Let me introduce you to Marjorie the third Sewist in the Insight to Sewing Series! You might know her on Instagram as @marjoriesews Marjorie lives in Brisbane Australia and is an active member of the Brisbane Spoolettes (A nationwide sewing collective) Brisbane is the capital city of the state of Queensland (our equivalent of Florida except it's 5 times bigger than Texas!)
Anne: Tell us a bit about yourself Marjorie? ...
Marjorie: My weekly timetable:- I start each day with a long walk or a weights session at my gym. I walk with fellow sewists and we talk sewing quite a bit of the time. When I walk alone, I plan in my head what I want to sew next. My two children are adults; my daughter Jennifer is 34 and married to Warwick and my son Matthew is engaged to be married to Rachael. Most weeks they come over on a Wednesday night and I do the big family dinner. Cooking is another of my passions. I love to bake cakes and all things bad for my figure!!
On a Sunday, I visit my Mum who is still living independently at 88 and we try and do things that need to be done that she cannot manage on her own which really isn’t that much. Mum still knits profusely and embroiders hand towels and face washers.
I am not one to constantly go shopping and I don’t do lunch very often. I love to have people over instead.
But on the days I am not socialising, I will be sewing. I volunteer to sew for Angel Gowns Australia. I am given wedding dresses that have been donated to this organization and convert them into gowns and wraps for still born babies, or babies that don’t leave hospital and miscarried babies delivered around the 20 week mark. I personally have never had to go through this sadness but my Mum did when I was 12 and I remember clearly, the sadness that Mum and Dad went through. I also know several midwives and they tell me these little gowns or wraps that we make, are so appreciated by the families who are going through this awful time.
18 months ago I became a qualified milliner through the Queensland TAFE (tertiary education network). I absolutely loved this 3 year course and I loved making hats with all the different methods and materials. Unfortunately I haven’t really kept it up and that is mainly due to the fact that I live in an apartment and I do not have a lot of room to store materials and everything to do with millinery. You need a lot of stuff!! I have considered moving but that is not really economically viable for me just so that I can make hats. Making fabric hats is where I plan to go and with some more pattern drafting skills, I think that will be my forte.
Embroidery and applique are 2 other sewing crafts that I love to pursue and I like to do that when watching TV at night. Knitting sometimes gets a look in as well.
Travelling overseas is another passion and I try to plan a trip every year. I do like adventure holidays which include a hiking tour or cycling tour and Europe is where I like to go. Fabric shopping overseas will be the highlight if I can fit it in.
Anne: How many clothes do you sew in a year?
Marjorie: When you see me on Instagram through the month of May that I am not wearing a repeat top or dress, it would appear that I sew prolifically. But I have been sewing my clothes all of my adult life with a short break for about 4 years after my husband died in 2007. During that 4 years I still wore clothes that I had made but I just didn’t sew. I tried to soothe my soul in Retail Therapy during that time of intense grief, but my son said something one day that triggered my sewing spirit again. And soon after that, I discovered the online sewing community through BurdaStyle and blogs. It was enlightening and I haven’t stopped. I probably sew at least 40 items of clothing per year. I always have to try something new.
Anne: How do they all fit into your wardrobe?
Marjorie: They fit because I give away quite a lot. I have given away all the cocktail dresses, ball gowns, suits and almost all of my RTW clothes that I used to buy and were part of my previous life as a corporate wife. Except for my jeans which I still like to buy, (Brax jeans) and underwear, I make everything else. Because I am tall and a size 14-16, I give my clothes to the transgender community group. A dear friend of mine advocates for the LGBT community and she distributes my clothes and shoes for me. So if I make something that I don’t like or I can’t get to fit properly, I will finish it off as if I would wear it and then pass it on.
Anne: What is your strategy that keeps you organised and your wardrobe not so squishy?
Marjorie: I have probably already explained that in question 2. But at the end of each summer, I give my clothes a good going over and particularly the ones I have worn a lot and check the areas where I sweat and look to see if they have had better days. I also pull out of my wardrobe any clothes that I haven’t worn for 2 years excluding jackets or coats or winter clothes for much colder climates that I visit occasionally. I do the same with shoes. Living in Queensland means I have a lot of summer clothes and much less in the way of winter clothes.
I soothe my soul these days by sewing and find retail shopping for clothes so boring. For me the excitement starts with a trip to a fabric shop, a Burda magazine or a few hours looking at online pattern shops.
Anne- in summary: Thanks Marjorie for letting us in on your very busy and creative life! Sewing, Creating and Giving back, fill your day and Soothe your Soul. You haven't stopped sewing, learning or giving. I love how you have involvement with helping people in such a caring way. Thank you for telling us about the heartfelt organisation Angel Gowns Australia. I cried when you told me about this work you do. (Instagram @angelgownsau ). Marjorie your heart is to help and your sewing is the means. Being aware and actually doing something to help, is not only helpful for the recipient, it is good for our souls too. That your son prompted you back to your a creative side after the loss of your husband. The healing power of sewing! Much more than "just a a hobby!" A great reminder for all of us to see where we also can become more involved in our community. A wardrobe bursting with garments can be changed into a help for people in need. What you don't wear can become a link to someone else's New beginning! I am sure what you are doing Marjorie will be inspiring and challenging for many.
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