About the Sewing School
The Gaye Abandon School of Sewing and Upcycling is located at 122 Buckley St, Footscray, close by Middle Footscray station and the lively cafe hub of Victoria St, Seddon.
About your Teacher
A life long seamstress, your teacher Gaye Naismith has had extensive teaching and sewing experience. Specialising in sustainable sewing, she teaches learn to sew courses, textile workshops and private classes from her sewing studio in Footscray.
She has taught short courses and facilitated one-off textile workshops for local councils and other organisations across Melbourne. At present she is delivering a number of term-long sewing courses for the City of Wyndham. Gaye also teaches ocassional sewing, mending and upcycling sessions at Laneway Learning Melbourne.
Gaye is a practicing maker and artist working primarily with upcycled textiles and has a BA in Visual Arts and an MA in Cultural Studies.
She holds a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment and holds a Working with Children Check.
Read on for some insights about Gaye’s background, her inspirations and the sewing methods she loves to teach.
Why is the handmade important to you personally?
I like wearing, using and appreciating things that embody the skills, efforts and creativity of the people that made them. As well as enjoying the visible qualities of handmade pieces, I like that they bring to mind thoughts of the maker, especially when that person is someone I know. When it’s a piece i’ve handmade myself, I often think of the making process, the place and the time in which it was created. I believe that we tend to cherish beautifully made, hand crafted things more deeply than manufactured items because of the connections and memories they evoke.
Explain your take on hand sewing versus machine sewing…
Domestic sewing, couture dressmaking and tailoring alike have always required skill in both hand and machine sewing techniques, so they are complementary approaches. What I enjoy about hand making garments is that it liberates me from being plugged into the sewing machine in a specific environment (the kitchen table, sewing room or studio). Hand sewing has the same benefits as knitting and crocheting— you can do it anywhere anytime, it doesn’t always require your full attention, you don’t need electricity to do it and it can be quite mediative (when things are going well!). I do all my machine sewing on a classic domestic Bernina Record sewing machine.
How do you incorporate recycling, upcycling and material consciousness into your practice?
A sustainable approach to making is central to my practice and my teaching, both from an ethical and an aesthetic standpoint. Of course, like any sewist, I swoon over the beautiful cottons, silks and linens that can be found in Melbourne’s best fabric stores, but pre-existing garments, such as men’s shirts, are also an excellent source of quality material. Luckily I live less than a minutes walk from a Savers so i’m always on the prowl for interesting second-hand textiles.