Wendy with her handmade quilt

Wendy Howell is a dressmaker and textile artist from Sydney. She lives in SG with her husband, Cam, and is a regular at ANZA Stitches.

When did you discover your talent?
I grew up in the Blue Mountains surrounded by creative women. One grandmother was a talented seamstress, the other an artist who also loved textile crafts. My mother has always been my creative cheerleader, inspiring me with her own projects, be it sewing, knitting, crochet or a new recipe. My passion for sewing started in high school, after which I trained in Fashion and Garment Construction focusing on custom made clothing. This developed into a dressmaking business that specialised in bridal and formal wear.

When did you join ANZA Stitches?
The ANZA Stitches group really helped me to settle after moving to SG in 2020. The ladies became a support group as friendships grew. The creativity we share is infectious. As everyone brings their own projects, it has inspired me to try new crafts and develop my skills. We all help each other, sharing our knowledge and ideas.

Is there one area you like to specialise in?
Because of ANZA Stitches, I’m doing more patchwork and quilting, Blackwork, and Japanese sashiko and temari. Last year, I made my own traditional Peranakan beaded shoes after attending a workshop in Joo Chiat. I love that I’m helping to keep this unique craft of beading alive. Now I have a special memento from my time in Singapore that is handmade, by me, using traditional techniques.

What are you currently working on?
I always have a creative craft project (or two) on the go, be it cross stitch, bag making, embroidery or patchwork. Recently, I was introduced to a quilt pattern by Véronique’s Quilt Design (wattlebird.com.au), which I loved working on (see left). I gathered sections of material from Singapore and Australia and added hand embroidered flowers. It took around two months to complete, and each section was just the right size to travel with or work on at the weekly Stitches group meetings.

ANZA Stitches meet every Thursday morning in the ANZA office. All abilities welcome. anza.org.sg/groups/stitches