


      Know the shop - it's fantastic and I'm off next week so I'll get in there to have a look.  Thanks so much for the advice.  Are you a keen sewer too?



      1. Catherine2 | | #30

        Hi Ali,

        I don't remember a time when I didn't have a needle in my hand .... sewing, knitting, spinning, felting, embroidery, quilting .... about the only textile thing I don't do is crochet .... so yes, you could say that I'm keen.


        Keep sewing Cathy

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