My Mum taught me how to sew. I was about 12 or 13. The girls in our family were all pretty much 'gifted' with something.
Mum and Nan apparently worked for a clothing manufacturer here in Sydney when Mum was quite young. I think Nan found out through researching the family that somewhere along the line of ancestors, there was court appointed couturiers way back before Queen Victoria. Maybe...well something like that...as a kid you don't remember everything you're told.
Anyway, it must have been a gene we all carried. Mum could knit, Nan could crochet. I think she could knit too. My sister could also crochet and she was a dab hand at sewing when she put her mind to it.
Me, well sewing is my forte, along with other hands on activities. I'm pretty good and I can take on anything, but I'm not a trained dressmaker. If people ask, I just say 'I can sew'. But I've put my hand to weddings, ballgowns, christening dresses, my own children's label (eons ago), formal gowns, costumes for the boys through school - clowns, a Canadian Mountie for Canada week, orange furry pants for 'The Big Day Out'. You had to be there.
As my boys were growing up, I taught myself to make my own patterns for their clothes, applique, stretch knit sewing, etc etc. Anything I could put my hand to, I'd give it a go. I'll still do. I love making things. When I see something that strikes a cord, I find any possible way to make it myself.
In our local area, there was (maybe still is) a design competition each year as part of the 'Harvest Festival'. I come from sugar cane growing country, and every year the festival would be held in September, as far back as I can remember.
In 1986, I won the Children's section of the competition, and was a finalist for the next 2 years. This was when I started my small children's label - Kids Klobber. It didn't last long, at the time there wasn't the market for children's clothes there is now.
I still have the trophy I won in 1986.
For years I kept sewing for other people, making a little bit of money to help with the household budget, but when it got to be too much with 2 growing boys, I put myself back to work and left my passion behind. On the odd occasion, I'd drag the machine out to make something special.
These days, my boys have their own successful lives and I'm now a grandmother. I'm called Mema (pronounced mee-mah) and love being around whenever I can. We live all over Australia, so it can sometimes be difficult to co-ordinate everyone's calendars so we can all be together.
I'll have to make sure the machines are always oiled and serviced ready to go!
Now I've come to 'jane on jane st' and what it's all about.
My passion has always been anything creative and beautiful, whether it's made by me or someone else. I love to decorate and have put myself through some 'mature age' education in recent years, culminating in a Certificate IV in Colour & Design, a Diploma in Colour Design and one in Surface Design. My next line of study, maybe next year, Interior Styling/Design and maybe some form of a CAD (Computer Aided Drafting) course. My dream job while I was going to High School, was, one day I'd be an Architect. 7 years of study...hmmm. Never did get there.
So now I want to put what I have already achieved to good use.
'jane on jane st' is going to be a place for beautiful things. With the very big possibility of it becoming my lifelong dream of having my own store. Very chic and eclectic, colourful and most definitely beautiful.
To start with, it will just be a place for my handmade homewares, such as the DIY home decorating projects on my other blog 'designed to a T'.
'designed to a T' will always be there, most likely becoming a testing ground for patterns and products. Should this become the brand name for my fabric designs, then 'jane on jane st' will be the vehicle to promote those fabrics converted to the end product!
If anyone ever told you to make a plan or goals and you've never done it, then give it a go. I have 5 year plans and revise them every 12 months if needed. After a lengthy period (20 years - 2013) with my current employer, my cousin Leanne and I are off on a jaunt to New York, London and Paris together for our Big '5-Oh' birthdays!
Who knows what the future holds after that experience!!