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!

Indigo Dye Nights

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Last week, I spent two evenings learning all about indigo and shibori dyeing at Maiwa in Vancouver. I had so much fun you guys! This class was a birthday gift from my boyfriend, so it felt extra special to take a break from my usual routine and get my hands dirty (literally – my nails are still stained with a hint of blue).

We spent the first day learning technique, and preparing our pieces for the dye bath. The amazing teachers Sophena and Danielle were clearly super passionate about indigo dyeing and all of the techniques. They brought tons of samples to inspire us.

We were given a set of cloth napkins, a huge cotton gauze scarf and various small silk and cotton pieces to test on.

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The dyeing all happened on the second night of the class. The energy in there was awesome. Everyone was so pumped to get their pieces dyed, and we only had a couple of hours so the night zoomed by. Want to see how my pieces turned out?
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I tried a few different techniques on my napkins: stitch resist, binding (one with string and one with elastics, rocks, and marbles), and finally, “the cloud”. The cloud was the most quick and fun – it’s really just bunching the fabric together and tying it up. I wish I took before pictures!

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I used my silk pieces to try out stitch resist in circle shapes, and tying in a knot! The second piece is literally just tied twice.

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The folding and clamping technique was my favourite by a long shot. The two pieces above were made with triangle shape resists. I’m am in love with them!

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Finally, my scarf! This was made using a simple method of folding in half, rolling on the bias, and scrunching the fabric. Again – I promise I will take before pictures next time.

The coolest thing about shibori is the instant gratification! You tie, bind, fold, or clamp your pieces, dye them, let them oxidize, and then you can unwrap your work and see the results pretty much instantly. The unveiling is the best part. Every piece was so beautiful and unique.

I can’t wait to grab some supplies and try this again at home. I see a lot of indigo dyeing in my future!

Filming my Skillshare Class

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My Skillshare class launched on April 19th, which is exactly one month after they first approached me about teaching. Super fast, right? The timeline looked like this:

  • March 22 – 29: Receive e-mail from Skillshare, agree to teach a class, figure out what I want to teach.
  • March 29 – April 11: Research, write script, find location, gather all of the materials needed, practice, practice, practice.
  • April 11: Have a mild freak out about this crazy decision I made to be on camera. Pull myself together. (Thanks, mom.)
  • April 12: Film the class!
  • April 13 – 18: Breathe, review edits with video editor, finalize everything.
  • April 19: Launch and celebrate!!

Truthfully, when I agreed to this, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. It was a ton of work! But I really loved the process – stressful, scary, challenging, fun, exhilarating, and character building. You really get to know yourself when you have to practice saying the same thing a million times in front of a mirror.

Here are some behind the scenes peeks…

Planning

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The writing and planning phase took the longest, of course. I brushed up on my knowledge with the help of some of my favourite books from the library. I highly recommend Fabrics A-Z by Dana Willard. After writing out a script for the class, I probably edited and cut it down at least ten times. It was really tough to keep things short and sweet – I have so much I want to share about fabric!

The week before filming, I treated myself to a hair cut and colour and manicure. A little pampering went a long way to make me feel relaxed prepared for filming. (Don’t worry – I was parked while taking that selfie!)

For the day of the shoot, I rented an SUV and filled it to the brim with materials and furniture for the class. Thank goodness I didn’t have to do it alone. My mom was in town for the week of the shoot. She helped me with practicing, and all of the logistics on the day of. She even makes a cameo appearance in my intro video!

The filming took place at Atelier 254, a light and airy space in the heart of Vancouver’s chinatown.

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I discussed in advance with the videographer, Louai Munajim, about how I wanted the class to look. He brought a special macro lens so that we could get some great closeups of the fabrics.

Digitano Media did the editing for the class. We got to use a cool program called Frame.io where I could see the class drafts and make comments right in each video. I couldn’t believe how quickly things came together. We filmed on a Tuesday, and by Friday I had the first edits to look at.

The last few days before launch were just finalizing the videos and uploading everything to Skillshare. It felt so good to hit publish.

P.S. The videographer, Lou, put together a little blooper reel for his portfolio. Here it is, if you’d like to see.

Unleash Your Creativity With These 8 Skillshare Classes

Real talk: I often get caught up in the daily grind of running a small business and just trying to get everything done. I lose my sewing mojo (sewjo?), and get into that funk of eat, sleep, work, repeat.

I’ve realized over the past few years how essential it is to go out of my comfort zone and learn a new craft or skill every once in a while. I always thank myself afterwards, because without fail I will come away feeling refreshed and inspired.

One of the reasons why I love Skillshare is because it’s such an easy way to learn something new without a huge financial or time commitment. It works just like Netflix. For $10/month (USD) you get access to thousands of online classes that you can watch whenever you want, at your own pace.

If you signed up for my Skillshare class, you might be wondering what other classes you should check out. There are tons to pick from, so I totally understand that it can be overwhelming!

Here’s list of classes that I think sewists will love (and that I can’t wait to take!).

Sandal Making 101

Photos: Rachel See Snail Shoes

We sew our own clothes, so why not make our own shoes? Construct your first pair of sandals and learn all about making a pattern, working with leather, and basic shoe construction. Taught by Portland sandal and shoe maker Rachel Corry.

DIY Leather Bucket Bag

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The lovely Sophie of Ada Spragg teaches you to sew a leather bucket bag complete with tassels and monogram. I took this class and loved it. I can’t wait to gather some supplies and actually make this bag!

Pattern Cutting & Making for Beginners

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If you’re interested in learning more about pattern making, this class is a great introduction with excellent reviews.

Garment Construction: Introduction to Draping

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Draping! Anya Ayoung Chee, winner of project runway season 9, is the teacher for this class. Her design style is breezy, effortless, and easy fitting.

You guys, draping was one of my favourite classes in college. It is awesome! If you’ve never tried it or aren’t familiar with the concept, you need to take this class. I would love to be able to pick up draping again after all these years.

Hand Embroidery Fundamentals

Photos: @cut_and_rum instagram

I’ve dabbled in embroidery but have never taken the time to learn techniques. I would love to learn more so that I can add embroidery details to my handmade garments or make even some pieces to hang as art. This class by Alice Mitev covers all the basics, and I love her style!

Leathercraft Basics: Create Your Own Leather Wallet

Leathercraft BasicsPhoto: Skillshare

If working with leather sounds intimidating to you, this class is a great way to get started! Toronto designer Robin Fitzsimons will teach you about different types of leather, the basics of hand sewing leather, and how to set hardware. Plus your class project is to create a cool wallet like the ones pictured above! Lovely, right?

Basic Watercolors: Learn Painting with Paper Fashion

Photos: Skillshare

Katie Rodgers is an artist, fashion illustrator, and founder of the website Paper Fashion. This class will teach you the basics techniques of watercolour painting. I would love to apply this to fashion illustration and sketch out my summer sewing plans in watercolour. How beautiful would that be?

Create Your Own Fiber Art: An Introduction to Weaving

Weaving ClassPhoto: Skillshare

Weaving is one of those trending crafts that seems to be popping up all over the place right now. I would love to learn how to weave! This class looks like a great introduction that covers all the basics – taught by Savannah Kurka of Savvie Studio.


Normally you can sign up for Skillshare and get access to thousands of classes $10/month. With this link, enjoy three months for just $0.99 – yay!