When I was at the Finders Keepers market in early October, I came across a stall with the most beautiful dresses, perfect for a spring wedding, a high tea or even the races. The brand was M'agapi. In my post market research, I saw that the brand sources fabrics from local Melbourne industries, as well as supporting charities. In September, M'agapi donated 50% made from online sales to Cerebral Palsy research.
I emailed Jackki the designer and dressmaker - at that stage we hadn't met - and asked her if I could feature her and her beautiful dresses on my blog. I was thrilled she said yes - and even more thrilled when she agreed to doing a giveaway of one of her dresses!
She invited me to meet her a few weeks later at the North Melbourne Thread Den market, and I tried on a dress. It was absolutely perfect, and so I bought it. It's called 'The Marilyn', this one is a mini, which is perfect for my five foot one stature (dresses come in three lengths), and I am so excited by the collar! The back of the dress features a sharp tipped collar, dipping into a deep v. Dresses come in 8,10 and 12 - the 10 is what in wearing in this photo but I chose to size up on purchase as I knew I'd be layering it over a long sleeved tee, and that meant I was a tad too busty for the 10. The dresses all have a limited fabric run - Jackki told me she had no more material left in the dresses both she and I are wearing. (In the interests of disclosure, I received a discount for the dress I purchased.)
Meet Jaccki from M"agapi!
What’s your name?
What’s your business name?
"m'agapi [it's Greek for "with love"]"
Who works with you?
"I do all the sewing my husband and relatives lovingly help me out at the markets :)"
What do you make?
"I started out with woman's clothing, now I also do baby and kids clothing and accessories, and basic home wares like cushion letters and quilts."
How long have you been making your art?
"The concept started in 2009 but officially launched in 2011."
Tell me about your creative process? Where do you get ideas from? Where do you source materials?
"I have a passion for pattern making and have always been obsessed with multifunctional uses so I tend to design pieces that are versatile and practical. I design for my family and friends - what they would want in an item. For example, the latest summer dresses were inspired from a friend who wanted a 1950s dress for her wedding. Because the cut is fairly simple and classic; I added self facing hem band to give the dress a bit more weight and bounce. I also added pockets because well every girl needs pockets :) I make baby bibs (designed for my 8 months old son) which have three layers of fabric for super absorbency. I make reversible sun hats for my almost three years old daughter to play in the sun. I've made large cushion letters to decorate sofas and chairs and a friend suggested for me to downside them to hang in her daughter's room. So you see, a lot of ideas come from friends and families."
Do you balance a day job with your creative pursuit? Is this hard? If your dressmaking is your day job, did you have to consider making a jump from a day job?
"I have a full time job as a production manager for a wonderful australian made knitwear company. I have two beautiful kids which also means late nights sewing after fighting them for baths and bed. But I'm very lucky to have a very understanding and supportive husband and in laws who cook us dinner and baby sit when required. I don't think I would be able to manage doing what I love without their help. Sometimes I wish there were more hours in a day!"
What drives you to create? I grew up around sewing machines and made my first dress at age 11.
"I love to challenge myself and think outside the square. Sometimes I would design the hardest piece just to see if I can sew it up! If it can be done on the sewing machine, I will attempt it."
What’s the hardest thing about being a creative?
"When you're excited about coming up with an (original) idea but someone else launched it before you it's a bit disheartening. Even when you tweak it further to make it your own it still feels second best therefore you don't promote it as it deserves."
What’s the best thing about being a creative?
"Buying fabric! Where people normally buy shoes and bags, I have an obsession with fabric. It's exciting to see what can be done with them especially when it turns out exactly like how you've envisioned."
What advice would you give to up and coming creatives?
"Love what you do. and I mean LOVE it without question. When you love what you do, it's very endearing and it shows in your work. Buyers are more appreciative of your effort and tend to return just to see what else you've made."
Tell me about the creative community? Are you a part of it? Online/offline/markets/classes?
"I sell my wares online at MadeIt and I'm a regular at North Melbourne Market."
How can we reach you? What’s your website, store, social media platforms?
Jackki is kindly giving away the "burnt out dress". She describes it as a "super cool dress that will take you throughout the day by adding a few statement accessories. Wear with heels or boots for a fantastic day/night out! This dress is one size (8-12) Designed to be loose fitting. Has binding around neckline and babylocking at the hem. Fabric is 100% Rayon and is slightly see through (you may choose to wear a slip underneath the dress) Model is 172cm tall, belt is not included."
To win this dress, tell Jackki and I where you'd wear this dress to?
Entries close 5.00 pm 15 November 2013. Please leave your email address so I can contact you if you win!