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Garment Workshops

In just four lessons, Dixi Bankier can teach someone how to sketch a fashion design, cut it out, sew it and be model-ready for the runway – all from scratch.

Over four Saturdays in August, supported by City of Darwin, Bankier leads intensive workshops with the goal of creating a garment to enter in the NTeen Fashion Festival, with the possibility of going on to the Apex Australia Teenage Fashion and Arts Festival in Perth in November. 

“Most have never touched a sewing machine, have never pinned anything in their life or used a pair of scissors to cut out fabric – so it’s a fairly intensive, fast way to get them to make something,” says Bankier.

“We take them from an idea for a design through every stage to making a finished garment.”

Not everyone can stick to the four-week course, but those that do commit learn a precious new set of skills that many keep for life. 

Two of Bankier’s younger Darwin sewers attended her community workshops in their pre-teens and two years later are accomplished sewers, one even set on becoming a fashion designer.

“I’m impressed by someone who has a design in their head and knows that’s what they want to make,” Bankier says. 

“Most often, attendees think they know what they want to make but when it comes down to it, to choose the fabric that will suit, to choose the colours – they have no idea of all the design principles. We try to give them a quick lesson on what goes together.”

The experience of putting a garment collection together for the NTeen Fashion Festival is close to the real hurl and burl of a professional show Bankier insists, and getting through to the Perth festival is a real achievement.

“The experience of doing it and becoming involved in the fashion parade is what it’s like anywhere in the world."

Every Sat 5 – 26 Aug | 1-4pm | Darwin Community Arts |


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