Shop News: USPS Shipping!

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This has been in the works for a while, and I’m so excited to finally make it official!

Customers in the USA: We now ship with USPS!

This is an awesome development for so many reasons. Blackbird is based in Canada and until now, we have used Canada Post exclusively. This has worked great for us, but I have always felt like there must be a better way for us to serve our neighbours in the US. Well, I’m proud to say that we have found a better way!

How does it work?

It’s pretty simple. We work with a courier that brings packages across the border to ship via USPS. Really small packages ship First Class, and everything else ships Priority.

Okay, but how long does this take?

As usual, we ship orders 1-2 times a week. Since the packages are making their way from Vancouver, British Columbia to Blaine, Washington, it takes a couple of extra days for them to get into the US postal system. Then it’s just 2-4 business days to you!

How much does it cost?

Real talk: the cost will be higher than what you’re used to paying for regular USPS shipping. We are paying a company for this service and we also have to take into account currency conversion. But across the board, it costs less than Canada Post, and there are other advantages too. Read on.

To make things simple, I’ve set up flat rates based on weight. Shipping costs will range from $4.50 – $25 (Canadian dollars). In US dollars that’s just $3.50 – $19 for shipping. WHAT!

Side note: There’s a real-time currency conversion button on the top right-hand corner of our website, so you can view pricing in US dollars. Just keep in mind, your e-mail invoice will always show Canadian dollars, and your credit card or Paypal will take care of the actual currency conversion.

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What are the advantages?

No duties or import taxes. Yes, you read that right. Our customers in the US no longer have to worry about import taxes or duties.

Everything includes tracking. In the past, smaller packages did not include tracking. Now everything does, no exceptions.

It’s faster. You’ll get your fabric faster, plain and simple! Canada Post takes anywhere from 4-10 business days once it’s shipped. With our new system, it takes 4-6 business days.

It’s more affordable.  Even with the added courier fees, it costs less than Canada Post.

I’m thrilled to be implementing this, and I’d love your feedback! If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave a comment below or e-mail me. I love hearing from you!

Coming Soon: Monthly Remnants Sale!

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Hi fabric lovers! Consider this a heads up…

Over the past couple of years, I’ve done a half dozen remnant sales, and each time the fabrics sell out so quickly!

Remnants are the small-ish pieces of fabric that I’m often left with at the end of a roll. Once in a while I’ll also get the chance to buy remnants from local designers, which is even more exciting, because they’ll be fabrics you’ve never seen before in the shop. I sell these pieces at 25-50% off retail price, so there are always some awesome deals to be had!

So here’s something exciting: I’m going to make this a monthly thing! On the first Friday of every month, I’ll send out a newsletter to let you know the remnants are in the shop. They sell quickly, so be sure to sign up for our newsletter to get first dibs.

The next sale is happening this Friday! In the meantime, scroll down for a look at some of the remnants we’ve had in the past. So much good stuff!

P.S. I have some excellent news since my last post about the Canada Post strike. Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers have reached an agreement, and there is no longer the possibility of a work disruption or strike. We are now shipping with the confidence that there will be no delays. (Hooray!)

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Shipping Update: Possible Canada Post Strike (Updated!)

Shipping Update - Blackbird Fabrics

Update 8/30: Great News! Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers have reached an agreement, and there is no longer the possibility of a work disruption or strike. (Hooray!) We are now shipping with confidence that there will be no delays. 

Hi friends! I have some shipping news to share with you. For the past couple of months, Canada Post has been in contract negotiations. Sadly, the possibility of a work disruption is becoming very real. With a strike or lock-out looming, I want to clarify how this will affect the shop (if it happens).

As of right now, Canada Post is functioning normally and there are no shipping or transit delays. But that can change in the coming days…

So — We now offer UPS as an additional shipping option. We understand that the cost to ship with UPS is high, and we are working to find a more affordable alternative.

For the time being, we will continue to accept orders as usual. You will have the option at checkout to select UPS or Canada Post.

Keep in mind:

  • If you select Canada Post as a shipping method during a work disruption, we will ship out your order as soon as it is possible to do so.
  • If your package is within the Canada Post system during a work disruption, it will be secured and delivered as quickly as possible once operations resume.

I will post here on the blog as soon as there is something new to report. You can also find updates regarding this issue on our website.

Most importantly, I want to thank you guys for your patience, support, and understanding! We are commited to getting your order to you as soon as possible, and apologize for any delays this may cause. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Finally, a bit of good news! I can’t keep a secret. Lower U.S. wide shipping rates are coming very soon. *Cue happy dance!* We’re working with a courier to ship via USPS – this means cheaper shipping, quicker leadtimes, tracking, and no duties! We’ll let you know straight away when we roll this out – as soon as next week(!!!)

Winslow Culottes in Tencel Twill

Hey there friends! I hope you guys are enjoying the first few official days of summer. It’s been a great month for new patterns, hasn’t it? I am totally smitten with Marigold, Penny, and Sophie. But today, I am here to tell you about Winslow.

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These are the Winslow Culottes by Helen’s Closet. I was lucky enough to test this pattern for Helen, and I honestly could not be more thrilled to come out the other side with these culottes. I absolutely love them.

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Let me give you some background. I started following Helen’s blog early this year. It may have been her parrot culottes that got me hooked. Or, maybe her quilted Linden? Swoon. I was instantly drawn to her cool style and incredibly down to earth voice. Plus, she lives in my city! And we’re the same age! And I want to meet more sewing people in real life! *Queue sweaty palms and nervous laughs*. Meeting internet friends in real life is pretty nerve wracking.

Anyways, Helen and I exchanged some instagram love, and after finally admitting our mutual girl crush via e-mail, we decided we needed to meet up. (Yay!) We spent an afternoon in the park, followed by some sew-in time at Spool of Thread (we taped together PDF patterns and cut out projects). I had such a great time and I knew immediately that we would be “real life” friends. And now we are! Meeting new people and putting yourself out there is scary sometimes, but I hardly ever regret it. If you’ve been friend crushing on someone, I encourage you to make a move.

So that’s the story. Helen is super awesome, and you should check out her blog. 🙂

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So, about the culottes. Culottes are bit polarizing aren’t they? I think people either love them or hate them. Ever since I noticed this trend on the rise, I’ve been super into it from the sidelines. I honestly felt like culottes were not for me because I didn’t think they would look great on my curvy body. Then when Helen started sharing photos of her upcoming pattern, I thought she looked so cool. When I got the opportunity to test the pattern, I just couldn’t say no. I had to give it a shot!

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I immediately knew I wanted to test View C (midi length), in a neutral fabric with great drape. Enter, Tencel Twill. My love affair with this fabric knows no bounds. Ever since I started selling it in the shop, it’s been a huge hit with customers too. It’s soft, drapey, opaque, and breathable. The surface is brushed, so it has a unique yet subtle suede look. You can do so much with it – trousers, skirt, dress, top. It’s a neutral solid, with some interest.

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After completing my culottes, I tried them on, slipped on my clogs, and literally did not want to take them off. There is so much to love. The waistline is flattering. The pleats are elegant and modern. The length is perfect for my style. I love the simplicity of this pattern, and how quickly it comes together.

On my next pair, I may adjust the seat to accommodate my, um, full bum. Aside from that, I wouldn’t change much about the pattern. This version is still 100% wearable. I love the way they fit, feel, and the way they look.

I was worried that culottes would look frumpy, or make me look wider. I honestly think they do the opposite. I feel put together, comfortable and so chic when I wear these. Lesson learned: taking a chance is always a good idea, with sewing and with friendships.

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The Details
Pattern: Winslow Culottes by Helen’s Closet (coming soon)
Fabric: Tencel Twill in Navy (Being restocked soon! It’s currently available in black, grey, plum)

So what do you guys think? Will you give the culottes trend a try?

Snapshots

Hi friends! With summer in full swing, does anyone else just want to spend all day by the pool? I know I can’t be alone in this. But work must go on despite the gorgeous weather. I am keeping super busy hunting for new fabrics, planning for the upcoming months, and doing my best to get outside when I can! It is summer after all. Here are some snapshots of life lately behind the scenes…

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A little preview of what’s to come… I love snapping photos like this when I visit my favourite suppliers (I came across a new source last week – second photo – and I am SO excited about their fabrics). I’ve been working on buying more summer fabrics while they’re still in season, and then it’s onto fall! Oh, how quickly things move along.

Fall Fabrics Preview

Made some selections for fall too. These won’t be in for a few months but I thought you’d want to peek at them anyways. I’m not good with secrets.

Remnants

Remnants! I’m always amazed at how quickly our remnants sell out. This pile disappeared in just a couple of hours (most of them within a few minutes!). Crazy right? If you like bargains and don’t get stressed out about shopping fast, sign up for the shop newsletter and you’ll get an e-mail when the remnants are listed. You should also sign up if you’d like to be the first to know about sales and shop news. I send out a newsletter about 2-4 times a month.

Office

When I started my business, I learned really quickly that so much of running a small business is spent behind a computer. I recently moved my desk next to the window in the office. I definitely feel my most productive when I’m there. There’s something about the natural light and little dedicated corner that really helps me to focus.

Flowers

I’ve been taking daily morning walks around our neighbourhood. There are so many beautiful flowers everywhere, it’s always such a treat. This also really helps me to stay energized and focused throughout the day.

Meadow

Vancouver is full of little street art moments! This is in front of Meadow, in Gastown. I was on my way to a meeting to look at new fabrics at a local supplier. Someday I’ll bring my DSLR along and photograph all of the street art gems. When I do, I’ll share the photos here!

Helen + Spool of Thread

I got to meet Helen in May and it was such a treat! We had coffee in the park and then spent the afternoon cutting out projects at Spool of Thread. Speaking of which, did you hear the big news? (!!!) This local shop is going to be a great fit to keep Tasia’s vision for Sewaholic going. I’m excited to see where they take the company next!

Recent Makes

Some recent makes! Clockwise from top left:

I’m going to blog about those culottes soon. I have a lot  to say about them (I love them). What are you guys sewing up lately?

P.S. I really, really loved this post from Cup of Jo on being a feminist.

Your Makes Vol. 4

Hey! I’m back with another round-up of all the beautiful things you guys have been making with our fabrics. Prepare to be inspired 🙂

Noble-Daughter-Victoria-Blazer-1Charlotte from Noble & Daughter made the most beautiful By Hand London Victoria Blazer in our popular floral viscose twill. Sadly this fabric is sold out (I know – I’m crying too). We sold a ton of it though, so I get to see it pop up from time to time and swoon again and again.

That-Crazy-Stitch-JumpsuitYou guys! When I saw this jumpsuit from Malia of That Crazy StitchI freaked. I am so into this bohemian vibe. Plus: this patchwork print viscose is still available in the shop!

Helens-Closet-ArcherI won’t lie to you, I have wanted to copy this tencel denim button-up since the moment I saw it. The Grainline Archer Shirt and our slubby tencel denim are a match made in heaven! Check out more lovely photos on Helen’s Closet.

Pudge-Nico-ArumHow cute does Nicole look in her Deer & Doe Arum Dress? This polka dot tencel denim is sold out, but we have a dark wash tencel denim that would look equally awesome!

Lladybird-MarlboroughHere’s one of our black findings kits in action! Lauren used it for a classic Marlborough Bra. I need one of these in my life!

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Anya made an awesome Hemlock dress out of our sweater knit from last fall. This fabric lends itself so well to the simple lines of this dress. Love it!

Let’s not forget instagram. Here are some of my favourites from the #blackbirdfabrics tag. (All images below are linked and will take you to the original photo.)

Here are the fabrics that are still available from the instagram makes: moss tencel twill, black tencel twill, bird print viscose, and navy shirting!

Want to make it into my next maker round-up? If you sew something with a fabric from the shop, just e-mailinstagramfacebook, or tweet me a link!