The Sewing Room

The Sewing Room Blog

Archive for March, 2010

Children’s Wear Classes

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Childrens Wear Applique wool dress The Sewing Room 2

Isn’t Jamilah just gorgeous in this little wool appliquéd dress? I dragged her out side in the drizzling rain to take this photo and true to her gorgeous nature she simply smiled.

 This simple dress is made from a piece of woollen fabric I picked up in St Vincent de Paul shop at Northbridge; it was quit old as the measurements on the remnant tag were in inches and there were a few moths holes I had to cut around.

I am ‘The Green Queen’. I love to recycle and reuse where ever I can. I find St Vincent de Paul a great place to pick up embroidery threads, knitting needle, beads, old dollies, woollen blankets (remind me to tell you about these later) and preloved clothes ready to transform into something wonderful and new in my wardrobe.

Childrens Wear Applique wool dress

The appliqué is all 100% wool woven or felted fabric and was attached to the dress with double sided fussing before I embroidered around the leaves and  flowers with a little help from my Mum, the Embroidery Queen.

Well this transformation will be added to Jamilah’s wardrobe shortly. Sew join us at the Sewing Room to make your previous wee borns (translation: little children, my sister in law from Scotland has been stay with us for a few weeks and I had to throw in one of her expressions) a new outfit they will love because you have toiled over it especially for them. They will wear it with pride and tell everyone, “My Mum made this for me”. As I type this I can hear myself as a child saying the same thing when I wore one of the amazing creations my Mum made me.

Written by Penelope Leonard

March 25th, 2010 at 10:00 am

Evening Wear inspired by Bollywood.

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You have probably noticed by now that I have a passion for ethnic embroidered clothing. I will often  wear  highly colourful Mexican dress covered in embroidery. I have been collecting pieces from all around the world for many years. Some can be worn and others don the walls of my home. Recently I was given an amazing Indian rug by a gorgeous friend and very clever lady I have worked with for many years in education.

This dress is inspired by that Bollywood style packed with patchwork prints, ethnic embroideries, applied sequins, mosaics, jewels and Indian pearls. This  folk couture with sari-inspired gold and silver decorations, pompoms and braiding in loud colours, tie-dye muslin and kitsch charm is a source of so much inspiration that my wonderful Mum and I collaborated on this beautiful project of appliqué, embroidery and beading.

Black Embroidered Evening Dress The Sewing Room

The fabric used is a black 100% wool woven fabric from Tessuti. This dress is cut from a vintage pattern, my Mother made when she was bridesmaid for her best friend Jane Pound in 1965 before I was born. I love the pattern and have worn the actual dress to a friend’s wedding myself. I have modified it slightly for my figure type as Mum is a little more petite than I am.


It took me a while to work out the design with drawings and watercolour impressions of the motifs I wanted to use. The fun part is selecting the embroidery thread and beads and evens some crystals and diamantes for a touch of sparkle at night.

The appliqué is all 100% wool woven or felted fabric and was attached to the dress with double sided fussing before the Embroidery Queen transformed this simple dress into a divine master piece.

My Mum is the Embroidery Queen as a school girl her embroidery travelled around the state on exhibition and today she still transforms cloths into works of art.

Black Embroidered Evening Dress The Sewing Room2

Come along to ‘Introduction to Embroidery and Beading Class’ or a sewing class to make this Vintage dress. Contact me on 0432 688 536 or send an email to for when the next class will be scheduled.

Written by Penelope Leonard

March 24th, 2010 at 10:00 am

Children’s Sewing Classes Wise old owl t-shirt

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Lana Wise old owl tshirt Children Sewing Class The Sewing Room

Lana sewed this gorgeous new creation on Saturday at The Sewing Room and she did such a great job.

Scarlet Wise old owl tshirt Children Sewing Class The Sewing Room

We had a great time appliqueing a wise old owl on a cool T-shirt. Using simple techniques for a fantastic effect. We cut, sewed and appliqued our way to a fabulously cute new t-shirt.  And it was loads of fun.

Ali Wise old owl tshirt Children Sewing Class The Sewing Room

Ali can’t wait to wear her t-shirt out to a party on Saturday evening and she looked a pretty as a picture. Well done Ali.

Written by Penelope Leonard

March 21st, 2010 at 7:32 am

Lost in the 60’s.

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60s Pink Wool Check Dress The Sewing Room

I love the sixties. This dress is inspired by the dresses worn around 1968. The style is pure Jackie Kennedy. I found this divine fabric on one of my many fabric shops adventurous from Tessuti. It is called Blumarine Check and is a 100% wool woven fabric construction. The bead trim around the neckline and hemline is from my stash of remnants.

The beads are all stitched to cotton tape and you attach them the same way you would insert a piping. This dress is cut from a vintage pattern that I have modified slightly.

Jackie Kennedy set the Fashion trend for sleeveless dresses when they were unheard of. The 1960s opened up a world of opportunity, women were bold enough to wear shifts out in public. With matching bright stockings, no less! I think I will need to find some bright pink or orange stockings for this one. The look was bold, daring and adventurous – how 60’s I love it.

So you too can get lost in the 60’s and make your own Jackie Kennedy sleeveless A-lined at the Sewing Room. Come along to ‘Sew a Simple Shift Dress’ sewing class call me on 0432 688 536 or send me an email for when the next class will be scheduled.

Written by Penelope Leonard

March 18th, 2010 at 10:00 am

Introductory Embroidery Stitches and Beading Techniques


Introduction to embroidery The Sewing Room

It was a fun and relaxed environment at The Sewing Room @ The Fashion & Textile Gallery on Saturday, we embroidered the day away at this weekend workshop teaching a lovely group of ladies some introductory embroidery stitches and beading techniques.

 Introduction to Embroidery The Sewing Room 4

Surrounded by The Darnell Collection’s Wool Exhibition we were inspired to create a beautiful samplers using running stitch, whipped running stitch, back stitch, stem stitch, couching stitch, chain stitch, satin stitch and fish bone stitch. This was just a taster to the potential of these techniques as we looked at their use in contemporary fashion. We embellished our work with single and chain beads

 Introduction to Embroidery The Sewing Room 2

Sue working on embellishing a piece of French toile that could be used in an exciting creative project at a later date, for example as a insert into a shirt or into a gorgeous bag. She did such a beautiful piece focusing on a little man in the pattern.


Introduction to Embroidery The Sewing Room 3Lia  proved that being left handed is no barrier to being able to embroider, her work so delicate with tiny stitches all perfect in size, shape and form.

It was a day filled with stitching and chatting, thank you ladies for a lovely day.

Written by Penelope Leonard

March 13th, 2010 at 6:00 pm

The History of Wool: From Functional to Fashionable

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Dreaming of Dior Exhibition The Sewing Room3

It has been a very exciting week at the Fashion and Textile Gallery with the opening on Tuesday 9th March of our History of Wool Exhibition.

The exhibition explores the progression of wool from a functional fibre in the 19th century to its emergence on the fashion stage as a luxury commodity utilized by some of the world’s most prominent designers, Christian Dior, Michelle Jank, Jenny Kee, Linda Jackson, Thierry Mugler and Vivien Chan Shaw

From a Victorian bathing costume to a 1960s Dior suit to the 2009 Supreme Wool Award winning evening gown from the Australian Wool Fashion Awards (TAWFdA).

The Faashion and Textile Gallery is an educational facility for emerging designers, dressmaking enthusiasts and an inspiring venue for anyone interested in fashion and fashion history.

History of Wool in Fashion The Sewing Room Fashion and Textile Gallery2

Exhibition venue: Fashion and Textile Gallery
8 Hill Street, Level 7, Surry Hills
Dates: 9th March – 8th May
Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday 11am – 3pm
CLOSED THURSDAY (or by appointment)
Admission: $5 adults, $3 concession

Written by Penelope Leonard

March 9th, 2010 at 12:00 pm

The Dreaming of Dior exhibition draws to a close, as does the Grant Cowan Fashion Illustration workshop.

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Dreaming of Dior Exhibition The Sewing Room

The Dreaming of Dior exhibition draws to a close as did the Grant Cowan Fashion Illustration workshop on the weekend. Grant Cowan is the illustrator of HarperCollins Book ‘Dreaming of Dior’ by Charlotte Smith. His class was an intense one day drawing workshop using the garments from the exhibition as inspiration.

 Dreaming of Dior Exhibition The Sewing Room 4 

Grant’s one day workshop looks at the basic skill of producing fashion illustrations.Grant teaches his students to visually communicate the fashion figure in a simple pose and silhouettes in basic artistic media.

Grant Cowan Illustration Workshop The Sewing room

The day was divided into three parts, firstly an introduction into fashion drawing as a form of communication and brief introduction from Grant Cowan and his experience as a Fashion Illustrator. How fashion drawing is used to communicate within the fashion industry

Then students are instructed on how to develop their own female fashion figure. Grant will discuss the difference between the human body vs. fashion figure through the anatomy of the human body and its relation to a fashion illustration, anatomical study and observational sketching.

 With the final part of the day focusing on experimentation with a range of basic artistic media techniques to represent silhouette and texture with the use of tone, variation of line and shape to create a image that looks 3-D. Also simple techniques to create design details such as the texture of lace, feathers and embellishment was touched upon.

It was sad to see our first exhibition come down. But very exciting to know that there is another on it’s way with the ‘Wool in Fashion’ opening on the 9th March 2010.

You will be pleased to know Grant will be given more Illustration Classes in the future at the Sewing Room. Contact me on 9360 0585 or via email on if you would like to enrol in one of his future workshops or short course.

Written by Penelope Leonard

March 1st, 2010 at 10:00 am