Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Friday sewing

The proud Friday sew-ers!
Well done all on your beautiful work!

We've raised $300 for theMulticultural Sewing Group so far through these classes!

And as you can see, everybody is happy!

Go girls!

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Woolly Things

Tomorrow, Saturday 28th May 2011, brings the Handknitters Guild's annual Yarn and Craft Market, just a short walk from the sewing group at Brunswick Town Hall, 10 am to 3 pm.


There will be plenty of beautiful yarns and knitted things, and the Handweavers and Spinners Guild will be there too. The local branch meets in Pascoe Vale and had a table next to ours at the Sydney Rd Street Party this year. We asked if they could come along to sewing group and show us how to spin and weave, and they are more than happy to do this for us.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Mina + Oli Interview

When I’m not teaching sewing at the sewing group I work on my handbag label Mina + Oli 

The lovely Lilac and her photographer husband Joshua dropped by my studio the other day. Where they did an interview and photo shoot with me about Mina + Oli.

Joshua is a great photographer and you can see more of his work at www.photosbyjoshua.com.au

People & Places: Laura Thomey of Mina & Oli
May 13, 2011

Words by Lilac Limpangog, Pictures by Joshua Winterson.

We’re absolutely delighted to bring you the second in our series of profiles of local business people in our region of Melbourne. Meet Laura Thomey of Mina & Oli, a manufacturer of bespoke handbags. Laura works quietly in a spare room of her home in Preston, designing and crafting unusual accessories that reflect her unique mind, using materials recycled from pre-worn clothing. When we met at a Moreland Council networking event, I was fascinated by the elegant black bag loosely hanging on her shoulder. It was classy and daringly different. This fashion design graduate told me that it was a castaway leather jacket now reincarnated as a bag. Hunting for materials from op shops is part of the fun.

Laura’s practice requires a gentle and patient temperament willing to endure long hours of solitude, hunched over sewing machines. All her pieces are not just handmade, but seem to have personalities as well.

Cutting up the jackets can be an exacting art; trying to harvest as much usable material from them as possible. While Laura tailors the bags with particular clients in mind, she also soaks up inspiration from the buttons, pockets, cuffs and embroidery of yesteryear. Her nostalgic corkboard neatly displays jacket tags from all over the world, and bygone eras.

Inside each finished pouch is a swing tag that tells of its origins. But don’t be deceived by her dominant right-brain approach. Coloured post-its adorn Laura’s walls, meticulously keeping track of time spent making each item, notes on the client’s expectations, ideas about marketing and scribbled reminders and inspirational advice.

One important challenge for Laura is to educate the buying public about the value of handmade products, and developing her online market. She’s slowly but steadily reaping rewards as orders come not just from Australia but also from abroad. Not bad for a Canadian backpacker who decided to call Melbourne home five years ago. And her long-term goal? “A hobby farm in the country where I can base my artwork. I’d like to train and hire local women,” in keeping with the fair trade principles.

As if they are her guardian angels, the brand is a tribute to Laura’s grandmothers Wilhelmina (“Mina”) and Viola (“Oli”), a cruise ship nurse and a quilt-maker, respectively. The sense of beauty, adventure, history, and recycling all came naturally to Laura who enjoyed making her own handbags even during uni days. Today, she’s not just creating unique pieces but also sharing her craft with a multicultural women’s sewing group in Brunswick.

We think Laura rocks; her work comes straight from the heart. If you’re interested in getting your own business profiled here, get in touch with us, and make it happen!

To see the rest of the photos go here

Monday, 16 May 2011


I think the sewing group is full of interesting ladies and that it would be nice to share them with you.  So I am going to do a series of profiles; the lovely Georgia volunteered to be our first. 

Name: Georgia

From: Melbourne

Age: 14

How long have you been coming to the sewing group?
- Over a year

What do you like about the group?
- You can do whatever project you like and everyone is friendly

What project that you have made was your favourite?
- Wall organiser, a baby bib for my cousin and a vest

What would you like to learn to make or make next?
- I would like to learn to make jeans and a t-shirt

What are you making today?
- A wrap dress

Monday, 9 May 2011

Teenage sewing group back again

The young people are back for sewing group and straight into it, keen as ever.
Here's a photo from one of last sessions last term - making owl doorstops/ paperweights.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Women from around the world

We are definitely a multicultural group of ladies here at the sewing group. 

I am one of the few representing North America (I’m from the small town of Port Hope in Canada) but we have quite a few from Europe, Africa and Asia.  

I love learning about the different cultures, religions, traditional costumes and most of all eating the yummy food the ladies bring in. Of course we have lots of Australians too! 

This is our map that we have up on the wall to mark each ladies name and country she’s from.