Voice Off, Heart On.

Island stitching by Toby




We are all living a different life now, spending most of our time at home. I read an article addressing the current situation, saying that there are three things we can do at this moment, we can help each other, do what we enjoy doing, and look for the meanings of our lives.

I went to Toby’s class last weekend. Four other students and I were learning how to sew a sleeve with fabric, needles, and thread.

Toby said she was also considering to postpone the class due to the situation of the coronavirus, but then we all agreed that this was exactly what we needed at the moment. We would like to keep our hands busy while keeping our mind at peace in that tranquil afternoon. Life has to go on, and the class also.


在服裝工業二十年的Toby曾經營個人品牌,後來主力舊衣改造、成立了lastbutnotleast,後再與Kay創立Fashion Clinic發展可持續的穿著理念。擁有豐富裁縫技術的她,近年愛上了手縫。課堂間,同學偶爾帶著狐疑發著微弱的求救信號,Toby總會適時發現並上前幫忙。


Toby has been in the fashion industry for twenty years. In recent years, she has shifted her focus to upcycling used clothes and founded the brand named lastbutnotleast. Later on, she collaborated with Kay and founded the Fashion Clinic that promotes sustainable fashion. Being an experienced seamstress, Toby has lately found her passion for hand-sewing. She is so attentive that she can always be aware of the students who are struggling with needle and thread and provides them with timely support.

When she was demonstrating, everything looked so simple and straightforward, but when it came to my turn to sew, my right hand was obviously not synchronized with my brain. I ended up battling with the tools and the fabric. Toby came to me and helped to smoothen the fabric with her two hands and found me a spot where I could easily push the needle through. “We often think we could control the fabric by using force, but it can easily slip through our hand. The most important thing is to make [the fabric] feel comfortable.”





The kids running on the beach caught my attention, I zoned out for a short moment, and the thread already started to get tangled. I had to run back into the classroom to ask for help. “When sewing, you have to imagine yourself doing massage and pull the thread gently from time to time to stop it from getting tangled.”

“What if I pushed the needle through the wrong spot, is this mistake reversible?” I was a little embarrassed after asking this question. She said, “Hmm… you can fix it with another stitch, then the wrong stitch wouldn’t be so recognizable.” Stitching is a skill to achieve the goal. Once you have understood the logic, the skill can bring you unlimited possibilities.

There are not that many students in my class, but the small group can already keep Toby busy enough with guiding us. After a while, we finally stopped asking whether we were doing it correctly. From time to time, there were some of us who lost track of the thread, or could not push the needle through. But it did not matter, because the whole experience would be boring if our skills were perfect. When facing difficulties, we just need to take a step back to observe the situation in front of us, then we can always find a solution to the problem.


這裡有我們跟她與Fashion Clinic的訪問

Visit here for our interview with Toby and the Fashion Clinic.