Bev Burton is the co-ordinator of the Bulli Corner Quilters and Bulli Connecting Threads Sewing Group who meet at the Northern Illawarra Uniting Church in Bulli.
As Bev will tell you, she comes from a family of sewing women. She has also worked in various clothing factories using a variety of machines including embroidery on jeans and flower power shirts for the surfing fraternity in the 70’s. Being the mother of three growing girls, Bev made all their clothes including school uniforms.
Bev became involved in the Uniting Church in the early 1990s and in 2002 realised that as God had given her these sewing talents it was now time to use them to greater advantage and help the local community by teaching sewing to local ladies so they could make their own children’s clothes. She was encouraged by the local Minister at the time and his wife to pursue this line, however as imported clothing became cheaper and kids only wanting brand names, the direction changed and so began Bulli Connecting Threads.
This group sews for a wide range of mission based programmes both locally and overseas and there are about 15 women who sew on the first three Wednesdays of each month. Articles sewn are mostly skirts, peasant blouses, shorts, tee shirts, library bags etc. All fabric is donated by the local community from deceased estates or from people who have stopped sewing and have an excess of material in their homes. We ask for a $2 donation from each lady to cover the electricity costs.
The summer weight fabric is used for Operation Christmas Child and the winter weight for clothes is sent to Mission Without Borders. Our projects are big and varied, requiring three rooms at the church complex filled to capacity. One for immediate sewing stuff and things cut out ready to sew, lace, threads, elastic etc., one for fabric storage and another for finished clothes ready to be sent to the clearing depot .
In 2004/5 the ladies of Bulli Connecting Threads made a quilt for a member who was in hospital and then the question was asked “Why don’t we teach quilting?”
So began Northern Illawarra Corner Quilters, now known as Bulli Corner Quilters.
The group has become an eclectic mix of ladies from all around the Illawarra Region, as well as members from the Sutherland , Southern Highlands and Campbelltown Districts. We meet on the 4th Wednesday of each month at the Northern Illawarra Uniting Church on the Princes Highway at Bulli, the group having grown from early days to 45-50 now gathering together most months.
Everyone looks forward to meeting and the talking and laughter is contagious. The group are very dedicated quilters, geared to help each other achieve their desired result.
Members have other interests besides quilting and these activities often cross over, ie. Square Dancing, Bowls, Tennis, V.I.E.W. Club etc .
We encourage anyone who makes enquiries to come and join, we don’t have a joining fee and just ask for a donation each month (usually $10) to help pay for the electricity used. Beginners are most welcome because when we started, nearly all of us had to begin from scratch and learn from each other.
Our quilting group also make many charity quilts which are donated to local groups in need as well as donations to Disaster Relief, e.g. the bushfires in the Blue Mountains.
In the early years of 2000 the Northern Illawarra Uniting Church was well renowned for their beautiful fresh flower shows arranged by the Church Ladies. In 2005 when the Quilters decided on a quilt show to show off the work that had been done, we were asked if we would like to join with the Flower Show.
So began the Bulli Quilt and Flower Show, a much anticipated and successful venture that has been going annually since then. From an initial modest display, we now have in excess of 100 quilts on show each year. The show runs over two days, usually Friday and Saturday and as the display is in the Church, we leave Sunday free for worship. The dates for 2018 are October 19 and 20.
We also have a trading table – made up of small items the ladies have made, i.e. table centres, wall hangings, small Christmas gifts, some knitted items as well as various other gift ideas.
Several local businesses are invited to attend and display their products. These are in line with our sewing/quilting activity and usually have some good bargains.
Morning/afternoon tea is always available and is supplied by the ladies in the group. We even serve you – multi talented are our ladies.
The quilts on display are those that have been made by members of our group during the time between each show. Once a quilt has been hung and if the quilter wants to show it off again, we put them over the pews in the old church as decoration. Of course, we also have quilts for sale at reasonable prices. Our hanging display is only open to Corner Quilters who also make a beautiful raffle quilt for this weekend.
We have a Challenge section where our ladies are given a specific topic on which to base their quilt. These are restricted to a specific size 50cm x 50cm and are judged by invited visiting judges. Prizes are given for 1st, 2nd and 3rd in this section.
The visiting public are asked to vote on the quilts and these are divided into 2 further categories, small and large. The 1st and 2nd place getters of these sections also receive a small prize.
If you would like to visit us, please come along to the Northern Illawarra Uniting Church, Cnr Point St and Princes Highway, Bulli. The atmosphere in this our group is always one of friendship, fun and encouragement and you will be made most welcome..
For further information or enquiries, please contact Bev on 4231 4097 or check us out on Facebook.