Here and Now and Where to Next
Hi friends! I'm Julie, the gal behind the sewing machine here at Sublime Stitchery. I'm proud to be a 4th generation Aucklander, born and breed and I come from creatives on both sides of my family. My Nana was a seamstress and dressmaker. She owned her own business with one of her sisters producing and selling layettes and other items for young children. I grew up wearing almost exclusively handmade clothes. My Grandmother was a milliner - ironically she worked with one of my Nana’s sisters, which they only discovered when they were in their 80’s! My Grandmother was later pretty good at macrame, resulting in the publication of several books and magazine appearances. During her later years she worked as a craft instructor at an aged care facility and kept me well resourced with various hand craft kits that were too tricky for ageing eyes. As a child, I always had something for my hands to do, even while watching a movie. Nothing has changed!
Mum taught my sister and I to sew when we were quite young, and I remember that our Mum sewed our High School Ball dresses, which was pretty amazing in hind site! I’ve always had a sewing machine, much like how we all own a toaster or an iron, but I didn’t always sew.
I’ve had two careers, both of which have served me well. I trained as a nurse straight out of High School and specialised as a paediatric theatre nurse and then paediatric recovery nurse. Nursing allowed me to travel to the UK and work - there were special visa’s at the time which allowed medical professionals, accountants and lawyers (& probably other professionals too) to work there profession without jumping through all the usual hoops. I learnt so much and consolidated my skills in Paediatric Recovery at Great Ormond St Hospital and later as a Paediatric Recovery Sister at The London Hospital. I have life long friendships from my years there. But I knew I would always return to New Zealand, it truely is a privilege to live in such a beautiful country with democratic freedom. But don’t be fooled, nothing is perfect.
I’d always wanted to study architecture, so when I returned to NZ, I did! 5 years of study then 5 years working in Heritage Architecture. I loved it!
One day while sitting at work and chatting on the phone to a friend who lived in another city, she mentioned that she had started a sewing and quilting night class. I clearly remember her telling me to check it out, she thought I'd love it! It couldn't have been a better timed conversation. I was gazing out my work window looking directly at Cushla's Village Fabrics. I ventured in during my lunch break and my eyes lit up with possiblilty. Browsing a magazine, I came upon a quilt that really caught my eye. I didn't like the colours though, so, with the assistance of one of the retail assistants, I set about choosing fabrics that I liked in order to complete my chosen "First Quilt". Of course there was no pattern. The wonderful ladies from Cushla's worked out the pattern and wrote it all down for me.
The quilt pattern was written down on four scraps of paper. They include instructions of how to construct "Flying Geese" and "Puss in Corner". The quilt was found in issue 101, 2006 of "Down Under Quilts" Magazine (which regularly sold out in print form). The quilt was created by Kathie De Palo who has associations with the NSW Quilter's Guild, Hunters Hill Quilters and Material Obsession - one of my favourite on-line shops at the time and also a great book.
So, armed with sewing machine, tools, pattern and fabric I set off on holiday to meet my friend "half way" between our home towns. She taught me everything I needed to know to compete the quilt and we spent a wonderful week of sewing and learning. My passion was ignited.
I stopped work to raise our three boys. I returned to Architecture briefly, quickly realising that I should have specialised in Healthcare Architecture; working full time and raising a family is exhausting; and few Architectural practices are interested in part time Architects. So I concentrated on my family. My fabulous hubby, Steve, steers our ship with his wisdom, grace, solid work ethic and love for us all - and my fabric addiction! Bless his cotton socks.
What I’ve always had, is an interest in design and it’s no surprise to me that I love piecing quilts, fabric design, tiny piecing, surprising construction details, texture and colour. I want to make all the things! Starting Sublime Stitchery and selling my makes was a natural progression and I'm loving it!
A few goals that I have for Sublime Stitchery include the publication of zipper pouch and quilt patterns along with DIY kits in various stages of completeness. I don’t want skill level or perceived ability to be a barrier to start sewing. If that means producing a Kit that has the zipper already prepared and interfacing already attached then great! I want to empower even the youngest sewer to confidently go from purchasing to sewing in order to complete an item they will love and be proud of.