The National Wool Museum has launched a series of free online fashion courses and craft tutorials

The National Wool Museum has launched a series of free online fashion courses and craft tutorials

'We The Makers Create' is for you to be inspired, learn new skills and help reduce the environmental impact of the fashion industry.

Did you know that Australia is the second-highest consumer of clothing worldwide per year? Or that across the globe we dispose of one garbage truck’s worth of clothing every second?

These were some of the questions that the biennial We the Makers Design Festival asked exhibition-goers through their online exhibition exploring fashion’s sustainable future. Running online until November, the festival sees 21 emerging and professional designers from around the world create clothing that’s not just aesthetically beautiful or useful, but is also ethically produced, guided by the theme ‘Design for the Future: Sustainable and Ethical Textiles and Fashion’.

Amidst the success of the designer showcase so far, the National Wool Museum has introduced ‘We The Makers Create’, a new digital experience spawned from the success of the Designer Showcase.

Building on the core foundations of We The Makers – celebrating creativity and ingenuity in sustainable and ethical fashion design – the ‘We The Makers Create’ provides a platform for artists and craftspeople to share their skills and inspire others to start making through a range of free online fashion courses.

From courses in mending garments to refashioning a T-shirt, the detailed step-by-step guides can help anyone within the community build technical skills and confidence to experiment with sustainable fashion concepts – not just professional fashion designers and makers.

The first course will see Ruth Woods from Craft School Oz guide audiences through a range of creative mending techniques. Designed to help creatives give their clothes longevity and a touch of personality, this free course will teach the skills to mend and patch for both functionality and style.

Creative Mending is all about helping your clothes last a bit longer. It shows several mending techniques to help you do this. You can have fun with patches, mending that dreaded crotch repair that no-one wants to mention,” Ruth explains.

“It’s quite an expansive course and I think there is something there for everyone. One funny thing was a call out to my friends for items that needed mending – I had no shortage of donations.”

With a long history in design, from training as a clothing designer to running a business manufacturing clothing for women and children, studying visual arts and adult education, to teaching a Creative Business course at TAFE, Ruth draws on a wealth of experience and knowledge to present beneficial and insightful creative programs with the learner in mind.

“In my workshops, I like to encourage people to experiment and try things out. Not to get hung up about being precise and perfect,” Ruth explains of the workshop.

“It’s about the process, enjoyment, relaxing and giving it a go, chilling out especially in these current times. I hope people take away some new skills and the ability not to judge their own work and to explore some new projects they might not have done before.”

Filmed and edited by her videographer son, Ruth adds that the greatest part about participating in an online course is that you can watch them over and over again, emphasising the opportunity to go at your own pace.

“If you don’t quite understand something you can watch it again, it’s like a reference book,” she says.
“I also encourage people to email me questions if there is something they don’t understand. And this also gives me ideas for additional things that can be included.”

Not only encouraging creatives to make, mend, refashion and re-purpose from home, but the fashion courses also inspire reflection on the challenges to our health, communities and economies, alongside a new perspective to our fast lives and fast fashion. One where we can be slower, thrifty and creative with how we consume fashion.

The other course currently available is with Designer Showcase finalist, Ana Fernanda Covarrubias, who will make you fall in love with your old t-shirts again, reducing your fashion waste and diversify your wardrobe. Future course releases over the coming months will cover ideas such as refreshing old garments and making jewellery from waste.

Within We The Makers Create platform, you’ll also find a range of short videos and tutorials from local artists, makers and custodians of cultural arts. Giving viewers an insight into techniques and crafts they may not have seen before, the videos introduce new skills and ideas to try at home, from fabric gift wrapping to Iraqi embroidery and Karen weaving. One of the videos we would recommend checking out is the one with Regional Victorian Artist and maker, Megan Anderson, who guides you through the steps to make a simple three-layered face mask with ties.

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We The Makers CREATE presents Inspiration @ Home – Mask Making Regional Victorian Artist and maker, @megan_anderson_artist, guides you through the steps to make a simple three-layered face mask with ties. You can use materials you have at home to make this mask. You can see more of Megan’s work on her Instagram. Important note: this mask design offer basic community protection, it is not medical grade. We encourage you to visit the Department of Health and Human Services website to see the recommendations on making and wearing masks. @paulineoshannessydowlingartist @sovereign.hill_ #WTMC #WTM #ISOactivities #NWM #TheNationalWoolMuseum #geelong #exhibition #thingstodo #wool #fun #sustainable #fashionsustainability

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There’s also a dedicated section just for the mini makers, aimed at encouraging kids and families to get creative using yarn. You’ll find guides on how to create pom-poms, woven clouds, finger-knitting, and woven rainbows, as well as StoryCraft videos to combine fun craft activities and stories.

Pulling it all together, the platform includes a public gallery for everyone to explore and share their creations. Emerging artists can even promote themselves by adding links to their websites and social media accounts. Everyone can be inspired by the breadth of ideas and skills.

Whether you’re needing a heavy injection of creative inspiration or you’re just looking to learn a new skill, We The Makers Create is here to remind you that all of us can be makers, and it’s one way we can engage in sustainable practices.


Recognising the impact of the pandemic on artists and the broader community, all content in the website is available free through support from the National Wool Museum and the City of Greater Geelong.

The We the Makers Design festival is also still available to view online until November 22.