A Stitch in Time is Sew Fantastic

Janome sewing machine

The whirring of the Janomes took over the Clayton and Mount Waverley libraries recently as a full house of eager participants graduated from Sew Fantastic, a beginners learn-to-sew program.

The program, a joint project between Community Strengthening and Monash Libraries, offered a free 2-hour workshop for participants, during which they learned the basics of operating a sewing machine while making a library bag.

Sandhya Burton, Council’s Programs and Marketing Lead, said Sew Fantastic had exceeded all expectations and she was thrilled to see participants complete the course armed with the basic skills and enthusiasm needed to take their sewing to the next level.  

“Some had never sewn before or they did a bit of sewing a long time ago and had forgotten what they’d learned,” she said. “Seeing the sense of achievement on their faces is so joyful. If people have the skills and understand the basics, it’s so very rewarding.”

Sandhya said the feedback she’d received had been extremely positive and she was confident all participants would be able to go away and build on the skills they’d learned.

“I was a bit worried that two hours wouldn’t be enough,” she said. “But most finished with a bit of time to spare to talk about things at the end.

“They learnt the basics, they now feel confident that they can go away and do a bit of sewing on their own. A lot of the feedback we received was ‘it will be great if I can come back and try something a bit more difficult’.”

Materials were funded through a grant received from the Victorian Government and one of the major aims of the project, beyond needle and thread, was to create opportunities for social connection after the past couple of years of pandemic isolation.

“That was one of the main purposes (of the program) to bring people together after lockdowns,” Sandhya said. “It was small groups, socially-distanced, everyone had their own sewing machine, so they didn’t have to feel under any pressure to engage. But a lot of participants said, ‘it’s so nice to come out and do something together again’.

“There were a couple of instances of a parent and an adult child who came together and learned it together.”

Sew Fantastic ran for 5 weeks on Tuesday evenings at the Clayton Library and Friday mornings at the Mount Waverley Library.

A Maker Space was also established at Mount Waverley Library where community members were able to book a sewing machine on a Saturday to use for their own personal sewing projects.

To learn more about Sew Fantastic, contact Sandhya Burton, Programs and Marketing Lead at Sandhya.Burton@monash.vic.gov.au