Posted on November 20 2017
One of the joys of my time in the rag trade has been the people I’ve met and worked with over the long haul. I’ve known dressmaker Yvonne Burton for 17 years, since my days with the i67 label. She now makes most of Pekho’s clothes.
Yvonne was a true find. She’s also become a friend. She’s 66, and I’m dreading the day she retires. It’s rare to find someone who fits the slow fashion mould in quite the way she does.
Yvonne works from her home in Bassendean, which she shares with her sister, her Mum, a dog, two cats, four chickens and a formidable spoon collection.
What were you doing before I came along and started cracking the whip?
I was making uniforms. That got a bit much – I was working from 5am to 10pm seven days a week, so I gave it away after 10 years. I started sewing when I was a little girl, making dolls clothes. We emigrated to Perth from England when I was 14. After school I worked at clothing factories, then studied at TAFE and went out on my own. My business is named for the tiny town I come from, Burnham Thorpe.
Describe your work space
My sewing room is a converted garage in the little cottage that I grew up in. It’s got one big cutting table, two sewing machines and an overlocker. There’s fabric everywhere, patterns everywhere and scissors everywhere!
Who else is there?
It’s just me. My sister Lorraine is retired now but she used to help out a bit. She’d sew on the odd button or do a bit of overlocking.
What’s your average day?
I start at 7.30am and finish at 4.30pm. Some days I cut out, and other days I sew and iron. I enjoy it enough to make stuff for myself and friends if I get time.
Do you shop?
Never. I hate shopping. It’s one of my pet hates. Everything in my wardrobe I made myself.
How would you describe your own style?
Very casual. Pants and tops, or a shirt dress or shift. I used to make tailored pants, but I dress for comfort now.
What’s down time for you?
The rose garden and the veggie garden. That’s my other life. I always say if I could sew weeds, I’d be rich. I probably have more weeds than veggies, but I am getting on top of them. I’d spend all day and all night in the garden if I could.
What are you harvesting?
Potatoes, cabbages, peas, carrots, beetroot, broccoli, cauliflower. I’ve got a couple of apple trees and two big pecan trees. The veggie patch is not as big as it was, but it’s big enough to feed the family.
What would you like more of?
I don’t think there’s anything I need.