Diary of a Social Sewing Day at GJs

When you have a sewing day at GJs Discount Fabric coming up, it generally means the trifecta – sewing all day, no kids and fabric on tap! All of us prepare differently for the day though. Some people cut up fabric for a number of projects in advance or the night before and have their cars packed, ready to go first thing in the morning. Others power pack the morning of the sewing day and hit the road with more projects than they can possibly get through. Still others plan on doing hand sewing or cutting for future projects.

The reality is we all know we will talk too much, eat too much and buy ALL THE FABRIC. Here’s my diary of our day at GJs yesterday!


It’s Friday night and I have finally got the kids to bed. I set about cutting out my coveted Alison Glass fabric for a kaleidoscope quilt I’m making.


Any surprises that this is a rainbow?


Then I pack up my sewing machine, and my box of projects, thread, rotary cutter, bloc loc and other rulers, my rotating cutting mat, my iron and mini ironing pad (which my fab hubby helped me make!) and have them sitting at the front door ready to get up in the morning, chuck in the car and just go.

My plan is to be out the door as soon as my husband gets home from night shift at 8.30am – can’t leave before he get’s home… ya know… kids! And don’t worry – I’m not leaving the kids home with someone who has been awake all night working – Gav is a firefighter and has slept at the fire station between 11.00pm and 7.00am!

I’m excited… sewing at GJs from 9am here I come!


Car is packed, I’m dressed, kids are fed and clothed…. I’m ready to goooooooo!


Ok… so I’ve waited 20 minutes before calling – where the hell is he? Doesn’t he know about the trifecta?

Apparently he had to stop at Jaycar on the way home for some sort of techie computer-y thing he’s building… Oh my god. I’ve just lost half an hour!


I’ve arrived. I promise myself that today I am going to power chain sew, try not to talk to much (hahahahaha!) and get the blocks for this quilt top done.

Most of the girls have arrived already, but Jane has saved me a space between her and Erin and I get set up. I love the room upstairs at GJs. There’s everything you need. Ample table space, power points galore, lots of ironing boards and irons, a big cutting table with rulers and cutting mats and portable design walls – plus all the natural light you could ask for!


Alison, Jane, Monique, Kara, Kendra and Carlie – we’re a bit messy hey!


My machine is set up, I’ve got my project ready to go and I’ve also set up the time-lapse video I’m taking of our day. For at least 10 solid minutes I sew… then Erin needs some advice about which background fabric she should use for her pattern so I jump up to help her out, then I hear a gossip session happening over in the corner so I need to get over and be involved in that!

Bugger – remember your promise to yourself!! Back in front of my machine (her name is Fancy in case you’re wondering!) and I seriously power sew for at least the next hour.


Jane is using the design wall for her economy blocks


Break for morning tea. Our social sewing group generally plans ahead and we all volunteer to bring something yummy to eat. GJs has a fab kitchen and provides tea and coffee and biscuits – there’s a fridge to store food and mugs for us to use.

More gossiping and chatting – but this is just a quick break because we are all keen get back into it.

Ever wonder what a #sewcialsewing day at @gjsdiscountfabrics is like? ✂️ • Well friends… feast your eyes on the fun and festivities that is a @modernmakersretreat day sewing with the girls 🎉 There's sewing, gossiping and eating… Oh & shopping 😳 • As always, GJs provides the perfect space for a large group to sew all day in air-conditioned comfort. Be careful though, you will spend lots of money on fabric 😜 • #timelapsevideo #sewingday #gjsdiscountfabrics #socialsewing #modernquilt #moderndesign #modernmaker #modernmakersquilt #modernquilting #quiltlove #quilter #modernaussiequilter #handmadequilt #quiltsofinstagram #quiltersofinstagram #calledtobecreative #makersgonnamake #handmadelove #ilovehandmade #handmadeaustralia #handmadeisthebest #creativehappylife #livecreatively #wemakecollective #abmcrafty #abmlifeiscolorful • 📹 @jackiegillies

A post shared by Modern Makers (@modernmakersretreat) on


I loved looking back over the time-lapse we created of the day to see just what we all did with the space – there is a frenzy of activity at the cutting table, on the sewing machines, hand stitching and at the ironing boards.

Oh… and there’s a moment there when everyone crowded around my sewing machine to watch the video of Gav and I doing our wedding dance – its the last dance from Dirty Dancing… including the lifts!

Nobody puts Baby in the corner…


It’s time for lunch. I’m pretty happy with how I’m tracking and I can see that Jane has made progress with her economy blocks, Alison has been madly cutting out fabric for another cushion, Monique and Kendra have been hand stitching and chatting with Carlie who is combining both hand stitching and machine piecing. Emma is making some cute baby presents, appliquing bears onto sleeping bags, while Erin is trying to work out a new pattern for a cushion and Kara is doing some secret squirrel sewing!

Lunch is lovely – there’s frittata, cous cous salad, bruschetta, salmon and caper sandwiches, fruit and sweet treats.


Now its time for shopping! GJs Discount Fabrics has probably the biggest selection of modern quilting fabric for a bricks and mortar store in Melbourne. They also sell fabric for dance costumes but we’re here just for the modern stuff.


Fancy Forest quilt pattern by Elizabeth Hartman

With an entrance like this, you know you’re about to fall down the rabbit hole! GJs are selling the full kit for this quilt too!


Emma Jean Janson’s new range Matilda

Our favourite designers are here (Hi EJJ!) and you can grab jelly rolls, layer cakes and charm packs too.


Books and fabric and patterns… oh my!

Then you have the racks upon racks of fabric to look through and decide what to buy!


Panoramic view of GJs – where should I start?

Plus there are notions galore in case you have an emergency or run out of thread!


I have a notion I could buy thread here!

Confession time – I do not need to buy any more fabric. My stash is overflowing. BUT… I can’t help myself when I’m surrounded by fabric like this…



Can you see the Mod Corsage & rack of Cotton + Steel?



There’s my little bundle being cut just there!

To top it all off, the ladies at GJs – including Georgia the owner, Sue, Linda and all the other ladies are so lovely and helpful!

Time to get back to sewing, but not before a group shot!


Left to right: Kara, Erin, Emma, Jane, Kendra, Me!, Alison, Carlie, Monique – the crew!


OMG… where did the time go. I have an hour and half to get those blocks done and also interview Erin of @quiltbystarlight for an upcoming blog post!

Right… head down, bum up and sew like the wind.


Time to start packing up and getting ready to return to the real world of kids, partners, dinner and other things that distract us from our sewing… and our tribe. It’s a bit depressing really.

One of the conversations Erin, Alison and I have just had reminds me though how lucky we are to be part of such an amazingly supportive community. The quilty/crafty community is wonderful and its so lovely to have friends who really truly honestly “get us” – understand our passion for creating and… well… sometimes even just the fact that we like stroking the fabric we just purchased at GJs!

Thanks GJs for another fab day of sewing and laughs – see you next time!


Jackie xx


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