Welcome to my studio!
Sew Me School of Fashion and Design and it's parent Sew Me Australia was founded by me, Jessica Keller.
I was born in Maclean and after moving around most of my childhood I ended up settling in Wagga Wagga. Now, at that time, Wagga didn't have to much to offer, I spent most of my time with friends and family, not really thinking to much about the future.
So, what got me into sewing? I was largely inspired by my grandmother, I remember a time where we had recently moved to Wagga Wagga and my grandmother had just sat down at her sewing machine and whipped my three sisters and I some pyjamas in less than 30 minutes! She used to sew in this tiny storage room filled with fabric, haberdashery and, well, household stuff. Once she was done, she'd store it all away in a chunky sewing cabinet.
It wasn't until a few years later I mixed with the wrong crowd and decided to get out, but now what was I to do? I thought to save all my pennies and buy a sewing machine but could a 17 year old with nothing really do it? the answer to that was "YES!".
I bought my first sewing machine for $150 at a popup shop in our local Marketplace, honestly I hadn't a clue what to do. I took it home and gathered as much information as I could with our dial-up computer, books and my grandmother, but I wanted more.
I researched classes, lessons and courses local to me, but nothing seemed available. None of our local schools taught sewing, neither did our larger institutions and at that stage I was still in school so University wasn't an option. So for most of it I was a dedicate self taught student, mending, altering and making clothes for family and friends.
After dropping out of school I ended up completing 4 years of business studies where I successfully obtained 3 certificates and a diploma in business.
A few years later and during this time I got into freelance modelling, I thought my sewing journey was over given the lack of anything to do with sewing and decided to pursue another hobby or interest which lead me to dance, I started making a few outfits for myself and decided to open an online store called "Vigorous Array".
Vigorous Array allowed me to create my own collections and designs and to sell them to a select niche market. I then went on to obtain another 3 certificates in dance and became a qualified dance instructor with a dance studio owners certification through the IPSFA. I hosted events, judged at competitions and sponsored major dancers. But my success was my biggest downfall.
I signed major contracts and big deals throughout this career and slowly over time the designs weren't mine, I was no longer able to sew and keep up with demand so down went my business and down went my emotional status.
After a tough decision to close down my first business I took a break, so I packed away my machine and closed my home studio door for a while, pondering what to do now?
Then came Sew Me Australia. Initially Sew Me Australia made handmade local sustainable products to help the environment and reduce our waste output, I sold these on local marketplaces and gathered a small following, which lead me to a lot of people asking about sewing lessons and wishing they could make the products I do. I wondered the same question since, to me, making these products was easy?
I then opened my home studio up to private lessons, my first thought was a little afraid, I wondered if there was anyone actually interested in sewing since I kind of felt a little alone here, but I was wrong, turns out there are so many people interested and keen to learn about sewing! I ran as many private sewing classes as I could and saved everything I had.
During this time I passed for my certificate in Fashion Design and Dressmaking.
Sew Me School of Fashion and Design was born! I give Wagga Wagga what we've been missing for so long, a sewing school solely based on structured lessons and courses, covering all age groups and all things sewing. From fibres to starting your own sewing business, with my knowledge and experience I can help guide you from nervous now to confident future.
Pairing with other local businesses within the Riverina for workshops and special guest lessons within courses to further broaden my students minds and skills, to guide and inspire them to never give up.
Sew Me School of Fashion and Design will give you all the necessary tools and knowledge to broaden your horizons in the sewing, fashion and design field.
This is my story, now let me hear yours?