To round off the perfect Christmas shopping trip, you'll find one of the best ice cream parlours in the lower mainland, Rocky Point Ice Cream, in Rocky Point Park. It's ideally located for wandering with your cone out onto the dock. Or check in to one of the craft brew pubs along Brewers Row and sample a local draft.
These are just a few of the many reasons to shop and relax in Port Moody this season.
A dad and mum popped into the Stitchery Studio saying their daughter wanted to make a shirt. "Help! That sounds so complicated."
It's so great that she has this ambition, but if she starts with something hard, she'll get discouraged. "Start at the beginning,” I advised. “Learn some basic stitches. Attend after school classes to improve skills. A shirt might not be a this-year project but she could make hand-stitched felt birds to learn the stitches, and move up from there."
It turns out the dad had never been taught to sew by his parents and always wanted to. The son, the girl's brother, also wants to learn. Now the whole family is doing an activity together - learning a skill together.
It's an appealing aspect of Gen Z, our children today, that they are (compared to my generation at least) more interested in experiences than stuff. Gifts which are activities can lead to precious family memories. Activity-gifts appeal especially to today's waste-conscious shoppers, who can't stand the throw-away nature of Christmas gift-giving. Whoever the recipient is, there's an activity gift to suit them: my father-in-law is getting a renewed membership of the rec center (just don't tell him yet).
But my favorite activity gifts are those that allow us to be creative. So few of life's experiences these days engage our creative and tactile minds, a crafting kit, or a sewing class can be a unique escape back to childhood, or into a new world of making. Crafting is stress-reducing; crafting as a family is bond-building.
My top 7 creative activity gifts for 2018:
Pop into the Stitchery to find these and many more activity gift ideas including gift certificates for our classes!
The easy sunglasses case.
Making a sunglasses case is a practical summer project that is easy enough for beginners. Know a young person who is eager to learn to sew? Or perhaps you have a few hours and want to exercise your creative muscles?
Try one of the free patterns with instructions listed below and you too will be able to respond to compliments with, "Why thank you. I made it myself."
We have lots of bright, colourful fabrics in store that are perfect for this project. Come in to the shop and you will be spoilt for choice.
A roundup of the top 5 sewing things I am currently happy about. Some are new things; some are regular essentials. This post is part inspiration and tips for you, and part insight into the heart behind The Stitchery Sewing Studio.
What are your favourite sewing things this season? Comment below or drop by and tell me over a cup of tea.
Kitka Neyedli, local Port Moody maker and stitcher, will be teaching how to make a fabric bag on Saturday November 4th. I sat down to get to know her a bit better. Here is some of her story.
2. How did you get started?
My mum sewed by necessity (kind of) because we lived in a small town. When I moved into my own home I made stuff for it. When I got married and had a family I made cloth diapers because that is now my world. I make somewhat out of economy. If I can make it in bulk numbers I can do it cheaper than buying it. I found that making clothes for my kids they would grow out of them very fast so I wondered what else I could make that would be cherished by my family? That's when I was bitten by the quilting bug. I made lots of fluffy pillows for the boys, storage baskets for the home, fabric bags... I like the challenge and variety of learning about different fabrics and techniques. It's a good way to live.
4. Describe an upcoming or current project.
The tote bags for The Stitchery. I've completed 2 bags so far. I would use the smaller one for library books. It's in summer colours, bright and cheerful, so I will use it in the rain. The larger one has a contrast lining for fun. Upcoming works include some cool shapes for bags by an English designer in Japanese style in dark colours. Also, hexies. You whipstitch multiple hexagons together so I have about 1-2m of hexagons sewn in cool colours. Now I have to dream up what to do with it. I also have a stack of mending that keeps on getting buried by the other things I want to start.
5. What is one thing you would like people to notice about you?
My enthusiasm. Most people say I'm an enthusiastic person. Gosh! I've never been in the room when I leave so I'm not sure what people think of me (laughs). I like to be an encourager for people to explore their creative side. I like to help people make something. If people want to know my aesthetic they can find me on Instagram @madebykitka
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.
Welcome to Stitched: a place where I share tips, resources, and reflections on the stitcher's life.