Old crafts enjoying new life, all instore

Headshot of Shannon Smith
Shannon SmithAlbany Advertiser
Elsie Gray’s owner Jo Northcott. The shop is named after her grandmother.
Camera IconElsie Gray’s owner Jo Northcott. The shop is named after her grandmother. Credit: Shannon Smith

Elsie Gray’s is proving that quilting, sewing and crocheting are not hobbies reserved for the over- 60s.

With students as young as nine taking part in workshops at the newly opened fabric and yarn store on Albany Highway, the sewing industry has just gained a hub that is encouraging everyone to learn the art.

The shop has been a lifelong dream for award-winning quilter and now store owner, Jo Northcott, who said that the response from people wanting to buy supplies, as well as learn new skills, had been overwhelming.

“There is a big generation gap with the people who haven’t sewn, and it’s not until a lot of ladies get to about 30 that they want start learning these sorts of skills,” she said.

“If you buy clothing you can take it up or take it in, you can hem the kids school uniforms — these are all the little things that a lot of people don’t know how to do.

“A lot of young girls are interested in dressmaking classes with people wanting to make their own clothes — especially with vintage and op shop clothing being the trend. It’s not an old ladies craft any more.”

The store name honours Northcott’s grandmother and sets a friendly atmosphere.

A lot of thought has been put into the space with its big, bright workshop area, colour-coordinated Australian stock and chairs outside for the men not interested in joining in.

She said that she wants the shop to help people to be more positive about local businesses.

“We all need to make the change together to shop instore instead of online, so I have tried to make sure people can have the best experience here.”

People can also purchase local hand-dyed items such as Saltwater Yarns in the store.

Elsie Gray’s will be bringing in guest tutors to teach different skills. Information on their regular workshops can be found on Facebook or Instagram.

The store will also be launching a website in coming weeks.

Elsie Gray’s is at 149 Albany Highway.

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