Growing up on a farm on the North West Coast of Tasmania, Annie Mollison is one of seven children. She has lived in Sydney and Canada, where she studied Fashion Design, and finally settled in Melbourne about twenty years ago. Annie recently opened a studio in Elstenwick, Melbourne where she teaches sewing.
How did your sewing journey begin?
Sewing is a skill passed down from my mother when I was 12. She thought it was a much more economical way of clothing us all, which it was at the time. I loved it instantly and remember the first time I started sewing on my mum’s sewing machine which she would bring out to the big old dining table between meals.
Sewing was one of my subjects at school for two years which I joke about now as my teacher kicked me out a lot for talking too much. It turns out that talking is a great skill for teaching sewing! If only she could see me now…
After leaving High School I worked in a fabric shop. This is really where my sewing journey began. I remember learning everything there was to learn about sewing from an older sales assistant. I started collecting my fabric stash and bought a very expensive sewing machine and overlocker (which I had to put on lay by).
During my two years at the shop I was inspired by many experienced sewists and experimented with my sewing. I still have a few dresses that I made from this time; one being a lovely lavender taffeta dress with puffed shoulders (inspired by Lady Di)!
What do you make these days?
I like to sew dresses with a hint of vintage and I am not afraid of prints and colour. My style is definitely fun and feminine.
I started designing PDF patterns four years ago and have recently opened a studio where I teach sewing. I also received an award this year in the Dressmaker of the Year Awards from Simplicity patterns.
Do you have a dedicated room in your house for sewing?
I used to use the spare room in our house until recently when I opened up my little sewing studio . Even though I have this new space I prefer to sew at home as it’s an escape for me and I find being at home really lets me switch off.
What’s a typical day like for you?
After dropping of my boys at school and walking our gorgeous dog Roxy, I either head to the studio to prepare for classes or head back home to catch up on the never ending housework routine. Once that’s all done, I try to get some of my own sewing time before picking up the kids from School again. Most nights and weekends, I’m in the studio teaching lessons.
Do you find your sewing style or technique have changed over the years?
My sewing style has definitely slowed down over time. When I was a teenager I just wanted to sew my clothes as fast as I could and I didn’t really care about what the insides of the garment looked like. Now, I love hand sewing and couture techniques.
What are you currently working on?
I’m trying to finish a faux fur jacket, which I plan on finishing today! After that, I’m going to sew the Ginger Jeans by Closet Case Patterns.
Any future plans?
The plan is to begin to offer a wider variety of workshops such as pattern making, embroidery and specialty classes like jean making and corset making at my studio. I would also like to invite local and international expert instructors to join me in one off speaking and teaching workshops.
Your best sewing advice is…
Don’t strive for perfection and just enjoy sewing. Just be happy that you’ve made something and be proud rather than being too hard on yourself when things don’t always work out.
Share something people don’t know about you…
Fitness is a passion of mine as well as fashion. I still race in A grade women cycling races and I work a few hours a week at a gym as a Pilates and Spin instructor.
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