Tag Archives: DIY

Sourcing Fabric

IMG_9248The question I get asked the most when I’m selling at craft sales, and when people hear I sew is “Where do you buy your fabric?”.  You’d think, living in a large city would mean lots of really great, affordable fabric stores but unfortunately that’s not case.  I’ve heard good things about a couple of smaller quilt shops in Calgary but non of them are near the area of the city I live in and lets be honest, I don’t really want to take kids to the fabric store regardless of how near, or far it is.

This means that I buy about 90% of my fabrics online.  The only big exception to that are the solid fleece fabrics I use on my Baby Booties which I buy at Fabricland.  So far they seem to carry the best quality of solid fleece fabrics that I’ve found anywhere.

So where do I buy my fabric?


I would guess that around 70% of the fabrics I buy are from fabric.com  I kind of have a love hate relationship with fabric.com but it’s the most convenient place for me to source supplies.  It’s a give and take.  The pros fall in the line of most affordable, largest selection, and fairly quick delivery time.  Note that I said delivery time, not shipping time.  Fabric.com is horrendous for shipping your order quickly.  It used to be better, but in the last year I’ve found that it’s a solid week to ten days from when I order to when it’s shipped.  Thankfully once it has shipped it’s usually at my door by late afternoon.

Another pro to fabric.com is that they tend to carry a fabric print for a lot longer than most places.  That means that when I make a bag, dress, or pair of booties that sell really well I can be fairly confident that I’ll be able to keep that item stocked for a long time.  I also love that they carry a wide selection of notions and patterns so I can get the majority of my supplies delivered to my door.  Another bonus is their large selection of organic cotton, which can be next to impossible to find at our local big fabric chain, Fabricland.

Customer service at fabric.com can be either really good, or really bad.  I’ve had excellent service when I received a wrong item, and I’ve had terrible service more than once in regards to items being out of stock that I had ordered.  All in all I’d say they do not have reliably good customer services, but they do have their moments.



A.L. Francis Designs

All my waxed canvas comes from A.L. Francis Designs on Etsy.  The quality is fantastic, prices are really good, and I’ve been more than happy with shipping times and customer service.

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When I’m looking for something a little more unique I browse Etsy for fabric shops.  There’s a great mix of small fabric shops, and gorgeous hand printed fabrics available so it’s usually where I go to splurge on something really nice.


I haven’t ordered through Spoonflower very often, but when I have I’ve been very happy.  My favorite part is that when I’m ordereing fabric I’m also supporting an independent fabric designer and that always makes me happy.  I very recently purchased some fabric from a Calgary local designer, Tara Put and I look forward to turning her gorgeous designs into a bag.

Thrift Stores:

Thrift stores are a fabulous place to buy fabric.  Sometimes you’re not successful in finding usable, great fabrics, but when you do it’s so worth it.  The prices can’t be beat, and you can feel good about using fabric that might otherwise have been thrown out.


Of course with finding great fabric shops, you also sometimes don’t have the best experiences either.  Here’s are some thoughts on places I most likely won’t buy from again.

Girl Charlee Fabrics:

I’ve been continually disappointed with the quality of the knits I’ve ordered from Girl Charlee.  Often the fabric fades and pills quite quickly.  Aside from that, I have ordered from them a lot in the past.  I was a big fan of their bargain lot sales as the prices were unbeatable, and the slightly flawed bundles were great for using to sew either a new pattern or clothes for the kids.  A few months ago however, they stopped shipping the bargain lots outside of the USA.  That kind of rubbed me the wrong way so I really can’t see myself purchasing from them again.

Where do you purchase your fabrics?  Do you have any amazing shops to add to my compiled list?




The Satchel Bag

Satchel Bag

This Spring’s Sew Fab Sale includes my own pattern, The Satchel Bag!  The Satchel Bag is one of my best selling patterns.  It’s an easy pattern, no zippers, no fancy stitching, and it has a nice simple look that can be changed up easily with different fabrics.

Satchel Bag

I love a good canvas bag, which is pretty obvious by my choices in fabrics.  A nice organic cotton canvas is actually pretty easy to find, which makes me love using it even more.

Satchel Bag

Satchel Bag
HT 008 Satchel Bag

I get most of my organic cotton canvas from Fabric.com and all my purse hardware from a great shop called Tantalizing Stitches.

Today is your last chance to purchase The Satchel Bag through the Sew Fab Bundle!  The sale ends tonight!

Read more about the Sew Fab Bundle below!

For one week only, you can have nineteen patterns (plus a fun bonus pattern), chosen specifically for this sale, for only $29.95!  That’s over 80% off the retail value of the bundle!  Plus you can enter to win one of two amazing sewing themed giveaways!

For less than $30 you get a library of sewing resources that you can use over and over again.

Buy It Now

If you’ve never sewn with a PDF pattern before, let me tell you how great it is!  After downloading your pattern, you will print out the pattern itself, creating pattern tiles, if you will.  Simply tape the tiles together to create the full pattern!  At that point you can cut out the size that you need and pin the paper pattern directly to your fabric, or you can trace the pattern size that you need onto sewing paper or tracing paper and cut it out, saving the paper pattern for later when you need to sew another size.  PDF patterns are so convenient because you can print them out as many times as you need!

Now for the part you’ve been waiting for… the patterns!

A collection of 19 PDF Patterns from 19 well-known and up and coming designers are instantly accessible to you by PDF download upon purchase of the Sew Fab Pattern Bundle.  Imagine all of the combinations that you can put together with this bundle of patterns, with many transitioning to fall and winter as well!  Here are the patterns that you will receive (click on the links below the collage for more  information about each pattern.):

Sew Fab Spring 2014 collage

The Laurel Dress or Tunic by Greenstyle Creations, The Satchel Bag by Handmade Therapy, The Lexi Knit Dress and Top by MODKID, The Piko Top by EYMM, The Bowling Shirt from Scientific Seamstress (unisex), The Seraphic Pant by Figgy’s (unisex), The Tulip Pinafore by Too Sweets Patterns, The Big Tote Bag by Things for Boys, The Doll and Carrier by Patchwork Posse, Poppy and Pip Penguins by Betz White, Leather Accent Foldover Pouch by LBG Studio, The Norah Dress and Tunic by Mouse House Creations, Crayon Art Folio by Gingercake, The Tennis Skort (12M-12Y) by Heidi & Finn, The Ruffled Bustle Top by Sumo’s Sweet Stuff, Long Beach Board Shorts (unisex) by Terra’s Treasures, The Cupcake Top (unisex) by Sewing Mama RaeAnna, The Saffron Twirl Dress from Paisley Roots Designs, The Sweet Tea Shorties by Molly Blossom Designs.

New this year is the Sew Fab Pattern Tour!  Some of our favorite sewing bloggers will be sharing their versions of the Sew Fab patterns on their blogs this week, so be sure to check in with them throughout the week of the sale to see how versatile these patterns are!  Here are the stops on the pattern tour…

Sew Fab Pattern Tour Graphic

This Sew Fab Pattern Bundle is only available for one week and will never be available again!  You can purchase the bundle from May 5th at 8 a.m. EST through May 13th at 11:59 p.m. EST and there will be no late sales offered.  Due to the nature of the sale there are no refunds. The pattern bundle expires six months from the end of the sale, so please download and save your patterns upon receiving them.

You don’t want to miss this unique opportunity to purchase a ready made collection of 20 PDF sewing patterns from 19 of the best designers out there!

Buy It Now

This post contains affiliate links.  When you purchase the Sew Fab Bundle through those links I earn a percentage of the sale.  Thank you so much for supporting the Sew Fab Sale!  We all appreciate your business!


Upcycling: Sewing a Child’s Shirt from an Adult’s Shirt

Cupcake TopA while back I grabbed some t-shirts from Michaels at a steal of a deal of $1.50 a piece.  I bought them for my husband but when I took them home he didn’t like the color so I put them aside to use in another project.

Cupcake TopToday I cut up two of them and stitched them back into some shirts for two of my boys.  I used the Cupcake Top Pattern from Sewing Mama Raeanna and altered it a bit.  I shortened the sleeves and lengthened the whole shirt.  My kids are all tall and skinny so as a general rule I have to lengthen every shirt I make.

Cupcake TopI was really impressed with this sewing pattern.  I found it one of the easiest pdf patterns to cut out and tape together, and the sew was really quick.  There are a ton of variations on this shirt, pockets, ruffles, you name it.  I have sewn a lot of different knit shirt patterns and this might just be my favorite.  It was so easy to follow and so clear!

I used the finished edges of the shirts I cut up so I didn’t have to hem anything.  I think each shirt took me maybe 20 minutes to sew.

IMG_6599 IMG_6594 cupcake topThe Cupcake Top Pattern is part of the Sew Fab Sale and is available for just a few more days.  You can read more about all the patterns included here.

Sewing for Me: Day Tripper

IMG_6284A few weeks ago Pattern Anthology released their Just Add Jeans Collection.  I was immediately drawn to the Day Tripper both for it’s looser style and the options to make it long.  I wear leggings a lot so I love a top that is long.IMG_6310

I bought this feather knit from Girl Charlee a couple of months ago and have made myself a couple of tops out of it now.  This one is my favorite.  I used a cream colored organic rib knit for the rest of the shirt.Daytripper Top IMG_6279 I also made the long sleeve version in another Girl Charlee knit.IMG_6274I plan to make at least one more Day Tripper this spring, in a smaller size.  I opted for a slightly larger fit for these tops but I’m curious to see how it would look a bit smaller.

I’m still hoping to make a couple more of the shirts from the collection but they might have to wait until Fall!


Kara Tote Sewing Pattern Release

Cover KTote

I finished it! The Kara Tote PDF Sewing Pattern is finished and ready for purchase!  I sent it out to pattern testers on Sunday and a couple of them were so fast at getting back to me I was able to get the pattern up for sale much faster than I had hoped.

2014 02 07_0561_edited-1This is one of my favorite bags.  I’ve been making it for years and it has always been a best seller in my Etsy Shop.

Some of my testers sent in some gorgeous pictures of their Kara Tote.  Erin of Diedelbug Handmade made this amazing bag.

kara tote Kara tote2I love how she switched up the fabric on the straps and handles.

The Kara Tote Sewing Pattern is available for sale in my Etsy Shop as well in my Craftsy Shop.

More Kids Clothes Week Sewing

A few months ago I splurged and bought some Liberty of London Hello Kitty fabric.  Ara is a big Hello Kitty fan and I’ve always wanted to buy some Liberty of London fabric so I figured it was just meant to be.

Hello Kitty DressToday I finally cut into it and sewed up a dress for my girl for this coming Summer.  I might have to find a cardigan and some leggings for her to wear with it though because she has her heart set on wearing it to church this coming Sunday.

Hello Kitty DressI used a simple dress pattern I had and added a strip of ruffled fabric with lace.  I wanted something simple but pretty and I’m happy with the result.  I still have just over one yard left and I’m thinking a tiered skirt for the last of the fabric.

2014 01 31_00152014 01 31_0068_edited-1I also figured it wasn’t Kids Clothes Week without adding another Bimaa to my kids’ collection so Lachlan got himself a new hoodie too.

2014 01 31_0048_edited-1The moose knit is from Girl Charlee.  I bought one of their slightly flawed bundles so I have yards and yards of this stuff.  Both my older boys want a shirt just like Lachlan’s though so I’m confident it will all get used.  The brown knit and ribbed knit were both in my stash.

Moose Bimaa2014 01 31_0047_edited-1 2014 01 31_0050_edited-1 2014 01 31_0076_edited-1My little dude is long and skinny so I made his Bimaa in a 2T.  He has lots of room left in the sleeves and it’s nice and long on him which I love.

Moose BimaaAfter attempting to photograph my kiddos all week indoors I’m seriously looking forward to Spring and being able to get back outside to photograph.

Reversible Zippy Hoodie

Blog 035I finally did it.  I sewed a garment with a zipper in it.  It’s one of those things I’ve been putting off for no real reason other than it was learning a new skill.  I’ve sewn with zippers a ton just never in clothes before and let me tell you, it’s NOT that hard.

Blog 027It helps that I picked a pattern with seriously amazing instructions.  I used the Reversible Zippy Hoodie pattern by Kitschy Coo and I was really impressed.  It was one of those rare times when I sewed something brand new and didn’t stop at some point completely confused.

Blog 028My goal was to make Brayer a really warm hoodie.  I picked an extra thick sherpa fleece from Fabricland and lined it with a cotton jersey I think I got at a thrift store.  The result is a warm hoodie that is warm through the body and the sleeves.  I’m I the only one who gets annoyed when hoodies are lined through the body and not the sleeves?

Blog 033Brayer loves it. I loved sewing it and the end result is a high quality sweater that cost me under $10.  I’m happy.

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Simple Organization for Patterns (and Lego manuals, recipes, and more!)

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I’m a PDF Sewing Pattern junkie. I’ll admit it.  I have way more than I’ll probably ever sew and only half of those are already printed out.Blog 065 The problem with having so many patterns is trying to keep them organized and sorted so I don’t  print them out a second time when I can’t find the original one I printed.Blog 060

On top of all the bought PDF Patterns I have I also have all my own patterns and templates to store so I needed some kind of filing system for them that didn’t take up much space.  I thought about a small filing folder but I didn’t really have a place to put one so I went with the same system I use for printed out recipes I want to keep.Blog 064

Now each of my patterns, my own or bought, have their own sheet protector.  I often print out a copy of a pattern I really like several times and cut it out in the different sizes that my kids are wearing.  All the sizes of one pattern go in the same sheet protector.  Then I organize the patterns into categories with binder dividers and the whole stack goes in one monster binder.

I love that I can flip through my binder and visually see each of the patterns.  If it’s not obvious to me which pattern it is I write the name of it on with a sharpie on the plastic sleeve.Blog 061I think it’s time I stop buying new patterns. Or I could just get a second binder.

I use this same system for recipes and recently I put it to use for Lego instruction manuals.  My kids love looking through their old manuals to find something new to build but they kept loosing pages and entire manuals.  Now each kit has it’s own sleeve for all the manuals that came with it.  Most kits only have one manual but some of the bigger Lego sets they’ve gotten have had several.

Blog 068The best part about this is that the kids can flip through the pages and find the manual they want without taking each one out.

Blog 069 Blog 071 Thankfully the Lego manuals still fit in one small binder.

You can get sheet protectors at most office supply stores and department stores.  I bought mine at Costco.

Are there other things you can think of to organize this way?  My next thought was for organizing seed packets…

Fancy Pants – Mustache Style

This post contains affiliate links.  When you purchase the Sew Fab Bundle through those links I earn a percentage of the sale.  Thank you so much for supporting the Sew Fab Sale!

September 2013 324It’s almost November so I figured it was a good time to cut into the mustache fabric I got from Girl Charlee.  I also thought it was a great chance to use that fabric on a pair of Fancy Pants Leggings from Titchy Threads! September 2013 322The Fancy Pants Leggings are part of the Sew Fab Sale that is happening for a just a few more days. September 2013 314 Fancy Pants LeggingsI had been eyeing up this pattern for a while.  I’ve sewn several different legging patterns in the past, some bought and some I just drafted myself but I can confidently say this pattern is my favorite.

September 2013 345I can’t decide if my favorite part is the extra panel on the bum, or the fact that you can make them without any elastic on the waist.  The extra panel is amazing, especially for those cloth diapered bottoms.  Not having to put in an elastic makes the whole project faster and easier than most pants patterns. September 2013 335 September 2013 369I’m a big fan of leggings on babies both because they are super comfy for them and because they work so great with my Baby Booties. Finding leggings that aren’t completely girly however can be seriously difficult.  I think I’ll make Lachlan’s from now on. September 2013 362 September 2013 373Next up I plan to sew a pair of these in Ara’s size and maybe some for the boys in some thermal knit for long john’s!

This post contains affiliate links.  When you purchase the Sew Fab Bundle through those links I earn a percentage of the sale.  Thank you so much for supporting the Sew Fab Sale!

Sally Dress!!

This post contains affiliate links.  When you purchase the Sew Fab Bundle through those links I earn a percentage of the sale.  Thank you so much for supporting the Sew Fab Sale!

September 2013 182
My girl got herself another new dress.  When Shannon released her newest dress pattern, The Sally Dress I knew I wanted to make one for Ara.  One of my favorite things about this pattern is the option for longer sleeves.  It gets cold here so wearing any kind of sleeveless dress in the Winter is just not going to happen.  I’m a little suspicious Shannon included longer sleeves because She’s also Canadian and knows a little about cold, even if she does live in a warmer part of the country!

September 2013 184 The Sally Dress came together nice and quick, always a plus with me and it has such cute details.  I love love love the shoulders on it and Ara is obsessed with the pockets.September 2013 198I love that I can pair this dress with tights or leggings and it’s perfect for cool Autumn days.

September 2013 209Ara loves that she can twirl in it!IMG_3062Cute shoulders hey?

IMG_3069 IMG_3072 The Sally Dress is another great pattern that is included in the Sew Fab Sale Get your bundle here and you get this pattern for just over $1.00!

This post contains affiliate links.  When you purchase the Sew Fab Bundle through those links I earn a percentage of the sale.  Thank you so much for supporting the Sew Fab Sale!