By Vibrant Dot Staff
I have an unused electric sewing machine hidden under my bed. I bought it from an electrical fair, and left it there for years as I simply wasn’t very sure how to operate a sewing machine.
I certainly love to make my own clothes. On top of that, it is every little girl’s dream to make her own dress, isn’t it? We all prefer better fitting blouses that accentuate our body shape and enhance the way we look. And most of the European fast fashion brands are catered to Caucasians and their clothes could be ill-fitting for Asians.
The dress would be of incalculable value if it is handmade; moreover, it is our own fashion style, reflecting our own taste and personality which cannot be replicated by anyone else on the street.
The satisfaction of making your own clothes that fit you is beyond words. You cannot buy it.
Shareen, the brainchild of Fashion Makerspace
How should I utilise my sewing machine and create made-to-measure clothing? After googling ‘sewing class in Singapore’, I came across Fashion Makerspace and decided to visit them to find out more.
The three masterminds of Fashion Makerspace – Danlin, Hailey and Shareen – could be earning a better pay working as fashion designers in reputable firms, but their belief in bringing back the culture of DIY & dressmaking skills into the hands of the designer ardently drives them to come together to work towards this cause.
Since November 2014, they have been living their dream of putting together a one-stop-shop combining community, fashion design and dressmaking where they share and impart their knowledge.
Every day at their cosy shop at Trengganu Street, they teach like-minded students to sketch the design, draft the pattern, cut the fabric, and sew it all up to create bespoke garments or fashion accessories.
Danlin is a petite and vivacious lady whose forte is in pattern-making. She is classically trained under veteran patternmakers, including renowned Japanese couture designer Shingo Sato. Danlin is most adept in making Fashion, and has an unending passion to figure out how things work.
Hailey, a 2nd Upper Hons Fashion Design & Textiles graduate from LaSalle College of the Arts, has developed a penchant for dressmaking since young. When she was 16, she enrolled in a sewing class organised by the Community Centre, but was rejected due to her young age.
The sweet lady has won numerous accolades and her fashion designs were even featured at Germany’s Next Top Model. Having worked as a sportswear designer and alongside a few local designers, she feels that the fashion industry in Singapore is rather small and competition is stiff.
Hailey loves it when her friends ask her about the clothes she wears. “And they would ask me to teach them how to make those fashion pieces,” she says. So when Shareen brought up the idea of Fashion Makerspace – a one-stop sewing community to share knowledge – Hailey happily obliged.
“I thought that would be quite interesting. This is quite a popular concept in the US and Europe [that] we had yet to see in Singapore,” enthuses Hailey.
“Fashion Makerspace can be a cosy community where people just hang out, relax and have fun. Sewing can be really fun; it shouldn’t be strict and competitive.”
Shareen, the brainchild of Fashion Makerspace, ventured into fashion a bit later in life. She was working in the real estate industry, which was not her cup of tea. She had hoped to fulfill her childhood interest, so the adventurous lass saved up enough money to pursue Fashion Design at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM) in Los Angeles.
While interning for companies like BCBG Maxazria in Los Angeles, she found the “sharing ethos” embraced in the States endearing, and was inspired to bring back this “makerspace spirit” to Singapore. Now, she has truly found her path and vows to form a fashion makerspace where like-minded people can make, learn, explore and share their knowledge.
Hailey, who yearns to expose herself overseas, remarks, “Singaporeans are more academic-based but lacking in hands-on skill sets.”
“In other countries, they prize hands-on work because they get paid more,” says Danlin whose personal dream is to train people working in the sweatshops so that they can upgrade their skills to earn a better income.
Thankfully, hope is there as there has been a surging interest in handmade clothing. Currently, they have 30 regular clients and their calendar for customised classes is filled to the brim.
Looking at the course brochure, I realise that one can level up their drafting and sewing skills by constructing a pair of classic women’s pants with fly-front and a fit-and-flare sleeveless dress in the “Sewing + Patternmaking Intermediate: Pants & Dress” class.
But before I can achieve that, being a novice at sewing, I have to begin with “Fashion Sewing 101”, a 1.5-hour session that costs only $15.
Currently, they have 30 regular clients and their calendar for customised classes is filled to the brim.
Besides the basic 101 class, which teaches one to operate a sewing machine, Fashion Makerspace’s classes range all the way from advanced sewing techniques, patternmaking, alterations, kidswear classes, fun craft classes, digital classes, customised classes to classes for kids!
“We all have kinda different strengths within fashion, so I think our skills are complementing each other, thus we are able to offer classes in many different aspects,” says Danlin.
Their kidswear classes are particularly popular. Who wouldn’t want to doll up their little prince or princess with their handmade sundress or Hawaii shirt?
“We had many mothers coming in, wanting to sew for their kids, so we started this and the response is picking up quite well,” says Shareen, who has the idea of teaching children with autism and slower learning abilities sewing skills so that they could have a means of livelihood in the future.
For customised classes, they charge a minimum rate of $25 an hour for a one-to-one consultation.
Hailey shares, “We met an interesting guy who came to us hoping to learn how to make underwear. We had some girls who wanted to sew their own bridal dress.”
Shareen reveals it is so much fun making your own clothes. She chirps, “The satisfaction of making your own clothes that fit you is beyond words. You cannot buy it.”
What wise words. I decided to sign up for their class to revel in the joy of DIY dressmaking.
Fashion Makerspace Pte Ltd
Address: 10A Trengganu Street
Tel: +65 6802 5482