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Okay, big news. I have started a new blog. It's hard to believe that it's been a decade since I started Gertie's New Blog for Better Sewing! Starting my independent pattern line Charm Patterns meant I needed a new online home, and I debated a lot about what to do with this blog. In the end, the idea of a fresh start was really appealing. So much has changed in my life in the past ten years, and a beautiful new blog seems like just the thing to symbolize that. (I'm like a butterfly or something!) There will eventually be an archived spot there where you can visit all those posts from the past ten years, and blogforbettersewing.com is still here online for you to read. 

But for now I'm excited to fill up my new space with beautiful sewing, like the new Rita Blouse Sew-Along.  I hope you'll visit my new home
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I've been back from my whirlwind Australia trip for two weeks, and it was so fabulous that I feel the need to sit down and write a little recap. Overall, I just have to say how welcome I felt by everyone I met and worked with. Am I really famous in Australia, or are you all just really nice? Everywhere I went, I was greeted with excitement and even little presents and snacks and flowers! So sweet. 

The main reason for the trip was that Spotlight Stores had just released a new Gertie by Gretchen Hirsch fabric collection. I have Spotlight and Fabric Traditions to thank for making the trip happen, and I couldn't be more grateful.

I started my trip in Brisbane! I stayed at Needlefruit Sewing Lounge with owner Kristina and her wonderful husband and cats. We all hit it off beautifully and it was like staying with old friends.
Me and Kristina of Needlefruit in Brisbane
In true Gertie fashion, the first picture I took in Australia was of their cat.


They took me to see koalas and kangaroos and wallabies almost immediately! Here's me with a wallaby, looking both thrilled and jet lagged.


The next day, I started my tour of Spotlight appearances, visiting stores in Everton Park and Mount Gravatt. Love the displays! We had a lovely crowd in both stores. For these events, I brought a suitcase full of dresses and did a short presentation on the fabrics and construction techniques involved in each of them, followed by a Q&A session and book signings. I got to meet all sorts of lovely sewists.


Next I taught my two day workshop at Needlefruit to a wonderful group of women. For these workshops, I have everyone make the basic bodice and a skirt of their choice from Gertie's Ultimate Dress Book. There's a strong focus on fit, and everyone leaves with a new dress and a custom-fit basic bodice pattern.

The last evening, they threw me a special party at Needlefruit! I met all sorts of ladies, and did a dress presentation and long Q&A. It was super festive. Vicki wrote the nicest recap of the evening here.


The next day, I flew to Melbourne and immediately drove to Spotlight Bayswater to do a Meet & Greet. (Hey, driving on the other side of the road is an adventure!) The Bayswater event was packed, with a long line for book signings. And dogs!

Everyone wore Gertie dresses and it's the best thing ever



Book signing line!

I taught my two day workshop next at Spotlight Bayswater.





I also was thrown a fabulous party right in Melbourne at Thread Den! Everyone dressed up in Gertie fabrics and patterns and made me feel like a princess in a room full of princesses.








After a day off in lovely Melbourne, I flew to Sydney. Guys, I loved Sydney SO much. It's just beautiful.

I did two Spotlight Store appearances at Lidcombe and Castle Hill. I started to get goofy with the mannequins and signage at this point.






I was taken to a lovely dinner by Brendon and Tessa of Spotlight, who took care of me for the entire trip. We went down to the harbour at night and I've never seen anything so pretty.

Thank you, Brendon and Tessa!


I had some down time to explore Sydney, and two of my favorite things were trying on vintage dresses at Faster Pussycat in Newtown and going dancing at Miss Peaches (Thursday nights are rockabilly nights!). Seriously, did I mention I loved Sydney? I didn't want to leave!

Go to this! 
I finished my trip at Bobbin & Ink, where we did a evening party followed by a two-day workshop.


Giving a talk at Bobbin & Ink
Teaching at Bobbin & Ink

Donna cutting her Gertie fabric
Well, that's the short version. All I can tell you is that it was magical, and I can't wait to come back. (I'm thinking about a November trip!) Thank you to everyone who helped organize, hosted me, welcomed me, and generally made me feel like the luckiest girl with the best job in the world. 

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