In this birthday year for Canada I thought I would share some Canadian resources for stitchers and textile artists. Since we are 6 days from opening here are 6 resources that I recommend.
1. BC's Lower Mainland staple fabric store Fabricana has a blog full of projects and helpful information for beginners and intermediate stitchers. In particular there is a "Fabric 101" section with some great posts to help you make informed choices for your textile projects. http://www.fabricana.com/blog-category/fabric-101
2. Tanis in Montreal, QC, blogs about dying, knitting, and yarns on her beautiful site Tanis Fibre Arts. Lots of gorgeous inspiration and great knitting patterns here, as well as beautiful yarns for sale. http://www.tanisfiberarts.com/blog/
3. Thread Theory Designs, a menswear sewing pattern company on Vancouver Island, BC, is a great place to find contemporary and stylish patterns for menswear. They also have a great blog. Check out this post about upcycling and visible mending https://threadtheoryblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/04/mend-dont-toss-visible-mending-up-cycling-and-fitting/
4. Speaking of patterns, Sewaholic Patterns is a Canadian pattern design company in Vancouver, BC. Their selection of patterns ranges from beginner-level to intermediate/advanced. Each pattern comes with clear, easy to follow instructions. You can order paper patterns to be delivered to you or purchase downloadable pdf versions to print yourself. http://www.sewaholicpatterns.com
5. For some visual inspiration follow Jessica Margaret Art on Instagram. Her work covers painting, illustration, and embroidery. Her style is bold and invites you to ask "what's the story?" https://www.instagram.com/jessica.margaret.art/
6. Get your Merino Big Stitch Yarn from Sarah Willey at Mama Knows Luxury. With a vision to support and encourage makers Sarah has a plethora of resources on her site for knitters and wool enthusiasts including video tutorials and a Preferred Makers Program. Find it all online at http://www.mamaknowsdesign.com
Photo by @coziknots (instagram), one of Mama's Preferred Makers.
What or who are your go-to resources for inspiration, tips, or projects to make? Write a comment below or send me a message. I would love to hear from you. Thank you.
As a beginner the fabric store can offer an overwhelming number of choices of tools and resources to get you started. Here are my top 10 must-have items for your kit. With these you can start sewing. After you get started you will have a better idea of what specialized items you might like to add to expand your capacity for making stitched creations.
1. Dressmaking scissors. A good pair of scissors is a valuable investment. These should only be used for cutting fabric as other items like paper will dull the blades faster.
2. Smaller scissors. A small pair of embroidery scissors or similar are handy for snipping threads, cutting small details, or getting into tight corners.
3. Tape Measure. A must-have to hand for checking seam widths and other measurements as you go along. Attention to detail in measuring makes all the difference to your finished piece.
4. Iron and ironing board. Press, press, and press again. Press your fabric, press your seams as you go along. Another area where attention to detail makes a big difference.
5. Pins and pin cushion. A magnetic pin cushion is useful for picking up dropped pins as well as keeping them safely in one place. Different pins are designed for different uses but for now a box of straight dressmaker pins (with or without a ball head) is all you need.
6. Dressmaker's chalk or pencil. Use blue or pink chalk on light coloured fabrics and white or yellow chalk on dark colours.
7. Clear Quilting or Grading Ruler. You might start with a 6"x24" especially if you want to try quilting.
8. Seam Ripper. For those times when you need to rip it out and try again. It happens.
9. Pinking Scissors. To stop the cut fabric edges from fraying. This is a simple way to finish inside seams without a serger. Other methods include making a French Seam (but that is for another blog post).
10. Needles. You can now buy "easy-threading" needles which are a good all-round basic hand sewing needle. Otherwise embroidery needles are good for most uses. Most sewing stores will also sell variety packets so you will have a range of the most common needles. Choose your needle according to your project: embroidery, darning, etc.
There you have my top 10 must-have items for your sewing kit. There are many more bits and bobs you can collect to make your projects easier. Your local fabric store can give you advice on what is available. Or you can visit me at The Stitchery Sewing Studio in Port Moody. I am happy to chat with you, even offer you a cup of tea, and help you with your creative projects. We also have a range of basic sewing tools for sale in our studio if you are putting together a kit.
That is all for now.
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