Boomerang Bag Ballarat stitch-up

UNITED: Boomerang Bags Ballarat founders Andrea Hurley and Wendy Aston with keen sewing volunteer Althea Oliver on Wednesday night.

UNITED: Boomerang Bags Ballarat founders Andrea Hurley and Wendy Aston with keen sewing volunteer Althea Oliver on Wednesday night.

MACHINES were humming and fingers flying for a sewing bee this group hopes will catch on and come back around again.

Boomerang Bags Ballarat builds on an international movement to create and up-cycle reusable shopping bags for the community. In true Boomerang Bag spirit, once you have finished with a bag you take it back to where you found it.

The Ballarat group has been pieced together by Hattie and the Wolf’s Andrea Hurley, Ballarat Wholefoods Collective’s Wendy Aston and The Healthy Hub’s Stacey Gibson.

Each had heard about the concept in different ways – including how Boomerang Bags had taken off at FoodWorks in Buninyong – and the sustainable sewing national body put them in touch to work together on a group in Ballarat.

Ms Hurley said the group was planning an official launch, but for now, decided to get started in an open community sewing bee. Brown Hill Cricket Club rooms were filled with volunteers sewing, ironing and organising fabric.

“We’re astounded at the response, especially after we just got a post up on Facebook,” Ms Hurley said. “Being in retail, I really wanted something people could pick up rather than plastic bags. It fits in really well with all of our business.”

The sewing bee started stitching once Ballarat Wholefoods Collective had closed for the evening. Ms Aston said the collective hoped to work it into its offering of workshops, by soon teaching people to sew.

Adult disability support service Merrimu has also come on board to help cut and supply fabric. The training program has been teaching students to cut fabric to the Boomerang Bag pattern, ready for sewing, from excess op-shop and charity clothing supply.

“(Boomerang Bags) is bringing together a few businesses in Ballarat and Buninyong and that’s what’s so lovely about it as a community project,” Ms Aston said.

The group will soon start screen-printing the trademark calico labels for bags.

To find out more, or to get involved, visit Boomerang Bags Ballarat on Facebook.