Teacher ‘sew’ determined to pass on her lifelong skills

A RETIRED home economics teacher with a lifelong passion for sewing and creating one-of-a-kind pieces is determined to keep the craft alive by offering workshops to people of all ages at her Sadliers Crossing studio.

Carmel O’Rourke started her business, Farralley Lane Sewing Studio, three years ago after completing a successful teaching career at St Mary’s College.

“In the first year I dreamt of what I was going to do. This was going to be my baby,” she said.

“I thought I would try and do what I loved most about my job, which was teaching people how to sew.

“It’s really important to me to ensure that future generations learn this craft, because essentially it has been my life’s work.

“I was lucky to have been bitten by the craft bug. My mother taught me on her old treadle machine when I was a little kid. She told me she didn’t supervise me much - she just gave me access to the materials and the machine.”

Ms O’Rourke loves to make her own items such as bags and aprons using recycled materials.

“Being able to create in textiles has always been a valuable thing to do, but the argument for people is it’s not an essential thing to do anymore because people can buy their clothes,” she said.

“But one of the main benefits is people can make what they like, so you have that individuality.

“The other thing is the creative element. It’s very satisfying, and most people get joy out of making and finishing something.

“I really like to show that there are a lot of textiles that don’t get worn out. They get taken to the op shops and there is still a lot of value in them. This is also a way of sourcing your materials cheaply.”

Ms O’Rourke hosts a number of workshops for both adults and children, as well as private lessons. Workshops include making vintage rompers for kids, tote bags and other big projects such as sewing a tunic top or sleeveless camis.

Some of the workshops are half day sessions, and others are full day.

“I like to make it a day out for people,” Ms O’Rourke said.

“The Mummy and Me workshops are great for parents and kids who want to learn, and the projects are suitable for kids.

“I also encourage boys to come along to the workshops. Boys are actually really good at sewing. It’s a machine to them, and they enjoy working on different machines.

“My favourite part of the workshop is the unveiling. I like to make a big fuss with the unveiling, and people get really excited about showing off what they have made.”

With Christmas fast approaching, Ms O’Rourke will be teaching people how to make their own little ornaments in her holiday-themed workshops. A Christmas workshop will be held at her studio on Sunday, December 1 where participants can make their own Christmas stockings.

Ms O’Rourke also sells her homemade items at the Boulevarde Markets, at 17 Limestone St, Ipswich. These markets are held on the second Saturday of the month.

To find out more about the workshops, search Farralley Lane on Facebook and message Carmel. Alternatively, you can log onto www.farralleylane.com.au, or phone 0448 822 893.