All posts by Caroline

Big News

Hi, there!  Guess what? This week I signed a lease on a new space for Blackbird Fabrics. That’s right – we’re moving! But first, let me back up a bit…

You may not know this, but for the past 2.5 years, I have been running this small business out of a bedroom in our Vancouver apartment. It’s worked well, but lately, I feel like I’ve outgrown the space, like big time.

So I started looking for the perfect spot a couple of weeks ago, and I really didn’t expect to find something so quickly. But when I walked into this place, it felt meant to be. It’s big and airy with beautiful natural light and high ceilings. I can’t wait to show you guys.

Since the new space is empty now, I was able to sign the lease and get the keys immediately. So now I am holding the keys to a sunny and open studio space in a great area of East Vancouver. I honestly could not be more excited. It’s perfect.

The past few days have been filled with celebration and reflection. I find myself feeling so humbled by the support I’ve received over the years. I’m also incredibly excited for the future, and what this means for my small business. This feels like a success for me personally, but also for the community we’ve built. You guys are passionate about fabric, as am I! I’m proud to be a part of the exciting and ever evolving world of home sewing.

Okay, here’s the fun part! I’m having a sale to clear out some inventory. The less I have to physically move, the better. 🙂 Also because I love you guys and I want to celebrate with you.

Everything in the shop is 20% off now through Friday, March 31st at 11:59 pm PST.
No code is required, the discount will automatically be applied at checkout.

Visit the shop and celebrate with me! I couldn’t have done this without you.

xo,

-Caroline

Blackwood Cardigan in Ribbed Sweater Knit

Have you seen the new Blackwood Cardigan from Helen’s Closet? Last month I had the chance to test this pattern, and of course I paired it with a sweater knit from the shop. Here are the results…

First thing’s first: the fabric! It’s the Brushed Ribbed Sweater Knit in Bordeaux. This colour is sold out but the fabric itself is available in three other colours right now: Olive, Rust, and Grey. It’s lightweight and soft, perfect for this cardigan.

The Blackwood offers two length options: hip length, and mid thigh. I’ve had longline cardigans on the brain so I went with the mid thigh length. Helen says that the pattern is designed with layering in mind, with it’s fitted shape, extra long sleeves, and open front design. I hate wearing bulky sweaters under my jackets, so for me this is the perfect spring/transitional cardigan. It works so well layered under my Robson Coat. (P.S. If you click that link get ready for a throwback to 2014 when I was contributing on Sewaholic and … my short hair! Remind me not to cut my hair that short ever again. Ok? Thanks.)

Oh yes! I should mention that after feedback from testers, Helen shortened the sleeves by 1″. They are meant to be long and bunched at the wrist, and even with that change, they still will be. I personally love extra long sleeves. When I layer a jacket or coat on top of a sweater, I like to be able to pull my sleeves out a bit to keep my hands warm. If I can’t, I get annoyed, and I’m less likely to wear that sweater!

In the photos above I’m wearing my Blackwood layered over a basic tee and denim overalls from the Gap. Super comfy and relaxed, exactly how I want to dress every day.

Will you be sewing up this pattern? If you’re interested, you can pick up your copy here. And if you’re looking for sweater knits, we have lots in the shop!

Had to share this cuteness. This is our kitty Fraidy. If I ever leave clothing on the bed, he will want to climb on it. He’s sleeping on a pile of laundry as I type this!

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?

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!

My New Skillshare Class: The Beginner’s Guide to Fashion Fabrics (!!!)

You guys! Over the past month, I’ve been working hard behind the scenes to prepare, write, and film a class with Skillshare. It’s all about fabric!

If you’ve never heard of Skillshare, let me fill you in. It’s an online learning platform for creatives. When you sign up for a monthly membership, you get access to thousands of classes in categories like design, photography, business, DIY, fashion, and so much more. Skillshare fosters creativity, and learning by doing. When the folks at Skillshare got in touch with me and asked if I was interested in teaching a class about fabric, I basically jumped for joy and then said heck yes.

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My first class is called The Beginner’s Guide to Fashion Fabrics, and it’s all about woven fabrics. I wanted to create a class that would help beginners to navigate the world of fashion fabrics. It’s kind of a like a map to fabric selection success. I cover some basics like fiber and weave (What do they mean? How do they affect a fabrics characteristics?). Then I walk you through some tips for shopping for fabrics. Finally, I offer some guidance for actually preparing and working with the fabric as you get ready to sew. For the class project, you’ll get to apply what you learned and plan your next sewing project using a design worksheet.

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I am such a firm believer that selecting the appropriate fabric for the project you want to make is the key to sewing long lasting, quality garments. Yes, sewing technique is important, but so often fabric selection is overlooked! I learned so much about this through my schooling and experience in the textile industry. I sometimes forget that beginner or even intermediate sewists might scratch their head through this process. This was the inspiration behind this class.

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It’s a quick and focused class running at just under twenty minutes. My goal was to pack in as much useful information as I could while keeping it practical and digestible. Everything you learn will help you to make confident and informed fabric choices so that you can sew handmade clothes that will last and that you will want to wear again and again.

I’m especially excited that I was able to create a class focused completely on fabric. There are tons of sewing classes and sewing resources online, but not much out there about textiles. I love that I can share my knowledge and experience in this way.

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In the coming weeks I’m going to share some of my favourite Skillshare classes with you, and give you a more behind the scenes glimpse into the making of the class. (Spoiler: I was sick with nerves when I thought about being on camera, but in the end it wasn’t so bad!).

Alright, so now that you’re all filled in, I will be so thrilled if you check out my class! Use this link to enroll and Skillshare will give you three months of premium membership for just $0.99. Be careful though, you may get hooked! I have an enormous queue of classes I want to take and there are new ones coming out daily.

Blackbird Shop Gift Certificates!

Great news! We now have real life three dimensional gift certificates available in the shop. They are bee-yoo-ti-ful.

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There is no better gift for a seamstress than the gift of fabric! Our gift certificates do not expire and are valid for all products in our shop.

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They’re printed on 100% recycled uncoated card stock, so they have a lovely matte finish. We designed the card in our signature pistachio colour and the front reads “a gift for you”.

You’ll be able to choose between multiple denominations from $25 – $200 (Canadian dollars). We will fill out and send the gift certificate directly to your recipient free of charge, via Canada post lettermail. Or, if you’d prefer, have it shipped to yourself and we can leave it blank for you to fill out. Just leave us a note in the order comments!

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Get your gift certificate here!

A quick note: If you’d like to gift this for the holidays, be sure to have a look at our holiday lettermail deadlines so that your recipient receives it on time! If you’d prefer a digital gift certificate, we have those too, right here.