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Flare Fabrics – a Canadian Online Fabric Store {+ discount & giveaway!}

2015 November 30

Happy Monday! This is the 17th shop I’ve interviewed for our continuing Canadian Online Fabric Store interview series! Today’s feature is Flare Fabrics – Marlene’s shop is “where to go” for batiks and bold contemporary cottons. Plus she stocks lots of other fabrics, yard dyes & linens, tons of notions and bag hardware and patterns. Don’t miss her gorgeous Lecien giveaway bundle, or the month-long discount code at the bottom of this post. (Good until Dec 31!)

** PLUS: Don’t miss out on the Flare Fabrics Cyber Monday Sale – Nov 30th ONLY! Save 22.2% on everything in the shop with code FF2015! **

I started the store with a focus on batiks, a traditional fabric that is handmade in Indonesia. In the last few years as the “modern” quilt movement has grown, I love to mix and match batiks with solids and modern fabrics. It’s an exciting blend of old and new. I’m always on the look out for the unusual – a new fabric artist or a line that people haven’t seen.” ~ Marlene, Flare Fabrics

I was re-introduced to Flare Fabrics when I talked to Marlene this Spring at Creativ Festival. I worked with her Cory Pepper shot cotton in my Indiesew spring collection post. It’s gorgeous cotton and I’m still hoarding my leftovers. Here are a few favorites of mine from the shop – click to find out more! You’ll have to check out the bottom of this post for the most gorgeous Marcia Derse Bookends – she has created really amazing, unique and beautiful fabric.

Thread Riding Hood: Why did you decide to start Flare Fabrics?

Marlene: Like every quilter, I was always looking for that “one” perfect fabric for my current design. Online shopping opened numerous doors, so when I couldn’t find what I wanted in Canada, I kept turning to the U.S. Why not have these fabrics in Canada, I thought? And so Flare Fabrics was born.

My professional career was concentrated in communications. I’ve been a journalist, a photographer, a marketing consultant, a graphic designer, a web developer…to name a few. When I started Flare Fabrics in 2010, I was working full time so an online fabric store was a perfect fit with my skills, interests and availability. Or so I thought. Busy, busy, busy! Last year I left my “regular” job and took the business full time. I’m really enjoying having the time to experiment with the fabric we sell.

Thread Riding Hood: What is your favorite type of sewing project? Quilting, Apparel… ?

Marlene: I’m partial to projects that can be sewn in 2 weekends – or less! I don’t sew anything larger than a decent size lap quilt and I prefer simple patterns where the texture of the fabric shines. That’s one of the many reasons I love batiks. Lately I’ve become enamoured with bags and purses and I have a large extended family so lots of people to sew pouches and totes for :)

Thread Riding Hood: What is something coming up in the near future that you are especially excited about?

Marlene: Flare Fabrics is moving!  I have completely outgrown my home space – both the small outside studio in our Toronto backyard and the basement of the house. And so now I can finally combine my love of fabric with my love of the country. Our new home-based studio is rural – outside Perth in Eastern Ontario – and hopefully we won’t outgrow this one too quickly!

Thread Riding Hood: Thanks Marlene! My postage-stamp of a suburbian backyard can’t compete with your new place. Wow! Looks amazing!

Check out this super-generous gorgeous L’s Modern Basic by Lecien 12 Fat Quarter Giveaway! The cool blues and grays are fantastic blenders for your projects, and I think they’d make a fabulous wintery quilt all mixed together!

This giveaway is open to readers in Canada & the US, from today (November 30) until midnight December 7, 2015. Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter – and if you don’t have Facebook to sign in with, just use your name and email address. There’s a “click to enter”, no social media login entry too!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks so much to Marlene, we can use the discount code “THREAD15″ to save 15% on your order at Flare Fabrics from December 1-31, 2015! (Christmas shopping anyone?!)

Here are a few of my favorite Marcia Derse prints to get you going!

 Thanks for reading. Don’t miss a post – Follow along below! 

Disclosure and Privacy Policy: I asked Flare Fabrics to be a part of this series.  I will never recommend or highlight a shop that I do not love, and my opinions will and have always been my own. Thanks for reading! 

Black Friday Weekend Sales!

2015 November 27

I’m so excited to offer links to all these Black Friday Sales from my amazing sponsors today! These online shops sell everything from fabric to patterns and notions. They’ve provided amazing deals for you this weekend. If you’ve been eyeing something special, don’t wait! I know I’ve got my favorite things picked out and ready to go. (P.S. These are all Canadian Online Fabric Stores, most of which ship internationally. If you are in the US, the $ exchange is amazing!)

 For the sake of fairness I have listed the shops in alphabetical order.

Canadian National Fabric

10% off your entire order with Promo Code: thx2you10 

from Friday Nov. 27 – Sunday Nov. 29

Country Clothesline

25% off everything in store for the full 4 days of the Black Friday/Cyber Monday week-end! Promo Code: bfcm

from Friday Nov. 27 – Monday Nov. 30

Dinkydoo Fabrics

There is a different 50% off sale happening each day! To find out what is on sale today, click over to the Dinkydoo sale page.

from Friday Nov. 27 – Sunday Nov. 29


All fabrics 50% off, both in-store and online. (Yes! ALL fabrics! No exceptions!) 

One day only – Friday Nov 27, 2015

Plus we also have a Cyber Monday deal. Free Shipping* on all orders over $79.99 (* Promotions excludes deliveries to USA, Northwest Territories, Yukon, Nunavut and some very remote areas.)

Fabric Please!

35% off EVERYTHING in store! Promo Code: BLACK15

from Friday Nov. 27 – Monday Nov. 30

Fabric Spark

20% off everything including new collections, sale fabrics, patterns, kits and bundles! Promo Code: woohoo

from Friday Nov. 27 – Monday Nov. 30

Mad About Patchwork

Visit to see all of our amazing deals! Specially priced for Black Friday through Cyber Monday, no coupon code necessary!

from Friday Nov. 27 – Monday Nov. 30

Meerkat Shweshwe

Madiba’s Range on sale for $16.00 per metre (20% discount) For every metre sold, we make a donation of $1.00 to Grandmothers to Grandmothers.

from Friday Nov. 27 – Sunday Nov. 29

Stay Home Fabrics

15% off everything in store! Promo Code: blackfriday

from Friday Nov. 27 – Monday Nov. 30

PLUS Find doorcrasher deals throughout Friday on Facebook only!

Black Friday Sales Coming Soon!

2015 November 26

Turns out I’m still here. (of course!) Happy Thanksgiving to everyone celebrating today. I am drooling over your mashed potatoes and turkey pictures on Instagram!

I wanted to write a quick note to say you should watch out early tomorrow for my Black Friday Sale post! You will not believe how generous these amazing Canadian shops are being with their sales this year. Charge your devices people – you’ll be shopping for a long, long while!

As for the crazy unplanned week and a half break? It was forced by 7 days of fever and rest, leading to me being diagnosed yesterday with Pneumonia of all things! Craziness. Thankfully antibiotics are fast working and I’m feeling better already today. On a brighter note, though, we did manage to put up our Christmas things on Saturday. And all this forced resting has allowed me to get my Christmas Making fabric yardage list ready for the sales tomorrow. It’s not all bad!

Organize Your Sewing Room with Free Printable Labels!

2015 November 17

Having the correct supplies for your job is important. Firefighters need boots and helmets, dentists need that crazy metal picking thing they use. I need fabric for my job. (along with lots of other things!) That makes keeping track of it all an important part of my life. And, as with all supplies, they need be taken care of properly.

As I re-organized my sewing room a few months ago, I found a lot of fabric sitting in the bottom of the closet because it wasn’t pre-washed. I didn’t want to mix the washed and pre-washed becuase there wasn’t a fail-proof way to distinguish the two. #sewistproblems I also realized that I didn’t know important information about the fabrics in my apparel fabric section – like what they were made from, or if they were suiting fabric or chambray, or where I bought them.

That led me to design some simple labels that I’ve been using for a few months now. Pre-print a few pages of them and use them as the fabric goes onto the shelf. They are quick and easy to fill out. And I found it’s really helpful to know the exact details of at least 1/2 of my fabric. (I decided only to label the “stuff on the floor”. Yes, imagine 1/2 of my stash on the floor… yikes!)

Since I’ve loved using these I thought I’d share them with you. Click on the link below to download the free PDF and print some of your own! I used standard 1″x2″ label sheets from my big box office supply store. If you don’t have any, print these on plain paper, cut them out and pin or paperclip them to the fabric instead. In case you are worried about sticky residue from the labels – so far they haven’t left anything on my fabric and are removed easily. (You may want to test your own brand of labels though!)


How do you keep track of your fabric?

Little Photographer Camera {review, discount & giveaway!}

2015 November 13

Making softies for babies is fun. Making softies for my friends’ coming-soon baby that mimic their dad’s real-life photography job is even better!

I am really happy to be part of the Swoodson Says PDF Pattern Blog Tour today. This tour is promoting her Quiet Play Softies and the cutest Little Collector’s Backpack. All really great Christmas gifts for the littles in your life. (And on sale right now – see below! Just sayin’…)

I haven’t made many softies, I think I was scared of all the pieces, kinda like quilting! Truth is though, sewing up this Little Photographer Camera was really fun! I love puzzles, and appliqueing the dials, buttons and lens allowed me to let my inside-perfectionist out for a little while. You don’t need to be a perfectionist to make one, though, you just need a little monkey that enjoys imaginative play! Or a friend that is a photographer maybe?

The fabric for this project is a mixture of textures and thicknesses. The outer body of the camera is made from scraps of my Ella top, a nice heavier weight cotton. Of course, I had to use the best camera fabric ever (from Double Decker Fabric) for the front accent and camera strap. The lens is a mixture of faux black leather and 2 layers of white rip-stop nylon (to make it more opaque). It is fun that each one has a different feel to it. Hopefully the baby will think so too!

Speaking of perfectionism, for some reason I decided to go a little crazy and 2-step-miter the corners of the bias tape edging for the back window, instead of following Stephanie’s instructions. Don’t do it! It took f-o-r-e-v-e-r…. #thatllshowme  I did do two things that helped speed up the project, though. I interfaced the outer camera pieces with a medium-weight fusible to make the fabric stiffer and easier to stitch everything to. I also used my favorite fusible web before stitching. If this project was for an older child I think you could use it alone and skip the applique stitches!

Oh, and I can’t forget to mention something new I found on my Janome Skyline S5. It has an amazing applique stitch and satin stitch foot. I even slid the speed down to super-slow while sewing around the lens circles. So much simpler and professional looking than I would have made with my old machine! It has even inspired me to plan some appliqued Christmas projects.

Win the Patterns, or Buy them at 40% off!

Stephanie has provided a coupon code: ‘SewAllTheSofties’ – for 40% off all patterns, expiring Sunday 11/16 – valid both on Etsy and And if you are feeling lucky you can enter below to win 4 Swoodson Says patterns!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Other Blog Tour Stops:

Monday, November 9th: Friends Stitched Together / Sew Happily Ever After / The Crazy Tailor

Tuesday, November 10th: Felt With Love Designs / Sew Not Perfect / House of Estrela

Wednesday, November 11th: Lulu & Celeste / Handmade Boy / Rebel & Malice

Thursday, November 12th: Rebel & Malice / create3.5 / Free Notion

Friday, November 13th: Paisley Roots / The Wholesome Mama / Amazing Adventures With Bubba and Bug / Thread Riding Hood / Hugs are Fun

Disclaimer: I received the Little Photographer Camera pattern for free in exchange for this review post. I only feature projects I love. Thanks for reading and supporting Thread Riding Hood!

4 Projects and 13 Favorite Fabrics equals 1 Happy Girl

2015 November 11

When my oldest went back to school I got a burst of sewing energy and decided to make her several school-related projects. There’s something very satisfying about sending your child to school with unique and useful things. I’d love to make her backpack one year, but I’m worried it would get beaten up really quickly, and they like to pick them out store-bought anyhow.

Each project is made with fabric she chose herself – after a bit of (possibly unwanted) consultation with me about matching/not matching combinations. We used some of my favorites, since I’ve decided that stashed fabric is not useful fabric, and should be off the shelf. Easier said than done when acquiring new fabrics is kinda my job!

1) Pencil Case: This one is my favorite, took the longest and looks the least exciting when photographed. (#argh!) I love how this little case turned out. It’s so cute! Now that the pattern is drafted for one, they would be really quick to make again. The front and sides are stabilized by a rectangle of vinyl place mat so they stay up. The inside raw edges are finished with bias tape. I even got to use the fancy letter stitching on my Janome Skyline S5. Each project has our last name stitched right into it! The only thing I think I would change is to add a tab to each end of the zipper, so it is easier to open and close.

2) Marker & Pencil Crayon Case: The most annoying thing when making art is having to find colours when they are all lying down. Many thanks to ikatbag for posting instructions on how to make this amazing stand-up marker case!  It zips-up flat and then the sides fold back to let it stand up. The base has a piece of plastic in it as well, similar to the pencil case, to allow it to be stable. The inside of the case is made with rip-stop nylon – wipe-able to keep it clean. The construction, let alone the pattern drafting, is not the simplest. It’s easy in theory, but has lots of layers and finicky bits, including the bias tape edge finishing. Definitely worth making, but be prepared to spend lots of time on it.

3) Dry Erase Marker Eraser & Storage: Sorry, I’m not quickly coming up with a better name for that one! They use dry-erase pens instead of chalk boards in her school, so she needed “an old sock for erasing” and dry erase markers to take to school. Of course my child is not going to use “an old sock” to erase with! (Hee hee!) I made a little lined zip pocket for the pens and backed it with a piece of a towel. Erase with the towel, store the pens for next time. At least I imagine that is what she is doing… though I can’t be certain until everything comes back home in June!

4) Clear Binder Pocket: This project was meant to be for teacher notes and homework. Unfortunately, there’s a pocket in her agenda book for that, so currently it is in her binder looking pretty. Ah well! I got to use scraps of her favorite unicorn fabric in it. And it reminds her that her mom loves her when she sees it, right?! Maybe she’ll need it next year?

I have in the back of my head that it would be fun to make a sale-able pdf pattern for the Pencil Case and Clear Binder Pocket. (Maybe the Dry Erase Eraser as well if it looks useful to someone else.) Would that be something many of you would be interested in? Maybe in time for next year’s back to school push…

What handmade items do you send your kids back-to-school with? Or do you prefer to buy everything?

Matching Darts, the easy way.

2015 November 9

I’m not a big fan of darts. The clothing kind – not the throwing kind! Their construction can seem finicky.  And lining up the dart legs drives the perfectionist in me crazy!

Enter stage left,  the Citronille Jackie coat and the Pleated Pencil skirt.  They have 6 to 8 darts each. #aaaaarrrrgggggh     I figured there must be a better way than “fold in half to match dart legs” and came up with a needle & thread hand-basting option that makes my detail-oriented heart super-happy!

If you’ve been here long,  you know that hand sewing of any kind is low on my priority list. So, if I propose doing it, the technique must be either: 1) Amazing or 2) Really, really quick. This technique fills both categories! (If I can say so myself?)

Speed up your sewing! Find out how to get perfectly matched dart legs the easy way in this Crafty blog post.

Thanks for checking it out! What do you think of this technique? Will you use it on your next project?

Why my kids had handmade costumes this year.

2015 November 2


This year, due to a general time crunch this month, I almost bought our costumes. I say almost, because I actually took the girls (for the first time ever) to look at the costume aisle. And then I regretted it… too many flimsy costumes labeled $20 and $30! Granted, if you buy a $50 one it may last a while, but for a one-time use costume, I have a hard time justifying the cost. I’d rather spend more on fabric to make a quality costume!

Now, I know how this sounds. And I know a lot of you buy costumes. (Namely some of my good friends.) So hang in there! I’m not stuck up, or a super mom – trust me! Purchased costumes are amazing, fast and glittery and generally look way more pulled together than my versions. But since my job is to sew, I am going to sew my kids’ Halloween costumes! (And hope they don’t hate them.)

This year I accidentally leaned heavily on a few of my favorite bloggers for costume help. While trudging through the masses of online “easy”, “quick” and “handmade” costume tutorials I came to a list featured on the DIY Network that I thought would work. My kids picked their favorites and I was so pleased to see that they were written by two bloggers that I follow regularly! Simple Simon and Company wrote the Black Cat tutorial, and Jess Abbott from the Sewing Rabbit wrote instructions for the Garden Fairy.

I won’t elaborate too much on the construction of them, due to the time crunch I mentioned earlier, and the fact that I have now clogged this post with way too many photos! Suffice it to say they were fast and now they are finished! One night’s work last Tuesday, since (procrastinating as usual, of course) the girls needed them on Wednesday for their Ballet class party. I was also fortunate that this Halloween they wore them 3 times, and I know they will live in the dress-up box for years to come. The amortization on them is worth it alone!

If you would like to see more handmade costumes, you can also find Cinderella, Pirate Princess and Izzy (Jake & the Neverland Pirates), Princess Leia and Little Red Riding Hood.

What do you think?How do you feel about premade costumes… hate ‘em or love ‘em?!

You are all amazing!

2015 October 29

Wow everyone! Quick post today to say Thank YOU so much for your amazing responses to the last post. It is really moving to hear your experiences and how you feel. I’m so privileged to be part of the conversation. Any more insights into how you cope with having a “real job” would be wonderful! Thank you!

I’d also like to introduce to you Andrea and Heather today. I met them at BlissDom and they have just launched a fun new Canadian site I think you’ll like. Creative Sides is all about expressing YOUR creative side – recipes, home decor, sewing projects and more. Plus, right now you can enter to win a $100 gift card for Michael’s or Bed Bath and Beyond! #needallthethings

As an aside, these ladies are amazing, I had so much fun hanging out with them! Their creativity will to take them far.

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. I wanted to introduce you all to their site because I think they do good work!

The weekend that has changed my life.

2015 October 26

I just realized that I have a real job.

This may not seem like a revelation to you, but for me it’s life changing! Being home all day with out a “proper employer”  has wreaked havoc on my brain. It’s been almost two years since I left my part-time, one day a week job. And about 8 years since my last full-time workplace. I fell prey to the notion that money matters most, and you are only worth the amount you can make.

Let’s start at the beginning… I’ve been working at home since my oldest was born. Graphic design projects here and there, working with my husband’s company, blogging and being a mom. For some reason, this has never been enough to make me feel like my “job” mattered. I’ve had countless discussions with my husband about this topic. Usually ending in tears. It has been a really big struggle for me. I’m a do-er, figuring if I try hard enough I’ll “prove” it’s a real thing. Trouble is, I was trying to prove it to everyone around me when I didn’t believe it myself.

But that all changed this past weekend.

I recently spent 3 days at BlissDom, a social media conference. I was by myself, with my own hotel room – and it felt very weird and amazing all at the same time. In the process of meeting tons of amazing new people (scary for me as an introvert!) and enjoying amazing evening parties, I learned about social media, writing and how to take better care of this blog. I also learned that I was not alone. It was really, really life-changing meeting lots of other people with the same “real job” as me!

Bloggers “get” bloggers.

Just like electricians get electricians and quilters get quilters. (And all of their acronyms!) It was so nice to be able to talk about things that matter to what I do everyday. There are jokes that only we get. Information that only we know how to use. It made me feel connected, like my work really matters. We went on excursions that began with an explanation of which hashtags we should use when posting our photos. We hash-tagged things to win prizes and to keep track of the weekend. (#BlissDomCA) I learned that Twitter is better than email. And that the Blue Mountain Conference Centre chefs make amazing pasta!

It was also really helpful that lots (dare I say most) of the other people at the conference had kids. The struggle to take good care of your home and kids, plus running a business is so real! Being a mom (or dad) full-time has a bad rep – though I am happy to see many more people talking about it in a more positive light. I am hopeful that the next generation will have a more realistic, positive view of staying home to take care of your family.

Moving forward…

I don’t want to just to tell you about my Blissdom experience, but also to hope that it helps any of you that feel the way I did. I’m hopeful you don’t, of course! But if you do, please know that you have an amazing job doing whatever it is you do! You are amazing. Put your heart into your work, but don’t forget to take time for yourself. The kids/dishes/cleaning can wait… (though I’m still working on that one!) Everyone around you will be better off for it and you will come back with renewed energy. Find people around you that do what you do – talk to them, go out for coffee! Talk about things that only you both “get”.

What do you think… What is your real job? What do you do to take care of yourself?

P.S. I’m not fixed yet. I’m writing this as a reminder to myself as well. I know when I publish this that I will have no more excuses and that helps too. Let’s work on it together! You with me?! #workinprogress

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