Sarah of Sew Love

I’m delighted to tell you that today we have Sarah, eco-warrior, stylish sew-ist, entrepreneur and generally lovely person, on the blog. She has recently opened a sewing lounge in St Kevin’s Arcade, K Road. Without further ado ….

Hi Penny, thanks for having me over here to share with you the story of Sew Love! We are truly so lucky to have blogland to connect, share, learn, and become friends with like minded folk from all over the world. I ventured into this lovely world and launched Sew Love just over a year ago, so far it’s been pretty splendid.

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‘Twas my wonderful mum who first taught me to sew and I broke most her needles on multi layered denim throughout high school. One day mum said to me ‘you’re not a real sewer until you sew from a pattern’ so I found a pattern and sat to it for the rest of the day – just to prove her I was REAL! I wore these shorts again just the other day, it is such a joy wearing something with a story, history & meaning.

Now I am ever so grateful she even took the time to keep her machine in working order and available to teach me on. This is something so many of my generation missed out on…from the 80s onwards it all was about fast fashion.

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Its tough to think about that monster that is fast fashion. I cringe. Most people turn a blind eye and opt up the excuse that being eco is only for the rich. Being eco and ethical can be done on a budget too with up-cycling, and op shops just being the start. This is how I have been living and dressing myself for as many years as I can remember. Everything sewn with Sew Love is 2nd hand textiles: linens & offcuts from other projects. All my machines are 2nd hand too. I try to source all 2nd hand tools and equipment and currently seeking out a few quick unpicks but who gives them up?!?!

I launched Sew Love with the aim to encourage and inspire more conscious consumers and to reduce the amount of landfill on our earth. I hope to educate people about how clothing is made, how you might be able to mend something instead of throwing it ‘away’. I set myself up as a mobile sewing school that reaches out into the communities. The aim was to get resources and opportunities to people who don’t necessarily have the time, money or space to have their own sewing set up at home.

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The family of machines and I have visited a number of community centres for sewing lounge days, and up-cycling courses. It has been a thrill seeing how excited people are after they made their first ever project. I also pop up at a few markets too, my favourite being First Thursdays an evening street festival on Kroad. It’s sew lovely to have a table full of people diving head first into the suitcases of colourful fabric scraps.

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A highlight of the past year was being a part of the arts trail for Splore Festival in February. A small team and I set up the costume making and craft zone with workshops to pimp out tents, and festival get-ups like the incredibly popular fabric flower crowns. It was the most amazing place to sew, 10metres from the shoreline, and to the right was the main stage. Heaven!

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Being mobile has been great. Rolly my amazing little Corolla hatch has been such a star. It never ceases to amaze me how much junk I can fit in that trunk! But continuously packing and unpacking takes it toll and I have always been dreaming of a more permanent space. A place that can keep the bunting up always, a place I can arrange the piles of 2nd hand fabrics, buttons and trims I have been hoarding. A place I can set up warm and friendly to welcome in everyone who wants to give sewing and creativity a go.

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That dream I have had for many many years, finally has happened right now! It is very very exciting. Sew Love the sewing lounge, is popping up for three months in the quirky, creative, K-road precinct. Historically known for its grunge and red lights, and now that’s been blended with punk, vintage and creative arts. Sew Love fits right in so the locals have been telling me. There are sewing machines to rent per the hour, classes, a pattern library and vintage craft books to page over, oodles of 2nd hand textiles, and upcycled products to buy too. Alleluya (a café that has been going 20years strong) is right on our doorstep and you Peter lets you bring your tea and cake into our space to go alongside your stitching. What more could we wish for?!

I hope we can stay here longer than three months but it is genuinely up to the community to see whether theres a need and a want for this sort of thing, there’s nothing else like it here in NZ so I am quite literally trying this toile on for size. So far, for lack of any other words I just Sew Love biking to work every day, popping out my little sandwhich board, and sprucing the flowers, smiling and welcoming questions, crafters, and curious george’s peeking in the door.

Thank you so much Sarah for taking the time out to visit me on in the blogosphere – I know you are such a busy lady! If you are interested in finding out more about Sarah and Sew Love check out her website or just pop into the store at St Kevin’s Arcade, Karangahape Rd, Auckland. Also – I will be teaching a class at Sew Love called Sew a Simple Skirt with Penny. If you are interested get in touch and make a booking via email.

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