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Fedora Hat by Elegance & Elephants {giveaway & discount)

2016 June 27

I made hats – real hats – Fedoras, even! These were sewn as part of the Canadian Sewing Blog Hop, a collection of Canadian bloggers gushing about the amazing Canadian resources we have available – and giving 3 huge prizes away ! (Find the giveaway below and click here for more great Canadian Discounts.)

I wanted to feature a Canadian pattern designer (similar to this hop last year!) and chose Elegance and Elephants – who graciously sent me the Fedora Hat pattern I’ve been dying to make for years. My girls love the results, and I’m trying not to make about 17 more of them. (Attempting to learn how to slow down, right?!) E&E Patterns has a great collection of children’s patterns. (Epic Bubble Shorts!)

My girls are wearing two of their eight+ Bohemian Babydoll dresses in these photos. The one my youngest has on was a pattern test that used to fit my oldest. It’s by far one of my most favorite kid-friendly woven patterns – meaning I love it as much as my kids. It’s a quick sew, twirls and has ruffles – what more could you want?! Right now you can get a discount on anything in the E&E Pattern Shop during their Summer Sale. Just use the code SUMMER to get 10% off from June 27-July 4.

Back to the hats… The blue denim embroidered hat was the first one I made and it took only about 1 1/2 hours, start to finish. Such a quick, easy sew! Love, Love, Love. (All the heart-eye emojis for this one!) The pattern pieces were spot on, and since there aren’t many of them it was fast. The stashed denim is from at least 7 years ago when a fabric shop near me was going out of business. I’ve been trying to use it up ever since!

The second one (no fault of the pattern) took me about 4 1/2 hours. Lesson learned – stick to the recommended fabrics! This hat really is best sewn up in a thicker fabric with more body. The poplin I used for the pink hat just didn’t go together as easily, and you can see it in the wavy and puckered seams. While I know it does still look ok, I’m a still-recovering perfectionist, remember?! I added a little Liberty of London (dismantled from this never-worn scarf) around the crown and a twill bow, because my oldest originally wanted a white band like her sister. #keepingtheyoungunshappy

Putting a hat together is really not as hard as it might seem. I had everything I needed in my stash already. I would recommend that you are a very confidant beginner, or intermediate sewer – since making sure the curves are sewn without puckers is important. Other than that it’s very straight forward. It’s even fully lined with the same fabric as my faux-leather Marmalade jacket. (of course I forgot to photograph the inside, argh! There are good photos of the inside on the pattern listing.)

Please be sure to check out the other Canadian blogs below for more Canadian content and supplies. And, if you need any fabric, I know a great Pinterest board with over 60 Canadian shops on it. *wink, wink* I’m so proud of us – the Canadian shops have really stepped it up over the last few years and can now supply pretty much everything we need! Bonus – if you are from the US – your $$ go really far up here! 

Canadian Sewing Blog Hop Schedule

Visit each of these blogs for more on our outstanding Canadian designers and suppliers, and be sure to enter the giveaway for some amazing prizes!

June 24: The Tour Starts at Happy Okapi ~ June 25: Celine guest posts on Happy Okapi; Marsha @ Seam of my Pants ~ June 26: Fiona @ Tangled Blossoms Designs; Carla @ Half Dozen Daily ~ June 27: Sherri @ Thread Riding Hood; Reece @ Happy Okapi ~ June 28: Nicky guest posts on Seam of my Pants ~ June 29: Daniela @ On the Cutting Floor; Reece @ Happy Okapi ~ June 30: Michelle @  Canada Day–June 31*: Ula @ Lulu & Celeste ~ July 2: Marsha @ Seam of my Pants ~ July 3: Keshia @ Sand Dollar Design Studio ~ July 4: Wrap Up @ Happy Okapi ~ July 6: Giveaway winners announced ~ * Yes, we know!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for reading Thread Riding Hood. Don’t miss a post – come #alongforthreadride!

Today’s #RandomFunFact: Since styling my oldest with boots and knee-high socks for this photo shoot, she has decided that this is her new style and wears it everywhere. We really need to get this girl some Dr Martens! Can you tell I went to high school in the 90′s?!

Disclosure and Privacy Policy:  The Fedora Hat pattern from E&E Patterns was sent to me free of charge as part of this blog hop. As always, my opinions are my own. 

Earth Indigo Fabric – a Canadian Online Fabric Store {+ discount & giveaway!}

2016 June 20

Good Monday to you! I’m happy to introduce the 19th Canadian Online Fabric Store in this series to you today! Monica from Earth Indigo will be joining us for an interview, a little bit about her shop and a giveaway & discount for you!

Earth Indigo is not the “typical” quilting cotton online shop I usually interview. I’m excited that they carry handloom and hand printed fabrics from all over the world, batiks, organic cotton and hemp based fabrics, jersey and tencel knits and chambray. When I talked to Monica she mentioned that she loves minimalist draped clothing, so she stocks linens and knits too!

The idea of Earth Indigo was conceived in October 2015 and my etsy store started in January this year, with the online store starting a month later. I was a full time stay at home mom taking care of my twins for 18 months and I started craving something else to focus on in my life. I love fabric, even more than sewing itself. I also started to get into weaving. I can’t help but want to give other weavers in the world a channel to get their crafts out to crafters in this part of the world.” ~ Monica, Earth Indigo

Thread Riding Hood: What was your main goal when starting Earth Indigo?

Monica: I love ethnic fabric and would like to introduce beautifully handcrafted fabric that reflects cultural beauty to the craft community in North America. Also I believe crafters are kind-hearted – that we can contribute to make this world better by using ethical and environmental friendly fabric.

Thread Riding Hood: What is your favorite type of sewing project? 

Monica: I like making clothing as well as some other useful gift items, eg. nursing cover, eye pillow, cushion, pouch etc.

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

Monica: I have some beautiful fair trade handwoven fabric from Guatemala that were woven on backstrap looms coming up soon. I’m also exploring handprinted fabric from China and India that hopefully will see them at the store in the summer.

Thread Riding Hood: Thanks Monica! 

Hooray! Earth Indigo is offering a discount at their shop until July 31, 2016!

Use the code TRHCHEERS15 to get 15% off your order.

I’m so excited, Earth Indigo is giving away this gorgeous hand printed batik fabric – one roll each to two lucky winners! It is a fair trade vintage styled batik printed by North Thailand Hmong Hill Tribe artisans on cotton fabric. So pretty! Each winner will get one roll of fabric 12″ wide by 5 1/2 yards. Think of all of the amazing things you could make with that much goodness!

This giveaway is open to everyone world-wide, from today (June 20th) until midnight June 27, 2016 (PST). 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 for reading Thread Riding Hood. Don’t miss a post – come #alongforthreadride!

Disclosure and Privacy Policy: Earth Indigo contacted me earlier this year and I like what they are selling! They provided fabric, a giveaway and are a blog sponsor as part of our collaboration for this interview series.  I won’t promote a shop that I do not love, and my opinions will always be my own. Thanks for reading! 

500th Post Giveaway!

2016 June 17

It’s taken 3 years and 341 days, but we got here and this is the 500th post I’ve written for Thread Riding Hood! I figured I should make a big deal about it since I’m feeling like it’s kind of a big milestone. Crazy things have happened over the past almost-four years. I started this blog as a place to write about my sewing and it has turned into a real job. I’ve met amazing people, made great friends and worked with people I never thought I’d meet!

It’s been an amazing ride, thank you so much for coming along with me! #alongforthreadride

Just in case you are curious (like me!) here are the Top 5 Most Popular Posts EVER on Thread Riding Hood. After you peruse the list (hee hee) you can enter for your chance to win my celebration giveaway!

#5: Stuffed Animal Chair FREE Pattern & Tutorial

#4: Cat-Eye Zipper Pouch FREE Pattern & Tutorial

#3: Sunny Glasses Case FREE Pattern & Tutorial

#2: Super Hero Cape FREE Pattern & Tutorial

#1: Canadian Online Fabric Shops

I’m giving away a scrappy fabric bundle of some of my favorite blues. The winner will also receive a copy of each of my PDF patterns! That includes the Forest Glen Satchel, Reusable Lunch Bag, Fabric Gift Bag patterns, Super Hero Cape and Cat-Eye Zipper Pouch pdf’s. Whew!

It was so hard to choose the bundle! I wanted to share some of my favorite fabrics, but didn’t have full fat quarters of all of them. Plus they didn’t all make a nice matchy bundle! So I started with a scrappy cut of my long-hoarded Tula Pink Octo Garden and chose some other favorite blues from there. Lots of them are fat quarter or 1/4 yard cuts. Also, being truly scrappy, some are pre-washed – but wanting to share my favorites, that’s the way they come! I also added a set of fabric quilt labels for good measure. I hope you like it!

This giveaway is open to everyone world-wide, from today (June 16th) until midnight June 23, 2016. 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

A Very Hungry Caterpillar Skirt

2016 June 10

Thank you so much everyone for all of your kind words on my last post. I have found that rest is helping so, so much, and I am doing my very best to not overbook myself going forward. It’s so easy to feel overwhelmed by the number of creative things available for doing – but I am learning that it is ok not to be “doing” all of the time. Also, I was relieve to find that the number of people visiting this blog did not go down while I was away – good news for sure!

I’ve pulled an oldie-but-goodie project today (read: made last year and sat in the mending pile until last month!). This also happens to be Thread Riding Hood’s 499th post  - wow! I think I will do a little pdf pattern giveaway next week for the 500th. Crazy that I’ve written that much!  I am so grateful for each and every one of you for coming back post after post.

Last year around this time, my youngest had an end-of-the-year school presentation for her junior-kindergarten class. Her teacher had chosen to act out Eric Carle’s book The Very Hungry Caterpillar - and worked for months on the project I’m sure. It was so cute! Little 4 and 5 year old’s each being one of the foods in the story, while a “caterpillar” ate them up. My daughter was chosen to be a narrator (ie. “read” some of the book) and she was SO proud! How could I not sew something for her to wear? Of course this happened the night before the presentation, as usual!

I’ve always loved No Big Dill’s Once Upon a Thread series, so making clothing based on a book seemed natural. Eric Carle’s design style is amazing. I love the illustrations in his books. He paints onto paper and then cuts it out to create each shape. I figured I could sew up another Potato Chip Skirt and do something with random fabric piecing. Turns out it works great!

I left all of the edges raw to make my life easier – but since they are fused to the skirt they haven’t frayed too much so far. The button caterpillar was based on this idea for a onesie that I found. Instead of embroidering the antennae I used a paint pen for them.

I tried to photographed the skirt while my daughter was on her way out the door to school. (Explaining the different photos in this post.) Here begins the adventure that has lasted a year. Sending a 4 year old to kindergarten in a white skirt required a trip through the wash. In the wash one of the sun’s rays fell off. The skirt then landed in the middle of a giant mending pile.

I finally found my embroidery floss a month or so ago and stitched each fabric piece onto the skirt. Now she can wear it whenever she wants – thank goodness. Turns out she’s talking about bugs right now in school – it’s perfect, like I might have planned it even. (Our little secret, right?!)

I am still so happy with the results – despite being terrified to let her wear a white skirt. Really, if I could I would love to frame it – but she wants to wear it, so that will have to wait. Kinda makes me want to sew up a giant one as a baby quilt though…. The only thing I was a bit sad about was not piecing in the smiling sun face – but that would have been a bit over the top for a “the night before” project!

 What crazy last-minute (or not!) projects have you made lately?

Bloggy News {+giveaway winner!}

2016 May 27

I’ve got a few exciting catch-up newsy things to share with you today!

I am thrilled to let you know that I will be speaking at Quilts at the Creek in Toronto this summer. I was fortunate to talk to a few members of the York Heritage Quilters Guild while at the spring Creativ Festival and they have asked if I would present a trunk show once each day. (Yay!) I’ll be showing fun inspiring projects, talking about the background of Thread Riding Hood and how it (and I) have grown over the past 4 years. This huge quilt display happens at Black Creek Pioneer Village once a year. Quilts of all types are displayed around the village, perfect for a fun summer event. (I’m bringing my kids!)

They are accepting applications for quilt submissions until June 15th if you are interested in displaying some of your hard work. They also feature workshops and vendors – some of my lovely sponsors and many more! My trunk show will be at 1:30 each day, July 23rd and 24th. For more details you can find more trunk shows and workshop information on their website. I would love to meet you there!

On to more exciting news! The winner of the above Ellipse Tote from Among Brenda’s Quilts and Bags is Joanne S! I will be putting her bag in the mail today or Monday. SO thrilled! This bag is super fun and I love the colours. Don’t forget that you can find more pre-sewn purses + patterns to make your own Ellipse bag and others on Brenda’s website.

And a little announcement: The above photos are a re-cap of what’s been happening lately on my Instagram feed. Lots of new fabric and projects, with more on the way! Despite the crazy amounts of new things going on around me, I’ve been told (by a reliable source!) that I should take some time off and rest. Unfortunately, I’ve had difficulty doing simple tasks lately, along with exhaustion and new-to-me feelings of anxiety.

I think that I have pushed too hard with too many things on my to-do list for so long that my body has decided it’s time to get me to take a small break. I tend to put “me” on the back burner and I am (so excited) to be taking a tiny bloggy vacation. One week (or so) to just have fun with my kids, sew projects I’ve been wanting to work on, and not “feel bad” for stopping to read a book. Remembering to take it easy is going to be so hard for my go-go-go brain to do! But, as someone reminded me recently – If I don’t take care of me I will be of no use to myself, let alone anyone else!

I’m hoping to share more about my journey to “calm” as I learn how to re-work my life and deal with stress in a more manageable fashion. If you have any tips they would be most appreciated! See you again soon!

How to Lengthen Any Dolman Sleeve!

2016 May 22

I’ve spent the last few weeks slowly getting into gear and planning the next few months of blog posts. So many things to share! I think I could schedule posts until November if I wanted to. I’ve also been cleaning house here – literally – and donating/organizing and re-organizing our spaces.

I’ve been taking stock of things here on the blog as well and doing my best to make good on long-promised tutorials. Today I’ve written a tutorial on how to transition a summer short-sleeved dolman top pattern for spring/fall.

This tutorial will show you how to draft a longer sleeve addition for any dolman top. I LOVE 3/4 length sleeves in the spring and fall – and this tutorial works great for those and for adding length for long sleeves. I’ve seen sleeve additions like this showing up in ready-to-wear dolman sleeve clothing a lot as well. It’s great alternative to cutting long sleeves directly with the bodice of a dolman top, since you can save fabric by cutting the longer sleeve piece separately.

I wear the first Seafarer Top I made with longer sleeves (above) all the time. It is my most-worn handmade top by a long shot. I think the reason is it’s versatile colour (gray!) and also that the fabric is really easy to wash and wear. The silver and cream striped top I made for this post (below) is not likely to get the same treatment. Unfortunately the fabric I purchased washed up scratchy and clingy – not sure it will last long in my closet. I did widen the neckline by cutting two front pieces (on purpose!) instead of a front and a back to make a super comfy larger neck opening. I’m excited to find some better quality fabric and repeat that in my next version.

You can use any dolman sleeve pattern as a base for drafting this sleeve addition. I have used the kid size dolman Skipper Top from Sew Much Ado because the pattern pieces are smaller and easier to photograph. (Find the women’s Seafarer here.) You can also easily draft and sew your own Dolman Sleeve Top using a well fitting tee.

Draft the Dolman Sleeve Length Addition Pattern Piece

  • paper
  • ruler
  • marker
  • pattern weights (or heart shaped rocks!)
  • any dolman sleeve pattern

This tutorial is written for pattern pieces with seam allowances included. The new sleeve addition will have added seam allowances as well, except where noted. Mark and fold back the seam allowance along the sleeve opening of your pattern. Note the seam allowance for your particular pattern and use this throughout this tutorial.

Step 1: Measure the wearer’s arm or an existing tee to find your desired sleeve length. Keep in mind that this method adds to the length of your pre-existing dolman sleeve. The lengthening starts AFTER the sleeve, not at the shoulder where a normal sleeve would start. Also, if your pattern calls for sleeve bands instead of hemming, make sure to shorten your desired additional length accordingly, leaving a seam allowance on end of sleeve where the band will be sewn.

Step 2: Draw a line 90 degrees from top of shoulder/sleeve to your desired length. (A)

Step 3: Decide how wide the end of the sleeve needs to be to fit around your arm. Divide this measurement by 2 and add your seam allowance. Draw this measurement as a line 90 degrees down. (A) to (B).

Step 4: Draw line (C) connecting (B) to the bottom of the original pattern’s sleeve opening.

Step 5:Add the sleeve opening seam allowance.

  • Unfold the seam allowance on your original pattern piece.
  • Mark seam allowances at top and bottom as ((D) and (E)
  • Mark the edges of your drafted sleeve addition as (F) and (G)
  • Place the original pattern right side down on the new sleeve addition matching pints (D) and (F) and points (E) and (G).
  • Trace the bottom seam allowance – from points E and G to the edge – and then trace the sleeve opening as line (H).
  • Remove the pattern piece and connect line A to line H with a 90 degree corner.

Step 6: Label your pattern piece with all the necessary information and mark the “Cut on fold” line.

Determining new sleeve band size (if applicable): Sleeve band width is the same as the hem band width. Measure double the final width of the new sleeve opening (A) to (B). Double this measurement to determine the final width. Remove about 1/4″ of this width to get the new width for the sleeve band. Since all knits stretch differently, this is only a guide. Use your judgement as to how tight you want the final sleeve band to be.

Example : Sleeve Opening = 9″ (includes seam allowance), remove 1″ (1/2″ seam allowance on each side) = 8″ final width. Remove 1/4 of 8 = 6″ width. Add the seam allowances back in 6+ 1″ (1/2″ seam allowance on each side) to get a 7″ final width.

How to Sew the Dolman Sleeve Length Addition 


  • sleeve length addition pattern piece, drafted above
  • dolman tee pattern
  • fabric (you may need extra to account for the longer sleeve)
  • general sewing things

Step 1: Follow your pattern to the step where both shoulders are sewn together.

Step 2: Line up the long sleeve addition right sides together with the original sleeve, matching the sleeve openings.

Step 3: Sew the seam  with the original pattern’s seam allowance. Serge/finish the edges and press the seam allowance towards the new sleeve.

Step 4:Finish your tee as indicated in your pattern.

I hope you enjoy your tee! Check out more tutorials like this on the tutorials tab above, or follow along to keep track of new projects!


How to Sew Leather {a Round Up}

2016 May 13

Happy School PD Day to you! I know it might be a regular school-day in your area, but my kids (and vicariously) I are on vacation today so here’s a quick post with some fun tips for sewing leather, vinyl and faux/vegan leather.

When my oldest was little, I went to a leather shop and bought a huge bag of larger scraps by-the-pound to make her some tiny leather shoes. I got so much experience sewing them, and have gotten back into sewing with leather and vinyl again this year.

After making my Marmalade jacket and Canvas/Leather Forest Glen Satchel, I realized I’ve written 3 tip posts about leather and vinyl. One for this blog, one for Craftsy and one for eHow, so here they are. I hope they help!

If you have any questions about sewing with leather/vinyl please ask them in the comments below and I’d love to do my best to help you out. If you have any tips those are most welcome too!

I’m off to pack a picnic and head to Ann’s Fabric Shop in Hamilton for some bathing suit materials. The kids want to pick their own fabric and have grand plans (with drawings!) of what they want. I made this Scirocco-based bathing suit for my oldest a few years ago and it was so much easier than I thought. The girls are outgrowing their suits right now, so it seemed like a good outing for our day off.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Creativ Festival – Spring 2016 {+ a giveaway!}

2016 May 10

Be Brave and Sew – a Trunk Show

This year’s Creativ Festival was definitely a different experience. I met with some new amazing shop owners, connected with new friends, met online friends in person and talked to old ones too. (Including Among Brenda’s Quilts and Bags who is providing a giveaway & discount today!)

I realized as I’m pulling photos together, that I didn’t manage very well in all the busyness to take a variety of photos. Unfortunately, most of these are from sponsor booths – something I plan to change at the Fall show! That said, I love my sponsors and have linked the photos to their shops so you can find all the fun stuff in the pictures. This post is an amazing list of great Canadian online resources!

Starting at the beginning…. I went to the show early on Thursday to deliver lots of samples and set my things with Janome. The “Quick on the Draw” Isogram mini-quilt went to Fabric Spark and the original Pretty Floral Divided Tote to Country Clothesline. My girls were thrilled that their tulle Easter Dresses were on display. And I am still so excited that I got to have my Sewing Diariessamples hung up at Janome as well. They even made me posters! *blush*

Friday was a whirlwind for sure, and I mostly concentrated on my Trunk Show and talking to lots of amazing sewers at the Janome booth afterwards. My sponsors provided some amazing prizes for both trunk shows - flannel fat quarter bundles from Fabric Please!, a Herringbone Runner kit from Fabric Spark, a calendar from Meerkat Shweshwe, fat quarter bundles from Country Clothesline and a lovely Carkai bundle from Sew Sisters. I got to give away so much fabric! Totally made my day :)

Pretty things from Country Clothesline.

Leanne from Country Clothesline.

Saturday was even more eventful. After the Trunk Show I was excited to get to walk around and actually shop! (My new stash is in this post.) I was thrilled to meet some of my online friends from various Facebook groups. Rachelle from That’s Sew Venice, Michelle Tims from Barabooboo Designs and the amazing Carla from Carla’s Creations.

I got to talk to Berene from Happy Sew Lucky briefly on Friday as well. She designed the amazing Rainbow Mash-Up Quilt below. Isn’t it gorgeous! You can get kits for it here. Monica from Earth Indigo and I met to chat as well. She has a new online shop with eco-friendly and ethical fabrics – some great jerseys (stripes!) and heirloom gorgeous fabrics!

Rainbow Mash-Up Quilt by Happy Sew Lucky. Kits from Fabric Spark.

Gorgeous variety of fat quarters from Fabric Spark!

I wanted to mention two “new-to-me” online Canadian shops as well. Catherine from Distinctive Sewing Supplies has an huge apparel stock, including lots of notions. I got to see some of her presentation on Saturday with the kids, which was fun! I was also introduced to Alma from Sew Fancy – Specialty Sewing Supplies. She gave me a tour of her shop and there are so many amazing unique products there! I can’t even begin to list them here, but once things settle down I’m going to have to go find some of her one-piece Velcro.

I couldn’t resist a photo of these rainbowtized solids from Fabric Please!

Whew… I also got to run around a bit with my kids, and let them choose fabric for some new dresses. They had fun checking out the booths and talking to everyone. Plus, it didn’t hurt that we got them the obligatory giant lemonade and ice cream cone of course!

I love that they can be involved in what I’m doing and they are so cute when they get excited that Mommy is “famous” because I’m in posters. Kids are awesome! It’s fun to show them hobbies other people have as well. Hopefully inspiring them to be all kinds of creative.

Towards the end of the show, I connected with Brenda from Among Brenda’s Quilts and Bags. She provided a giveaway here a few years ago and I’m excited to have her back! Here’s a little bit about this giveaway:

Every year at CreativFestival Brenda has numerous people ask to buy bag samples.  It’s taken some time, but she has begun manufacturing her own unique line of bags.  Today’s giveaway bag is called the Ellipse Bag.  But of course, if you love making your own bags, she carries all the patterns, hardware kits and things needed to sew your own.  Brenda loves to sew and knows that you do too!  

As a thank you Brenda is offering 15% off on all purchases till May 15th.  Use coupon code ILOVEBAGS! when you check out.  

This giveaway is open to readers from the US and Canada! From today (May 10th) until midnight May 16th, 2016. 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

Since the Fall Creativ Festival is moving from downtown Toronto to the International Centre, I am curious to see how it affects the show and how it will be different or the same. Either way, I will be there and hope to see you there too!

Finding my passion. (where I didn’t expect it)

2016 May 6

This post was going to be a re-cap of the Spring Creativ Festival (which was amazing!) but instead I’m feeling inclined to talk about why the blog has been so quiet for the past few weeks. I’ve included a few photos of things I got at the show, because this is a sewing blog after all! Aren’t they pretty? I’ll do a proper re-cap (with a fun giveaway!) early next week.

Love these Japanese fabrics from Kallisti Quilts! I’m going to make something for me with them :)

Going backwards first, a few months before the Creativ Festival Janome emailed and asked me if I would like to do a trunk show. I was super excited and honoured that they asked, but also super (super) afraid! I had never talked anywhere before – much less on a stage, with a microphone, for 45 minutes – yikes! It took everything in me to say “Yes” and take the amazing opportunity. All the while trying I was trying to believe that you should do things out of your comfort zone to grow as a person.

In short…. I got the chance to find my passion and prove to myself that I am stronger than I thought!

Long story?

The whole thing began with the idea to name the talk “Be Brave and Sew”. This topic provided an amazing basis for me to discover what I really love to do. I am so grateful to Debbie from Janome for suggesting it. As I thought about what to say about my sample projects I found that a lot of them were beginner-based free tutorials I’d posted. Simple projects – the Fat Quarter Skirt, World’s Fasted Pencil Case, the Super Hero Cape. I wrote my talk around hopefully inspiring everyone to begin with simple things and move on to more complicated projects as they felt ready.

My youngest chose Wrap It Up from Fabric Spark for a new dress that goes “to the floor”!

I don’t have an easy going personality and push myself way too hard to be “perfect” in absolutely everything blog-related that I do. Of course as a result, I pushed too hard on this and spent so much time worrying about the unknown that I am still recovering 2 weeks later! (Hence the quiet blog.) I was absolutely exhausted – emotionally and physically – afterwards.

On the day of I was (quite literally) feeling sick. Thankfully I didn’t actually lose my lunch – but I was pretty much a wreck. I knew I was going to be “ok” once I got up on stage because I needed to be, but before-hand? Yikes… I was so grateful that my husband was there to help, he was able to talk me through my tears and nerves – love him so much for being amazing and supportive.

Aurifil from Fabric Please! as part of her new Thread of the Month Subscription.

I got miked up (is that a thing?!) a few minutes early and was so excited to see my friend Lisa in the audience. It helped a ton to have a face I recognized in the audience. When I actually walked up on stage and started talking, I realized the mic wasn’t on, and it took a few seconds of inward-panic until I got it working. Despite the crazy start, the time flew by and amazingly ended on-time, even though I could have easily talked for a couple more hours.

After a rush of meeting so many great people that came up to say “Hi” (my favorite!), I got a few minutes to think and realized that I really actually liked speaking. This new revelation was so surprising to me! I started this blog thinking it would be “safe”. Somewhere I could express my introverted self’s love of sewing to the world without fear of interacting and actually talking to other humans. Through the past almost-four years I’ve found that humans are what I really actually want. Looking back I think I’ve become a lot less introverted as a result.

Saturday’s talk was so much easier in comparison. I got to meet a few more online friends in person (Yay!) and felt much more comfortable. I was able to relax a bit, hang out and talk to everyone and my kids even got to come visit as well! It just reinforced what I had learned the day before.

My oldest picked some florals for a summer dress from Country Clothesline.

The passion part? The need to share what I love with others runs so deep. I fount out I am most passionate about doing my best to inspire sewers to sew more, and beginners to start. I want to help others understand that sewing is not scary or hard. That there is a solution to everything, it’s called practice (and a seam ripper!). I want everyone to sew with the next seam (or step) in mind – not the finished project that looks “too hard” – because with enough desire to learn, you can sew anything!

I am so grateful that I have been allowed to realize all of these things. I am already doing something I love to do by writing here, and now I can go farther with it. This blog is so much fun, but I would love to do more – and I’m realizing that I am ok at being a people-person too! I’m hoping a day comes when I’m able to do multiple sewing-related things – talks, workshops, writing here… and whatever else comes my way.

Lacie Zippers from Border Creek Station

Last but not least…. I am so glad that I have been allowed to share space with this amazing creative community. I am so grateful that I’m literally in tears while writing this. You are all so kind to come back post after post. I have so many positive experiences to look back on and I’m so excited for where this is taking me.

I would be remiss not to especially thank Janome for taking a chance on inviting a newbie to speak. They truly have been so supportive, amazing and so nice to work with. Without them I would not have learned all of these things and I will carry that through the rest of my life for sure.

I wanted to write about my experience to hopefully inspire you to go farther in whatever it is that you love – it is never too late or too scary. And I hope all of you are granted the amazing gift I’ve gotten to find your passion in life. I hope I don’t sound high on myself, or sound like I think I’m the best at everything, because I’m not – I have just been allowed to learn about this part of me and I’m excited to see where it goes. Here’s to the future!

What do you think? What is your passion?

My youngest sewist was gifted this super cute fat quarter bundle from Fabric Please! She said Rita wanted to see a picture of her blue sewing machine, so here it is! I’ve got a mommy-daughter project all picked out for it :)

As a little P.S. for you since you are still reading! (Thank you!)  I’ve gotten feedback that I am likely speaking once or twice more this year in the Toronto area. Yay! I’m so excited and hope that if you live in the area that you might be able to come out so I can meet you. :)

Perfectly unPerfect Quiet Book

2016 April 27

I’m a bit embarrassed to show you this project today… I love taking pictures of perfectly sewn products and posting them here. Of course, it’s not a realistic view of how I live – my house looks like I haven’t cleaned in a month right now! (Which might be right – argh!) But it sure is satisfying to make everything look pretty.

I promised everyone at my Creativ Festival Trunk Show over the weekend that I would post the quiet book that started my free 12 page Quiet Book patterns. The one I made my oldest for her first birthday, about 8 years ago now! This Quiet Book is anything but perfect. I had so much to learn about sewing and was working it out as I went along. It has so many things I’d change now, least of which are my fabric choices. Pattern & character overload – wow!

This book’s unperfectness (#itsaword) is exactly what I want to share today. Things don’t have to be perfect to be loved and given away. My oldest was thrilled when I found this book in storage. She spent time looking at each page and laughing at the photos. Her smallest cousin isn’t even in the book, and everyone is 8 years younger. Crazy how fast things change. She doesn’t care about the overuse of the zigzag stitch and fraying edges. She just likes it because I made it just for her.

So here’s my unPerfect Quiet Book. I’m hoping it might inspire you to go ahead and make that project that you’ve been putting off – because you “don’t know enough” or “won’t get it exactly like the Pinterest photos”. Comparing is not allowed when you are doing what you love!

 I’ll be sharing my Creativ Festival re-cap later this week and the lovelies I brought home on Instagram as well. See you again soon!

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