Craft

Toronuuh show & tell

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I am now back from my holiday and feeling refreshed. Not only has being away got me excited about starting some new projects, it has also given me some energy to show off.

Toronto (pronounced Toronuuh if you’re a local) treated me very well and I had a week full of activities, sunshine, chicken wings and lovely Canadians.

Before I start showing off my spoils, I must firstly thank the amazing and knowledgable, Michael and Faye Harnest. These Torontonians offered us endless advice, recommendations, ciders and potato chips, making our trip really spectacularly lovely.

We were staying at the very trendy Drake Hotel. So trendy was this hotel that the toilet paper was multicoloured- yeah that’s how I travel. Thursday through Saturday saw queues round the block to get in to the hotel bar and terrace, it was more than once we were asked for our IDs as the bouncers thought we were trying to skip the queue “no we’re staying here and going to bed!” Replied two pooped tourists.

The hotel’s location on Queen Street, meant getting around was very easy with most things either somewhere along the 501 tram line or an easy walk through the many characterful neighbourhoods.

It was no coincidence that Queen Street also runs through the city’s fashion district and many a fabric shop.
Due to the British pound- Canadian dollar exchange rate at my time of visiting, we were treated to some real bargains, one sales assistant noted that for us it was like “a half off sale on everything“…fabric and vinyl inclusive.

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The biggest and most know store is King Textiles where I started my fabric spree, on Spadina Ave, close to the amazing Banh Mi Boys if you need some pre fabric shopping fuel.Untitled design (1)
Some reviews online, say that this store is soulless and the staff unhelpful, but I’d say exactly the opposite. From the moment I walked in the staff were attentive and asked if I needed any help to find what I was looking for. A sales assistant was happy to cut my choices, as I wandered and pile up my booty at the cash register.

From King Textiles I cam away with the following…

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Some medium weight slightly stretchy denim. Currently plans are either for a Sigma dress or Textured shift dress from the GBSB books.
I also came away with some Liberty print fabric too- I know it seems mad that I bought this on the other side of the Atlantic, but with it being on sale in the store plus the exchange rate, it was just under £10/yard which is cheaper than most places in Blighty. I think this is destined to become an Emery dress and any offcuts stashed for fancy pocket linings.

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I also got this red spotty viscose/crepe, which was also available in a moss green, mustard and navy colour-way. It has a really nice drape and was a bargin, so was very hard to resist the other colours, but there’s something about a red dress I can’t resist. At the moment this has plans to become a new ByHand London, Zeena Dress, I think.

If you then head back onto Queen Street West there is a run of about another seven or eight fabric shops. I had a speedy wander in most of them, but with limited time, I didn’t get to rummage as fully as I would have liked. As with fabric shops here in London, the choice varied from the hectic to the impeccable, with many of the shops also having a ‘specialism’ for example, lace or sequins.

I picked up a few more pieces from Chu Shing Textiles– they specialise in fabric for theatre and dance costumes, so had lots of spandex, lace and lamé. Most of the shops had sales bins, as well as their full price stock. This shop was very well laid out, but the staff weren’t too cheerful, but happy to answer questions when asked.

At this shop I got…

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Some violet lycra, bought with swimsuit ambitions in mind, maybe the Nautilus from Seamstress Erin.
The second is a strange, spongy, metallic knit in a kind of pinky bronze. I love metallics and unusual textures, plus this was on sale at only $6/yard. Even why buying this, I thought to myself what a nightmare this is going to be to sew and can imagine the hoovering session that will be needed after the fray-fest. At this moment, I can only think of this as (another!) slinky Scout tee, but am open to suggestions!

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Whilst I was in King Textiles, I also got some heavy forest green crepe. I have been after something like this for a while to make a clean plain dress, so a possible Emery on the horizon?
Lastly I finished off with some forest green lace from Chu Sing, this too was on sale at $15 per yard, so with the exchange about £7. This had lovely scalloped edges and beautiful cording details. Obvious plans are to make a pencil skirt and I’d like to try our Sew Over It’s ultimate pencil skirt, to be worn with slouchy tees and leather jackets. The last pencil skirt I sewed was from the GBSB book and hasn’t had much wear mostly due to my fabric choice, not my style at all -momentary sewing insanity-  but have looked at several RTW lace pencil skirt so would be hopeful this would get more showings. Untitled design (2)

Some other shops that I didn’t purchase anything from but are worth honourable mentions are-
Nevern’s sewing supplies: a bit mental but has an amazing deal on zips at 5 for $1. Not to mention they also had this Liverpool FC jersey for any fans far from home.
Affordable Textiles: had a great selection of African Wax Print and also some very realistic faux leathers and wet look jerseys.
Mokuba: is an amazing shop full of trims, lace and ribbons. Here you could get any colour imaginable and even though some are quite pricey a little would go a long way.

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Near the sewing shops there were also a few bead shops too. I popped into ‘Bling Bling’ and picked up these semi precious stones, three strings for $20.

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I am hoping to make some macrame bracelets and also a few mutli-layered necklaces, maybe with some rose gold or copper chain to bring out the earthy tones and wear through autumn over chunky jumpers. If there are any summer camps that need someone for the arts and crafts cabin, I can make myself available, just let me know.

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That’s it for my Holiday Slide Show folks. Are you going anywhere nice? Do you have sewing explorations built into the vacation itinerary?

Bon Voyagé!

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