The Fabric Store

One of the earliest jobs I ever had was working in a local fabric store. At the time I sewed a little and dabbled in creative projects but was not a dressmaker. However, I could tell others how much fabric to buy, advise them on accessories, haberdashery items, recommend different fabric weights, types and textures. In short I became an expert on fabric and learnt to appreciate fine quality. I trace my love of linen and Liberty fabrics to those formative years working with Rex and Roma.

My daughter and I had some fun visiting The Fabric Store in Melbourne. The purpose of our visit was to source an appropriate fabric for a dress she has to make for school. The Madison  from Merchant and Mills is a classic dress designed to fit, flatter and offer the youngest seamstress the opportunity to develop some skills. We were successful in finding a heavier dark navy Sateen cotton to create her Madison dress.

Nowadays, I am too busy to be sewing. Sadly my days of quilting and creating have been left for more demanding tasks of work and study. But that doesn’t mean I don’t love looking at fabric. The Fabric Store was a source of great inspiration, for me and my girl.

The Park Lane Dress

Jackie @ Hazel Green in action
The Park Lane Dress – beautiful soft drapes

I am excited to say that in just over two hours Jackie made a gorgeous dress, the Park Lane from Merchant and Mills. There were six eager girls watching her every move, learning as she sewed, talked and encouraged us, that yes we could complete this dress, just like her. You know, I think I could.

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!