Friday, 15 August 2014

Materials and Techniques: Redressd

It's great fun finding out all about the different crafts out there in the world. Each fortnight I speak to a different designer about the materials and techniques that they use in the creation of their products. Today I am right in my very own backyard, speaking to Nicole from Blackburn in Melbourne, Victoria. She makes gorgeous women's clothing for her store Redressd.

Please tell us a little about yourself.

Hi, my name is Nicole and I started my business Redressd in 2006 after I had my boys who are now 10 and 13. I remember my first market in Camberwell in the January, it was so hot my shoes were melting on the bitumen. My designs then were a vintage fabric nappy bag and a simple wrap skirt with a vintage panel which I still made to this day. After receiving great feedback, I branched out into other local markets including Warrandyte, St Andrews, The Botanical Gardens, The Sisters Market, The Makers Market at The Abbotsford Convent and supported many school fund raisers including Tarlaye (which I still do after 8 years). My fabulous mum helped me at all these markets!

I learnt to sew and make patterns at school in the 80’s and started making my own clothes when my mum gave me her sewing machine at age 14. I would copy the latest out of magazines. My Nan always had beautiful ball gowns, tins of buttons and drawers of silk scarves that I played with when I was little. I studied and worked as a Special Education Teacher and now feel very lucky to work full time on my creative passion. Redressd is run from my home studio in Blackburn, Melbourne. I draft the patterns and sew all the garments all myself. I sell my products online through a great Australian site called Madeit and through independent shops. I was very excited when The Cat's Meow wanted to stock my designs in 2007.  These shops currently include The Cat's Meow, Inspirasia, The Crafty Fox and Little Wing Clothing.

What materials and techniques do you like to use? 

I am always on the hunt for unusual fabrics and love to mix different fabrics together which makes it fun and interesting to work with. This also creates challenges with fit and care for the garment. I have to test and wash all fabrics before I cut them out and adjust patterns to fit as some have stretch and others don’t, some are vintage or remnant and don’t come with a care tag and colours can run or fabrics can shrink. All these issues have to be controlled before the final product hit the shops. But who doesn’t love a challenge, it makes every creation more interesting and I beam with pride when I send off a package.
What challenges have you faced in the creative process?

It is trial and error and I make everything for myself to wear and test out beforehand, parading around the house, seeking input from the men in the house. They find it amusing as most times I ignore their advice and do what I originally thought. I take great pride in my sewing and like everything to be perfect and my garments last for many years.

What drives you to create?

I love it when my friends as well as people I don’t know stop me in the street and ask "Where did you get that gorgeous dress?" I love saying “I made it!" My customers tell me whenever they wear one of my dresses or skirts they always get compliments. This keeps me motivated and always on the lookout for new and different fabrics and creating patterns that will fit all shapes and sizes.
What is coming up next?

In the future I would love to find more independent stockists throughout Australia to sell my clothes.

All images supplied by Nicole of Redressd.

I have lots of other lovely materials and techniques interviews for you to catch up on. Would you like to share your story? Leave me a comment.

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