purple rose head shot cropped

Hi and welcome to Dodgy Zebra. I’m Mary.  By day, I’m an engineer helping to bring sustainability into the built environment – in other words, saving the planet one building at a time. By night – and early mornings and weekends- I am a somewhat prolific sewist (intermediate) and designer (very much still a beginner) and an avid cyclist (once was competitive but now more of a joy-rider).

I live in the beautiful city of Sydney, Australia with my husband but hail from the equally spectacular city of Cape Town, South Africa. This blog will follow my adventures into sewing, designing and other exploits.

Where did it all begin?

I have always been interested in making things with my hands to various levels of enthusiasm and skill.  My mom, a single parent, doctor, cyclist, go-getter extraordinaire, was not a seamstress or crafter at all and still can’t figure out where my interest emerged from. Maybe it was my nanny taught me to knit when I was 6 years old. Rather than knitting teddies and dolls like other little girls, I was knitting stuffed Land Rovers (must be my African childhood) and pirate eye patches.  Then in junior school we lived down the road from a very industrious friend, Estelle, who got us sewing skirts out of pillow cases and “jungle kids” skirts.  We even designed and made our own backless shirts (we were WAY before our time!).

There was a bit of a hiatus during high school and university and then the bug struck again with avengence. I tried my hand at sewing from patterns and cutting off patterns from other clothes.  Some projects worked beautifully and some where a disaster.  So I took some lessons and things have just gone from there.  My most ambitious project was The Big Dress (more on that later) for my wedding in March 2011.  More recently I’ve been trying my hand at pattern making and now blogging!

What’s with the weird name “Dodgy Zebra”?

As I already mentioned, I come from South Africa where zebras are part of our identity and their beautiful design makes them look like the most fashionable of animals.  As South Africans we also love to convince poor unsuspecting foreigners (usually Americans) that we actually ride zebras to school and have pet cheetahs. So, of course, when I studied my undergrad in the US, the stories were abounding and whenever anyone would say “zeeebra” I would correct them and say “It’s zeh’bra – we have them so I think I should know” :-).  I also said “dodgy” a lot so I became known as the ‘dodgy zebra’.  The name kinda stuck and the group of awesome girls that I lived with became known as the Dodgy Zebras.


And here I am taking Dodgy Zebra to the next level with a clothing label and a blog.

Thank you for joining me on this journey and I hope you enjoy the adventure.  I’d love to hear from you.

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