Wanaka’s crafty folk have united to create Fabricate, a community sewing workshop, under the same roof of what is known as — but is not really — the ‘‘men’s shed’’.
When complete, Fabricate should allow people to ‘‘do the whole shebang’’, designer Sue James›Moore says.
Wanaka Community Workshop committee member Alan Richardson says the synergies between the workshops would allow organisations to ‘‘connect the dots’’ and provide more opportunities to share and learn.
The workshop was founded in 2021 by sewing industry business› men Ben Acland (Mons Royale) and Gwilym Griffith-Jones (Cactus).
The initiative has boomed. Although never intended to be a men’s shed, retired male carpenters, builders and other tradies have flocked to it in droves to do projects, repairs, share knowledge and tools.
Along the way they have picked up funding to make things needed by other groups, such as rat traps for Wanaka Backyard Trapping and nesting platforms for grebes.
In February, Wanaka designers Sue James-Moore and Claire O’Connell asked for help with Fabricate. They were delighted to get an instant ‘‘yes’’ from workshop trustees Mr Acland and Mr Griffith-Jones.
Everyone is so enthusiastic about The Repair Shop›style synergies, the fitout has been put on the fast›track with the hope it will open this month.
‘‘It has been an amazing outcome for us. It is something we both wanted to do,’’ Mr Acland said.
‘‘It was incorporated to do other things than woodwork . . . so these guys are going to help make benches, layout tables, shelving, painting and electric work,’’ Mr Griffiths-Jones said.
Mrs O’Connell and Mrs James› Moore both own design businesses and decided to join forces to share and teach design, sewing and pattern›making skills but did not know the trustees had sewing backgrounds.
‘‘Sue rang Ben because his name was on the workshop website. He pounced on us straight away and we met the next day, then met Gwilym a week later. They are leaving the whole creation of the idea with us . . . And we’ve been going hard,’’ Mrs O’Connell said.
Mrs James›Moore said she was looking forward to an inspiring space where people could draft patterns, make or remake clothing, and do upholstery, furnishings and interior design.