Friday, June 2, 2017

Australia Trip Nostalgia

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. 


  1. That looks like an amazing trip! How cool to see so many beautiful Gertie dresses! All of those events look like so much fun!

  2. You are SUPER famous in Australia... you should totally come back and teach more!!!

  3. Lucky you! What a wonderful experience you had. Everyone looks so nice.

  4. Please come back! I couldn't make it this time but would love to do a workshop

  5. Your class was such a fun weekend! Sydney needs strapless dresses!!

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  7. Of course all the good stuff happens in Australia, when I'm currently living in the US! And Brisbane is only an hour away from my hometown...I can't wait to sew some projects from your 'Gertie Sews Vintage Casual' book!

  8. Jen in froggy MelbourneJune 3, 2017 at 5:44 PM

    I'm so glad you felt welcome here. Looking forward to your next visit... (is it too much to hope for that we might bump into each other when I'm fabric shipping in NYC in mid-late August)?

  9. You put those mannequins to shame. I'm really pleased you had a fabulous visit and please come back :))

  10. I was so upset I couldn't attend your class in Melbourne. I've been a fan of your for quite some time. I'm glad you had a great time though and we want you back sooner rather than later. :)

  11. It looks like a wonderful time for both you and the participants! And everyone is so dressed up and pretty.

  12. Any chance getting to Perth on your next visit?

  13. Adelaide, come to Adelaide, I would be so there!

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  15. I rushed to Spotlight in Christchurch New Zealand after reading this and finally got my copy of the Ultimate Dress Book. So excited. I need to really study the fitting chapter and work on my patterns and toiles before buying some divine fabric because I am really tricky for an amateur to fit. So many disasters in my wake, but I'm sure I can do it eventually! You are a star darling Gertie! xxxxx


Thanks for your comments; I read each and every one! xo Gertie

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