By Deborah Court
The School of Sewing and Upcycling, also known as SOSU, just keeps going from strength to strength.
Many changes have taken place since The Westsider last touched base with them.
Zoe and her team of Gaye, Mel, Jo and Alison have found new premises with an elevator and two large, bright studios. The School is wheelchair accessible, is LGBTQ+ friendly and is a transgender safe place. They still have all the usual classes from beginners to experienced, for all ages, all genders, all body types and all abilities. They cover everything from how to make a tote bag or cushion, to how to re-style an op-shop find or make the outfit of your dreams. There are special workshops in sewing machine basics, zippers, buttonholes, collars and cuffs, as well as guest tutors and textile artists who all have upcycling as their focus.
Zoe continues to strengthen the principle of sustainable fashion and the school produces no excess fabric waste. Every scrap and thread is recycled into new stitched items or ends up as cushion stuffing.
Zoe is a dab hand at altering patterns to fit the individual, squeezing every centimetre out of a piece of fabric and generally supporting her students to sew wisely and with skill. She developed her deep knowledge while working as a costumier and if you have enjoyed any of the musicals around town recently you may have seen costumes made by her.
A local primary school teacher asked Zoe to help her with grade four students learning about resources and where things come from so she devised a two hour program. The children use a collection of op-shop clothes to study the content labels and learn to distinguish between synthetic and natural fibre, they then make a tote bag from a T-shirt. They make a floor cushion from recycled scraps which then becomes part of the class furniture as a reminder of their practical lesson in upcycling.
Zoe’s hope is that other local primary schools will be keen to incorporate this program into their curriculum and spread the message of sustainability and upcycling to the next generation.
Feel free to drop by the new premises at 1/1-3 Whitehall Street Footscray; next to Physio Plus and just around the corner from Conway’s Fish Trading.