Introducing Erin, from Hawes and Freer Ltd

We’re excited to welcome New Zealand based textile and trimmings company Hawes and Freer Ltd as a new sponsor on The Monthly Stitch.

I caught up with Erin to learn a bit more about what lovely supplies they have and to learn some great sewing tips. H&F are coming up on 100 years in business so they must know a thing or two!

Hi Erin! First up, tell us a bit about your company. How did it start, where are you based, what kinds of products do you sell?

Hawes & Freer Ltd started in 1922 and has evolved into  a textile and trimming specialist company, working within the NZ and wider Oceania rag-trade industry. At Hawes & Freer we focus on bringing the best quality products for designers and manufacturers to produce their fashion garments. We recently opened up our range to the wider sewing community by developing our website.

Our aim is to allow any sewing enthusiast the opportunity to purchase higher quality products that are not available from retail. Our  range includes European fusible interlinings, Italian buttons, zips, jacquard and changeant linings. We also have Italian wools, 100% Turkish cotton shirting’s and silk from the Jiangsu regions of china. We are the sole supplies in NZ to a hand-made sewing tool company from the UK, Merchant & Mills. We stock most of their range including Sheffield steel scissors and self-threading needles.

Come and visit us in St Lukes Auckland, to meet our knowledgeable and fantastic team, and see our ranges of products.

What do you love the most about working at Hawes and Freer? 

The people. This is a fun dynamic industry full of interesting characters and passionate designers.

Reckon you can give us a sneaky peek behind the scenes at Hawes and Freer? We’d love to see some photos 😉 

Fuse press

Rolling machine


What’s your favourite item in the store at the moment?

It’s difficult to choose as we stock such a variety of products, so I’ll tell you my top 3.

  1. Our Italian made river-shell buttons.
  2. Our extremely light-weight interlining B200W, which works amazing on sheer silk fabrics.
  3. Everything in the Merchant & Mills sewing tool range, but particularly the Teflon coated 10” sheers – they cut like butter.

Are there any exciting new items just arrived or coming soon to your store that you’d like to share with us?

There are always new items as advances in technology flow through to fabrics, luxurious fibres and technical products become sleeker and ergonomically improved.

Is there an item in your store you’d like to educate us about, something we should all own?

A product Hawes & Freer stock that is often miss-understood is fusing. If we could educate everyone on the importance and differences between qualities for this product it could save everyone a lot of time and heartache.

Interlinings are the invisible framework of a garment. They contribute to the appearance, durability, comfort and quality of the finished product. There is so much to share but I will briefly summarise the most important facts below:

There are 3 types of interlining:

  1. Knit – used for most soft garment uses.
  2. Woven (including canvas)– great for woven fabrics, especially cotton shirting.
  3. Non-woven – a cheaper version of the two above.

There are different weights and qualities of interlining for different fabrics and end uses, for example:

Fuse description Fabric match Garment examples Our interlining codes
Light weight fusible Silks, sheers, chiffons. For use in blouses and dresses. B200W – Super-light knit1230 – Light knit1703 – Light knit
Medium Weight Fusible Cottons, linens, Silks. Yokes in dresses and tops. Waistbands in pants, shorts, skirts.Note: this is the most common fusible for use in most garment construction. 1708 – Soft knitM902 – Shirt fuse
Heavy weight fusible Wools, textured fabrics, heavy silks. Jackets and coats. 8455 – Jacket4290 – Heavy Jacket
Canvas Tailored suiting. 8019

If you want to learn more about interlinings, we have made a fantastic guide book which you can purchase here.

See all our interlining products here.

Do you sew, knit or craft yourself? What do you enjoy making the most?

Yes, I personally do a lot of home craft and sewing. My interest in textiles began early on and I found myself studying it at Massey uni for 4 years. My favourite thing to make is knitted booties, using a pattern that has been handed down through my family for years.

Pretend we’re sending you on a deserted island sewing holiday. We’ll give you a machine and all the notions you’ll need, but which 5 items from your store would you bring with you?

Tricky to limit this to just 5 items, but I would need the following to survive:

  1. A pair of the Merchant & Mills Teflon coated sheers.
  2. A selection of sizes from our Horn and Shell button range.
  3. Meters of our beautiful Silk CDC in ivory and black to make some luxurious sundresses.
  4. A box of the Merchant & Mills entomology pins to use when sewing the silk, and a Hawes & Freer tape measure too.
  5. A 2m length of the Soktas 100% Egyptian cotton shirting called LOGAN in white. Can’t be stuck on an island without a crisp white summer shirt too!

Do you have a great sewing tip to share with us?

Always press as you go. An iron should be like an extension of your right arm when sewing… but if in doubt always ASK JAN.

Hawes & Freer are offering 20% off online purchases (excluding Merchant and Mills) with the code ‘INDIE2015’ until 30 June

Thank you Erin for sharing a sneak peek behind the scenes of Hawes & Freer and all your great products. I know all our readers will appreciate you taking the time to share your useful interlining tips too, now we can all chose the perfect interlining for each garment we make.

Join the conversation! :)

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