It’s getting cold outside, but before isolating yourself in the confines of your apartment and getting depressed about the Berlin Winter, I can recommend you to spend time with Siobhán O'Callaghan at one of her UNISEW workshops.
Before she settled in Berlin in 2013, Siobhán studied fashion design in Ireland, and worked in London with established designers. She recently started the new series of workshops focusing on unisex garments. So far, it is the only unisex sewing workshop in Berlin.
It was one of those ugly, rainy November days in Berlin when I went to Siobhán’s UNISEW Designer Series #1 Culottes workshop that took place at the beautiful sewing cafe Kinkibox in Friedrichshain. The goal was to sew a pair of unisex culottes, calf-length trousers resembling a skirt. Ah, very ambitious, I thought. I can’t remember the last time I took out my old sewing machine.
I entered the café and Siobhán welcomed me warmly. After all participants gathered, Siobhán started patiently explaining the procedure, step by step. If you have any experience in sewing, you will know that preparation is everything. In the beginning, it is just a large piece of fabric and an idea, and in the end you should have a wearable piece of clothing.
We started by cutting the fabric, overlocking, and finally sewing all of the pieces together. And, oh wonder, I even made pockets and an elastic waistband during the eight hours of the workshop. Time was flying fast, I lost the thread again and again, and broke a needle or two, but thanks to Siobhán’s patience and skills, we all went home happy and proud with our own self-sewn pair of culottes.
And that is UNISEW’s mission - advocating slow fashion. The hands-on workshops won’t only teach you lifelong skills and make you cherish your handmade clothes, you will also begin to see through and understand how a piece of clothing is made. The workshops also offer a sociable place in a gender-neutral setting to discuss and share information about local and sustainable fashion resources. So instead of buying fast fashion, consider to visit one of Siobhán O'Callaghan UNISEW’s workshops. Learn new skills and sew a carefully designed and valued item for your wardrobe!
Check out the next workshop and learn how to adapt your existing clothes:
‘UNISEW FIT #1 Resize & Repair’ on Sunday November 27th - more info
Reach Siobhán at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Text by Ana Vrgoc, photos by Samuel James Harries