Florence Broadhurst Bag

Before the birth of my last babe, good friends hosted a baby shower for moi. It was special because for me this was baby number five and I didn’t need more baby gear or to play party games but it was a chance to see girlfriends, sip bubbles and eat cake.
A lovely friend and talented designer friend Jackie O’Brien ( Hazel Green) created a special bespoke ‘nappy bag’. It was made big, practical and I think beautiful. A practical combination of  linen, adjustable straps and waterproof bottom. And featuring a fabulous piece of Florence Broadhurst fabric.

Of course the internal zip pocket works well for this valuable bits and bobs.

The great thing about this bag is that while it has outgrown its use as a nappy bag it has been re-purposed as my study satchel. Here it is loaded with books and ready to go. This is something I would keep in mind when purchasing for family and friends. How can the gift be reused and re-purposed? The beauty of the handmade gift is that the love keeps on giving, long after the event.

Woman of Wool

You may recall an interview with the lovely Jackie O’Brien from Hazel Green. Well she has recently been invited to be a woman of wool at Bendigo Wool Week. She continues to develop new ideas to encourage her clients at Hazel Green to use and create with wool, the most amazing natural fibre. It was such a treat to see her features in the latest Country Style magazine. Virginia Imhoff in her article “Pins and Needles” provides us with some new insight into Jackie’s experiences.Today she is at Sheepvention in Hamilton in the Western District, working alongside talented artist Valerie Little. Together they have organised the Australian Wool Industries Young Fashion Designer Awards.

Hazel Green

I have had the pleasure of knowing Jackie from hazel green for sometime now and am always inspired by her new projects, great style and designs. Jackie exudes an understated elegance in the way she wears a frock she has just sewn up, the way she displays her beautiful products in her studio or how she marries colour and texture in her woollen hand knitted garments. Jackie is very excited about a new line of sewing patterns from the UK, Merchant and Mills, that she is using to create gorgeous garments. These dresses and tops are forming the focus of some intimate sewing classes where you can interact with Jackie as she ‘talks and sews’ you through one of the designs from beginning to end. Contact Jackie for more information about these classes or any of the beautiful hazel green products.

I wrote about Jackie here a few years ago. Recently she chatted with me about her ideas for hazel green.
Jackie from Hazel Green, wearing a Merchant and Mills Dress

Beautiful Packaging

Beautiful Patterns

Samples of the Merchant and Mills garments

what is hazel green? hazel green is my very own retail/studio space. Born from a desire to create, and pass this skill on to others and hopefully inspire people to make things.

how long have you been designing and creating? my creative skills were developed at a very young age – my mum kept me busy with knitting,
crochet and sewing from the age of 5. I can remember making dresses without patterns for myself and my sisters when I was about 12 and constantly renovating things from the op
shop. In my early teens I had a strong desire to work in fashion, although later I was more interested in architecture.

where do you find inspiration? magazines, magazines and more magazines! I try to abstain, but it’s impossible…..

what is the best thing about having your own studio and retail space?
the freedom to do whatever I want, although that means I’m often not very productive as I’m easily distracted!

what is your next big dream? I’d really like to be involved in the promoting of wool as an everyday product. I think that in our current and future environment the production of a sustainable, quality material like wool is going to become very important.

Why are you excited about your new stock of Merchant and Mills patterns?
I have just begun stocking Merchant and Mills dress patterns from England. They are very simple, well constructed patterns that are well suited to beginners and established sewers. The philosophy behind these patterns is the simplicity of them, and a way of dressing that suits today’s busy lifestyle – if you find a dress that you love, why not have one for each day of the week! They are printed on proper dressmaking card which has a certain appeal…none of the designs will date and they can be easily adapted. At the moment hazel green is the only Australian stockist of Merchant and Mills!