Posted by: Debra Kolkka | September 1, 2018

#Who made your clothes?

If you live in Brisbane that could be me. My spring Pop Up shop starts on Monday September 10th and will be open every day until Saturday 15th September.

I have been gathering fabric for years. I have some pieces dating back to the 1960s when I first began sewing. I eventually decide what to make with them.

I have found a huge warehouse near Florence where I can buy ends of lines, perfectly good fabric that might otherwise end up in landfill.

The fabrics I collect are all made into garments on my trusty Bernina which is more than 50 years old. It was given to me by my grandfather when I was about 12.  I learned to sew on it and it has made most of my clothes and my son’s clothes when he was young (until he decided it was uncool to wear clothes made by his mother).Click here to read more about this treasure.

My Bernina

It used to sew all the garments in the shop I had in the city until I gave it up about 15 years to spend more time in Italy. Click here to see more on my fashion past. Now I do the occasional Pop Up shop because I like making things.

I make casual summer clothes in cotton and linen, perfect for our Brisbane weather. Here is a sample of what I have made this time.

Pop Up September 2018

Pop Up September 2018

Pop Up September 2018

Pop Up September 2018

Pop Up September 2018

Pop Up September 2018

Pop Up September 2018

Each piece is individually cut, made with care and designed to last.

Prices range from $70 – $120 and there will be a rack of garments from previous Pop Ups at $40.

Just as we now want to know where our food comes from, I think we need to ask where and how our clothing is made. It is a complex issue and we can’t expect to shut down sweatshops overnight, but some thought needs to go into the throw away attitude we have developed over the past few decades. Buy less, buy better and keep it longer.

My Pop Up will be at Sarva, the shop of my lovely friend who lets me use his space occasionally. He makes great clothes to measure and is a whizz at alterations.


239 Boundary St, corner Corbett St

West End.


Monday 10th September – Saturday 15th September

10.00am – 4.00pm



  1. I love your sense of style. I also live part of the year outside of Florence( Montecatini Terme), and the remainder of the year in Alabama, USA. I sew for my fifteen grandchildren, 12 and under. Would you be willing to share where I could find some end of the line fabrics near Florence? Years ago I purchased most of my fabric in Prato. This would just be for sewing for family, and quilting. Thanks!

    • I am happy to share! Go to Gori Tessuti in Sesto Fiorentino. I wrote a post on it several years ago. I was called “The biggest fabric shop I have ever seen”. I go there every time I am in Italy. It is huge.

  2. Great pieces to pick up for Summer 2018 at this Pop Up – I admire and follow both Debra and Sam.

    • I am lucky to have Sam.

  3. Timeless elegance and those cute details. That is what makes all your pieces unique.

    • My garments are easy to wear and great for our hot summers.

  4. I wish I was going to be in Brisbane Debra…your clothes look gorgeous and I love that they are cotton and linen! I still have a holiday at your’s on my agenda…life got in the way this year!

    • Thank you. I wish you were in Brisbane too.

  5. OH!!! POOR ME! I desperately wish I could come to your pop up shop. It grieves me that I never learnt to sew. Your neck-lines are gorgeous. c

    • Thank you. I am happy that I learned to sew when I was very young.

  6. Debra, what beautiful work! Every time you post about your pop up I am tempted to ask how you feel about shipping something, as I would love one of your pieces. Good luck with the sale!

    • Thank you. I hope it goes well.

  7. Thank you Debra for the lovely story of how your sewing skills and creativity began. I too have a story which began at age 12 and has inspired me to sew every since. Perhaps I should think of a “pop up shop” for all of my decorator fabrics that I can’t part with!😊

    Belinda from San Diego

    • I have a room full of fabrics that I am trying to work through. The trouble is that I keep buying more! Perhaps you could try a Pop Up too.

  8. You are so talented and have such a good eye for style.

    • Thank you! I hope others agree.

  9. I wish you well with your latest pop up. I can attest to the fine quality of a Debra-made garment. And they’re lovely, too.

    • Thank you. I hope all is good with you.

  10. You are so adept, Deb. The simple designs show off the beautiful materials you buy and bring to Brisbane.

    • I like to sew. This is a good way for me to keep busy.

  11. Wow what a talent! I can’t sew for anything so I admire people that can do so well 🙂

  12. Oh, how I wish I could visit your Pop Up shop. You are a talented seamstress and have great taste too. I had a trusty Bernina, also about 50 years ago and usded it almost daily. Alas, the motor eventually blew up and couldn’t be fixed. I was devastated and never found an acceptable replacement. They just don’t make them like they used to. Good luck with your sales. 🙂

    • Thank you. I hope my Bernina see me out.

  13. How exciting! I’m wishing you all luck with your pop up shop! 😀

    • Thank you. I like sewing and this is a good outlet for me.

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