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Make a Utility Apron with Fashion Designer SZN

Molly McLaughlin

Local fashion designer Suzan Dlouhy left Canberra for the bright lights of Melbourne, but she is returning in June to teach a hand-sewing workshop as part of Hotel Hotel’s Fix and Make series.

The workshop will teach participants how to make a utility apron from pre-loved now unloved denim, and Suzan also will be answering questions about sewing and the fashion industry more generally.

“The idea is that we’ll deconstruct some pairs of jeans,” she explains, “and then we’ll look at what kind of apron we want to make, and which part of the denim to use. Depending on how the jeans have been worn, where the holes are, where you can use certain features to enhance your apron or make it adaptable to the situation.”

As well as working on SZN, Suzan teaches sewing classes at The Social Studio in Melbourne, which is a not for profit social enterprise dedicated to improving the lives of young Australians from a refugee or migrant background. Her students use donated fabrics, mostly scraps, which she believes teaches them to design flexibly.

Suzan Dlouhy

Suzan Dlouhy

She is equally passionate about fashion and sustainability; studying fashion at CIT after first dabbling in environmental policy study and a stint in the public service.

“In my final year I got more into upcycling because I needed to make a graduate collection at a low cost, so I was looking for free fabric,” she laughs. “I used scraps from other designers and grabbed clothes from the Green Shed. It’s hard to make fashion sustainable – there are so many choices you can make. Just buying from a local designer is a sustainable choice in itself.”

For those of us attempting to move away from overconsumption of fast fashion, Suzan designs with these qualities in mind.

“I always encourage my customers to buy less and choose well,” she says. “A lot of my stuff is oversized so it will fit over many years if you fluctuate sizes. I also make sure that the designs will last with your style over a longer period.”

Many of Suzan’s designs incorporate denim, like the utility apron that she will be making at the Fix and Make workshop, because it is a durable and versatile fabric.


“I love denim,” she says. “As a whole item it can be very specific, but once you cut it up it has a great texture and finish, and it’s timeless. It’s got endless transformation in it as a fabric.”

Suzan will be showing her designs in Canberra at FASHFEST later in the year. Her most recent collection is made using zero waste techniques and organic fibres, and she remains focussed on small-scale production.

“I run a label from half of a bedroom, I don’t have a big studio! Hopefully people will get into the idea that making something doesn’t have to mean a lot of equipment, a lot of skill, or a lot of time.”

the essentials

What: Fix and Make’s Utility Apron workshop with SZN
Where: Hotel Hotel
When: Saturday 11 June. Multiple sessions from 9am-12pm, 10.15am-1.15pm and 11.30-2.30pm
Tickets: $95 or $60 concession. Purchase them here: hotel-hotel.com.au/fixandmake/events/make-a-utility-apron

Images supplied


Molly McLaughlin

Molly McLaughlin is new to Canberra and is attempting to prove to her friends that the capital city can be cool. This mostly involves frequently going out for brunch and then posting about it on social media, along with trekking up hills and around art galleries. She is half way through her uni degree but spends most of her time reading, writing and planning her next adventure. More about the Author

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