"Stitching up the past"


Hi Everyone,

My name is Gail Harris and I have been sewing since I was in Primary School, which is well over 50 years now!

My Mum, Esmae Shirley McNamara, taught me how to sew and I just loved the whole experience of designing and creating my own clothing. I felt so powerful and in my ‘teens’ I made myself a new outfit just about every weekend, for a fraction of the price of bought clothing.

I went on to become a Secondary School Teacher and as a mother of four daughters I was very busy creating outfits for all of us.

In 1987, I developed my own children’s clothing label called ‘Squirtz’, which focused on good quality cotton garments made here in Australia. It was very successful for fifteen years, but in 2001, I closed the doors, as I was unable to compete with lower overseas prices.

I went back to teaching, which I continue to love, and in 2011, I began to develop my own ‘Recycled Sewing Studio’ at home. I love teaching students how to sew and recycle and I have now re-located my studio to 366 Hampton Street, Hampton.

This shop-front exposure has created a great deal of interest and I am inspired to continue sharing my skills.

I hope that my more sustainable approach to fashion develops and grows, as our young ones become more aware of how our ‘throw away’ attitude is taking its toll on the environment.

So, come in and say hello, join our Online Sewing School, follow us on Instagram or check out our website. Perhaps I can help you get started on the path to a more sustainable lifestyle.

Kind Regards,

Gail Harris



Since 2011, I have been teaching :

  • Student Weekly Sewing Classes,
  • Student Weekend Sewing Workshops and
  • Student Holiday Sewing Workshops for school students aged seven years and upwards.

These classes introduce school students to sewing on the machines, as they progress from simple projects to more complicated clothing projects.

In their classes, I encourage them to be creative, practical and also take pride in producing an individual and unique piece of work that they can use and cherish.

We focus on a recycled project each term, so that students start to develop a ‘sustainability mindset’ and consider more carefully their own clothing requirements, plus how they can contribute to a more ‘circular economy’ in the future.

Recently there has been a resurgence of interest in sewing with many adults also wanting to learn from scratch or return to sharpen their sewing skills.

As a teacher, I am passionate about passing on knowledge and practical skills to our young people, to support them in living more sustainable lives.

Sustainability is the ‘buzz’ word in education today and is an important focus in the Australian Curriculum, to guide teachers in planning their programs.

As an educator, I want to take a more active part in this new and necessary focus in education and have developed a Recycled Sewing School Program to take into schools at the Years 5 and 6 levels.

This program will enable students to leave Primary School with basic sewing skills, plus the understanding of how their clothing requirements can be met more sustainably, both now as young people and as a life long practice.

It is time to give our young people more skills and strategies to really empower them to take action.

The linear process of fast fashion is no longer sustainable.

We need to educate our next generation on HOW to participate in the ‘Circular Economy’ approach.


See details about this program in the website section – ‘Recycled Sewing School Program’



Plan your clothing needs and consider only owning a reasonable amount of quality garments that you love and ones that make you feel great.

Buy from companies that are ethical in all areas of their business, including fabric development, garment making, packing and delivery, plus an interest in supporting how to care for and repair the garments that you purchase from them.


Consider purchasing as much as possible from Op Shops, which can take a little more time, though is lots of fun. Also pass on your own clothing to friends and family to be re-used or donate to the Op Shop. I loved planning my clothing around a new colour each season and then scoured the Op Shops ready for a new wardrobe. Of course, being able to sew, enabled me to buy a variety of garments that I could adjust and change to suit my size and preferred style. With a few sewing skills you can hit the Op Shops with confidence!


Learn to repair clothing when stitching breaks, buttons or zips malfunction, or holes appear.

Check out websites and you tube that have lots of instructional videos for both ‘Visible’ and ‘Invisible’ mending.


When garments are still loved and in good shape, it is a great option to re-work them and give them a second chance to shine. You can keep garment seams basically the same but re-work the length, the shape, add or subtract design features and create a completely individual new piece of clothing. It’s so much fun!


This process enables you to maintain part of the garments’ seams, but then give it a new purpose. I love to convert the body of woollen jumpers into cosy pencil skirts and then use the cuff part of the sleeves to make warm fingerless gloves! Using men’s shirts, to re-purpose, is another favourite, as they are usually made from quality fabrics with strong seams. Check photo gallery to see some of these re-purposed garments.


Some fabrics are so beautiful, or clothing so special, that recycling the fabric, is the perfect answer. When a garment no longer fits or the design is not your style, unpicking the seams and re-using the fabric to create a completely new garment is a great option, plus very satisfying!

Recycled Sewing Studio

There are no products in the cart!
Continue shopping
Cart Overview