I read this story about Coco Chanel and how she never learned how to sew, pattern make or anything but she had a way with fabrics and would cut pieces from draping. She got into fashion because she didn't like the way women's fashion was restricting and didn't really allow you to be comfortable while being stylish.
While I ran my fashion business from the Valley Markets in Brisbane from 2001 to 2010, the way I developed my designs was with a few key mentors, they make up some of the teachers in our lessons, who helped me develop my sewing and style skills but I mainly learned by observing how different fabrics and styles fell on the curves on my clients. Also what they were happy to change to and what made them feel insecure.
My range on this website are those designs, from a petite 6/8 to a curvy size 20 in most designs.
After a degree and working in internet communications, 5 years away from any form of sewing and going back to my machine terrified me.
So, after filming and editing the first 4 lessons for WeMadeIt, I felt I could take on the sewing machine and even try to make something without anyone around to walk me through any challenges.
My first piece was the Highwaisted Pants in a Green Crushed Velvet and I nailed it. I love them so much and it gave me the confidence I needed to make the next piece = Aline Skirt which I just love because it's cool in Summer, great in QLD, and with tights and boots in Winter it is going to be super stylish with tights and ankle boots or Converse.
The point here is that none of the designs we are making and teaching are nothing you can't do too. I grew up with this belief that sewing machines hated me because Mum's was so temperamental and then at 30 because I wanted to stay home with my son, I started my own Fashion Business and that is how we got here.
Fashion to me is like art, you don't need alot of it, you just need the right pieces to make you feel amazing and that is what my drive for the designs and lessons on this site.
Now my 'how did I end up here' fashion timeline.
Who do we become in the clothes we wear?
We all have a design/outfit/style that makes us feel invincible, confident, relaxed. So knowing how to choose those pieces while complimenting your body type, helping you feel more body confidence at whatever your size is a thing worth investing time in. I know my body has changed A LOT since 14 and life stages/events have a lot to do with that, so this is my project on how to make sure we go through that without having to wear oversized things on the top and tight on the bottom or vice versa as the only option for our style template.
All my adventures to date with sewing has given me tools and confidence of how to feel me in any situation, even ones that are outside my comfort zone. Having a wardrobe that reflects the best of me is one of the best tools to make sure that as I get older and my responsibilities grow with my family that I don’t lose myself along the way. And I get to handle those situations like a badass, whispering that under my breath as I do so.
Curating a good wardrobe happens over time, by added quality pieces for key staples and playing with pieces that you know will spice up your staples.
Before you start chanting, I CAN’T SEW here is my Hate/Love relationship with Sewing.
My first experience outside of HomeEc was trying my hand at mums’ sewing machine, which had some quirks to it which meant every time I touched it, it would break. Even on straight sewing. Tip; the better the tools, the easier the learning.
Then I dabbled again in my early 20’s when a girlfriend in London who was doing an Arts degree suggested we make our own clothes, I bought a 20 vintage Singer and made a few pieces but the complex ones I decided other people could make those, I would stick within my skill set.
Back in Cairns, I made a dress for the Pride Ball and it was a backless blue sequin dress, perfect the occasion, lots of compliments made me feel validated for embracing the last minute venture. My inner dialogue was keeping an eye out for signs of imminent failure before the night was over, so dancing wasn’t too crazy that night.
My late 20’s, along came my son, and after working so hard to have him I decided I didn’t want to work for someone else so hunted for a business idea I could run with, the year was 2001 and I found out from the newly launched Yoga mag that there was a demand for Yoga Clothes. I love Yoga, I know Yoga clothes! That business soon pivoted into revamped Vintage designs, after being surrounded by girls in the Valley markets who were selling the coolest vintage designs from Melbourne to LA, I wanted that but nothing fitted my waistline so I bought them and tweaked them to fit me and other women from size 6-22. That love affair lasted 12 years before I went to Uni to learn Digital Marketing.
In my fashion business, I surrounded myself with people who knew more about sewing, pattern making and styling than me and what sewing I did do was the simple designs that didn’t need zips, complex pockets or boning. My collection of Juki industrials made everything feel like it was so easy to pull off, with one for each sewing technique.
All of this taught me about styles and cuts that worked for my Triangle > Apple [baby phase] > Triangle with broad shoulders average bust, no waist = all part of my upper body challenges. So when I left my label behind me, I moved into working in tech and marketing for clients I pulled on that knowledge to have designs that met every element of my new phase of life. But over time, gaps started to appear, I was moving away from that style that I liked.
My wardrobe had elements of smart casual for client meetings, relaxed sloth for tech days where I would be sitting for hours working out a funnel and then my staple Pencil skirt with tailored Bohemian tops for onboarding new clients/conferences each became my battle wear. With each set allowing me to get into the framework for that part of my day, working from home a lot this was key to making sure I made the switch from work to family time.
In my Marketing Agency, I know what makes me feel like a badass and I wear it when my internal dialogue of self-doubt might get a bit too loud and make me pause before negotiating the right deal.
So now I want to show other people the value of sewing and knowing fabrics and styles that flatter your body type so you can be the best in whatever you are out there to become Queen/King of. Whether it’s a business, career, babies, life changes with style and grace and knowing how to be smarter with what you buy, make or say yes to could be the leverage you need to be better at it. For me it is life changing if it can do the same for you, then it’s the best thing I can do with my time daily.
Meet the teacher; Justine Eddy
Acting small doesn’t serve anyone, dream big, go for them and enjoy the process. A smart wardrobe can help you with that.