DODGES FERRY, TASMANIA

Australian marsupials were some of the unlikely beneficiaries of the ‘reloved and upcycled’ sewing classes held at the Tasmanian seaside town of Dodges Ferry late last year. While the classes focused on teaching the women sewing skills needed to remake, remodel and upcycle clothing, the group also responded to calls during the summer to sew pouches for injured wildlife.

Natalie Siggins, who helped coordinate the classes at the Okines Community House, said the women who attended felt confident enough with what they had learnt to try their hand at making pouches for wildlife injured during the fierce summer bushfires.

The classes focused on mending or remodeling clothes from local opportunity shops or clothes that might be destined for landfill, using skills that many people had never learned. Many of the women and their daughters who attended, brought along their own clothes to remodel and an overlocker, purchased with funding from Highways and Byways, made the finished garments look very professional. Others made bags using old jeans. Some women, who owned their sewing machines, brought them along to better understand how to use them.

The final stage of the project was scheduled to start early this year, but has been postponed due to COVID-19. The very keen participants have already floated some suggestions to enhance their skills and interrupt the waste cycle.

“We have gathered a lot of clothes from opp shops that we have stored ready to work on, but we are also keen to learn to make rag rugs that uses scrap fabrics bound for landfill,” Natalie said.

One of the best outcomes of the classes was a decision to make a day once a month when the sewing machines and overlockers are set up ready for anyone to come in and use.   The community house is situated right on the beach at Dodges Ferry with a spectacular view and a gorgeous community garden. What better way to come together, meet new people, build networks and remake clothes that might otherwise be thrown out.