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Sew Make Create – Article

Images and article about a Sydney based craft business.

A selection of images and an excerpt were printed in lifestyle craft publication Mollie Makes Magazine.


Sew Make Create – Sydney Australia

During my stay in Sydney I visited Sew Make Create, owned and run by Melissa Tan-Lu, in a trendy, up-and-coming district.   I chatted with her about the business and how it started.

A passion for fabrics and sewing came from spending several years working in the fashion industry following her degree in graphics & textile design.   As production moved more and more to being sourced overseas Melissa became disheartened with the industry and began to develop the idea of a retail outlet to showcase the work of local artists and makers, combined with a shared creative working space.

Melissa and her husband David spent several months developing the idea and searching for the best location.   “It needed to be big enough for a studio space and a retail shop, with a footfall and easy access to public transport & parking.   When a property came available in Chippendale it ticked lots of boxes.   A vibrant part of Sydney with cafe’s, galleries and arts & graphics based businesses, close to the University and popular Newtown & Surry Hills.”

The business opened in August 2012. A brave move in the current economic climate. Unique to Sydney (and possibly the whole of Australia) it has been received very positively and is well supported. Melissa & David are thrilled at the response from both the customers and the local artists.

Some of the artists have become teachers for workshops in their craft. The ever increasing list includes things such as: crochet, macrame, watercolour painting, basket weaving and of course a whole range of sewing activities.

“There is a definite trend in Australia now following that in Europe & the US for handmade, upcycling & recycling and being more individual & learning new skills. Some of the most popular workshops are learn to crochet and beginners sewing classes. Our Workshops are aimed at teaching practical skills to those learning for pleasure/hobbies with most classes just a couple of hours long. The evening classes are aimed at city workers being able to attend for a couple of hours after work. (SMC is very close to the Business District).”

“Workshops are popular with mothers and we’ve recently introduced kids classes at the request of parents wanting to get kids involved in the handmade trend and our 5 week make a vintage dress workshop is also very popular, particularly with the nearby students from the university. The fact that classes are restricted in numbers (usually just 4 attendees) works really well for giving people lots of individual attention.

“We’re proud to say that all the items we sell in the shop are designed and produced by local artists and makers.  We’d love to eventually have a much bigger space to include lots more.”

It’s been such a pleasure chatting with Melissa on this sunny Sunday afternoon, but time to leave as her next workshop is about to start. There’s a lovely friendly, inclusive atmosphere as everyone greets the very cute Pepper who oversees all the activities!

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