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At The Makehouse: Macrame Plant Pot Hanger

Macrame is having a comeback moment. This art of weaving and knotting is believed to have originated in the 13th century in the Middle East. It then moved across Europe to Spain and Italy, and in the 17th century was introduced in Britain. Macrame was most popular in the Victorian era, and then regained popularity in the 1970s as wall hangings, clothing, and home goods such as plant pot hangers (A Brief History of Macrame, Ancient Earth Designs).

Plant hangers are surprisingly simple to make. I had the pleasure of learning how to make one with Grace Lilly of Knotty and Nice Macrame while attending a workshop of hers at The Makehouse. In this workshop, Macrame Plant Hangers, I discovered me how enjoyable and relaxing macramé is to do and left the class with a macramé plant hanger all my own.

Final steps were finishing off the macramé plant holder by cutting the bottom fringes to be the same length and unwinding the twists of rope to create a nice fringe at the bottom of the holder. Then we got to put our plant baby in there and make her feel at home in her new cradle. Our macramé plant hangers ended up being about 3-feet in final length. I named my plant Elfeba and she is very happy in her macramé cradle.

Tips for doing macramé:

  1. Start with more rope than you think you need. Depending on how tight or loose your knots are will depend on how much rope you use, and you don’t want to run out of rope before you finish the project!
  2. Make your knots secure. There is a special magic to finding the right tension for your knots.
  3. Be patient. Any time you are starting a new skill, be patient with yourself. Macrame can be very relaxing once you understand how to tie the knots and get into a good rhythm.
  4. Take a class! I found the art of macramé quite simple once I understood the basic types of knots, however I know the type of learner I am, and I need to be in a class working with an instructor. Pictures in books don’t quite do the art form justice. If you are thinking about trying out a new skill, I encourage you to take a class where you can ask questions and get assistance from an instructor in real time.

Happy making!

xx Cady

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Sewing Machine Repair – Price Increase February 1st!

Please note that Bill Murray’s sewing machine service fee is going up from $60 to $70 as of February 1st!

This is the first time that Bill has raised his rates in many years and we need to make sure that he stays around for many years to come!

If you get your machine in before Feb 1st, you will still pay the current $60+ tx  fee (so long your drop-off ticket has a January date!) Bill’s next pick up will be Tuesday January 29th! You can drop off your machine anytime during our regular opening hours.

Any questions? Call us at 778-430-MAKE(6253) or come by the store. We are open the following hours:

Sunday – 12-4
Monday – Closed
Tues-Thurs – 10-6
Fri-Sat – 10-5


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At The Makehouse: Make Your Own Bamboo Underwear!

I see London, I see France, I can see your underpants!

A while ago I made some cotton and bamboo fabric boxers for my boyfriend, and now I have a pair of undies for myself! The Makehouse offers a few different types of underwear workshops, and most recently I attended the Bamboo Underwear workshop. It was a wonderful evening of sewing taught by Jenny where in the three-hour workshop you create and take home your own pair of cotton bamboo fabric undies! Similar to the boxer workshop, Jenny has all of the pattern pieces pre-cut on a variety of fabrics for when the workshop starts. As I was sifting through the fabric for my undies, I found a piece in the same octopus pattern as the boxers I made for my boyfriend. It was kismet, so now my boyfriend and I have hilariously wonderful matching underwear.

Once your colourway was chosen, it was straight to the serger. First, we serged up the sides. Next, we attached the gusset in a similar manner to the boxers, where we fastened the two layers of the gusset on either side of the bottom edge of the front underwear piece.

That was serged together. Then, we rolled up the underwear into a burrito (like with the boxers) so that we could attach the gusset layers to the bottom edge of the back underwear piece.

Next, we measured the elastic and pinned it in quarters to the waist first, and then the legs. This ensured that you don’t mistake the waistband for the leg elastic and accidentally sew it in the wrong spot. That would create some real funky underwear! And probably not the most comfortable.

When pinning and sewing the elastic, it is important to make sure that the soft side of the elastic is facing upward and being sewn onto the outside of the underwear. Once it is attached, the elastic edge is folded over so that only a decorative edge is showing, and the soft side of the elastic will be on the inside of the underwear. After the underwear is all serged and sewed together, it helped that we gave it a good steam with an iron to relax the elastic and even out the stretch in the fabric.

The women’s style underwear sewed up much faster than the boxers, mostly because there are less pieces to put together. I found that the majority of the workshop was spent on pinning and attaching the elastic and on finishing techniques for the undies.

My octo-undies are super comfy and so fun. I love that I now have my own custom underwear that are fit to my body. I see a lot of underwear creating in my future, and it is an especially fun project for the cold of winter when you don’t necessarily want to go outside all the time.

Jenny often has Bamboo Underwear and Bamboo Boxers workshops happening at The Makehouse. Get your winter project season started by taking a class! Handmade undies are also a great gift for the holidays. Jenny and her team create a variety of fits and colours that are available to purchase at the shop as well.

Undies for everyone!

xx Cady

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I Love First Peoples Shoe Box Packing Party

We are hosting a shoe box packing party for the I Love First Peoples 2018 FRIENDSHIP BOX CAMPAIGN! You can follow our Facebook event here.

Join us on November 25th from 1-4pm to help prepare and pack shoe boxes. Please note we need a $5 donation per box to cover shipping costs, so we will also be collecting cash donations to ship our boxes. You can also support this campaign by donating gifts to help fill the boxes.We are looking for gift donations which can be dropped off at The Makehouse from November 5-25th. Please see below for suitable gift ideas.


Individuals, schools and community groups across Canada are adopting our gift-filled shoebox project as a gesture of friendship that helps the students to receive the joy of education. What a perfect way to engage in reconciliation!

Can’t make it or live elsewhere in Canada? You can still get involved, just click here for more information:

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Make & Munch

Make & Munch

Help us support the Superheroes of Victoria by munching on granola and getting crafty!

We’ll be serving up granola and making 2 & 3D felt food from 9am-12pm at The Makehouse in the company of some very special guests!

Sponsored by Singing Bowl Granola, Lifestyle Markets & Select Stores The Makehouse and

Participation is by donation to Superheroes of Victoria

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AT THE MAKEHOUSE: Pattern Making Essentials with Alexandra Morgan

Pattern making blocks

Written by Cady Brimacombe of Cady Made

Pattern Making Essentials is a 5-week course at The Makehouse taught by the very experienced Alexandra Morgan. Alexandra studied a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Fashion Design at Ryerson University and has worked as a pattern maker, designer, technical designer, and fit technician since 1995, specializing in women’s wear. She has her own pattern making company, In-House Patterns, and also teaches private lessons here in Victoria.

Over the last five weeks I attended Alexandra’s pattern making class. Pattern making is the practice of turning a sketch into flat pieces that will be sewn together to fit and flatter a three-dimensional body. I loved this class. It was the best combination of math and precise measurements mixed with creativity and problem solving. The workshop covers foundational knowledge about how a pattern is designed as well as how the design and layout of a pattern on a certain type of fabric will affect the end shape of the garment. Alexandra has so much knowledge about pattern making. She explains and demos the pattern making techniques in easy to understand methods while also giving students lots of time to practice the techniques.

I attended a pattern making class about a year ago at the Makehouse and I was excited to further improve my skills with this new 5-week course. This class is perfect for you if you are new to sewing and want more of an understanding about how patterns work together, or if you work with sew-at-home patterns a lot and would like advice about how to manipulate them to better fit your body.

In the first few classes we covered the bodice and skirt blocks and how to manipulate those to make different shapes. With the skirt block we started with a straight skirt pattern, and manipulated it into different styles of skirts including an A-line skirt, flared skirt, and four-gore skirt with a yoke. With the bodice block we worked on single and double dart manipulations and moved darts around the bodice to create different looks.

In the last few classes we worked on understanding how to add ease and remove ease in order to change the way a garment fits. We started with adding ease to the bodice block in order to make a basic button up shirt. With this we removed darts, changed the styling, added a pleat, a facing, and a collar, and shortened the sleeves from long sleeves to short sleeves. This practice was a great opportunity to see how something can be changed from one shape to another while maintaining consistent fit measurements.

Next, we focused on removing ease to create a contoured dress that fits closely to the body. This project was mostly bodice manipulations where we removed ease in relation to the bust point. Then we separated the bodice block to create an empire waist and changed the neckline to be deeper and the shoulder width to a strap. For the skirt of the dress we changed the straight skirt into a flared skirt.

Throughout the course Alexandra offered many tips and techniques for creating a more professional looking finished garment. Here of some of my favourite ones that she shared with us.

Tips for pattern making:

  1. Walk your patterns and make sure that all seams match up properly. This is especially important if you have changed any styling or manipulated any darts. This will make things so much easier when you are trying to stitch pieces together and are wondering why certain seams aren’t lining up.
  2. When manipulating darts for the bodice, pull the dart back from the bust point about half an inch to get a better fit and no pointy corners. As cool as Madonna’s cone bra was, you don’t really want that for your handmade summer dress.
  3. When creating patterns and when cutting the fabric, make sure to draw on the notches. This will help you keep track of back and front pattern pieces and will lead to less confusion when you are trying to put together a yoke and a skirt piece and wondering which are the front and back pieces.
  4. Ensure that seam lines and waistlines are at 90 degree angles. This will create a nice straight edge when the two seams are sewn together rather than dipping down or creating a point on the seam where the front and back pieces meet.

Pattern Making Essentials is one of my favourite classes at The Makehouse. The next class will be held in the fall, so make sure to pencil it in to your calendar. Other ways to get your pattern making fix are the Fit Nights where you can bring your latest project and get some feedback on how to make it fit better, and the Skirt Block and Bodice Block classes where you can create blocks that fit your personal measurements.

Keep on designing on.

xx Cady

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Make in May Fabric & Pattern Sale


Visit The Makehouse from May 13-31st and save big on fabric and patterns! We’re making room for a couple of new brands so this is a great chance to get a deal on materials for your next make!

Buy one get one free on all rolled remnants, selected fat quarters and sewing patterns.

BUY ONE GET ONE FREE PATTERNS – Brands include Vogue, McCall’s, Burda, Simplicity, Kwik Sew, New Look and more.

Colette and Victory Patterns are 50% off while stocks last.

Save 15% on all regular priced fabrics and patterns including new arrivals!

Tues 10 – 6 | Weds – Thurs 10 – 8 | Fri – Sat 10 – 5 | Sun 12 – 4

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Recap of our Fashion Revolution Make-A-Thon

Thank you to all who donated supplies, volunteered, or came out to the event to support the Fashion Revolution Make-A-Thon!

Our first shift in the morning did a lot of cutting and pressing to get all of the materials ready to be sewn into our beautiful tote bags. Further into the day the tote bags really starting flying off the sewing machines! In the last two hours of the event we had 16 people buzzing around The Makehouse working hard to finish up all the tote bags. Each bag is unique to the sewists who cut and made them. All materials for the event were donated by our suppliers and our wonderful Makehouse community!

Our teams made over 40 tote bags that will be sold here at The Makehouse and other locations around Victoria. Proceeds from the tote bags will go to the Indigenous Perspectives Society which is a local not-for-profit that offers training and services that help create a deeper understanding of Indigenous perspectives, cultural differences, and the need for self-determination. We are so grateful to everyone who came to support the event, donate supplies, and volunteer time sewing up a storm on Saturday. The event was a great success, and we will be hosting more in the future! Make sure to stay tuned for sign-up announcements, these are definitely an event you do not want to miss!

Check out the photos for all the fun we had, and we hope to see you at the next Make-A-Thon! Thank you again to everyone who supported the event!

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Join in the Make-A-Thon for Fashion Revolution Week

Written by Cady Brimacombe of Cady Made

Before I started business school, I didn’t know much about fashion and sustainability. Throughout my degree I developed an interest in the fashion industry and the business behind it. I also developed a passion for sustainability and sustainable practices I began to realize that many production practices in the fashion industry are rather harmful to people and the planet. In 2018 the global apparel and footwear industries are responsible for approximately 8% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions[1] meaning that it is one of the most polluting industries in the world[2]. The fashion industry relies on industries like GMO cotton (read about the pros and cons of GMO cotton here), oil and gas, and leather to make their fabrics which require a lot of water processing and heating to be made. It takes about 2700 liters of water to make one cotton t-shirt which is approximately the amount of water one person will drink in two and a half years[3] and “a polyester shirt has more than double the carbon footprint of a cotton shirt”[4]. So not only are the materials and processes in manufacturing fashion (especially fast fashion) unhealthy for the planet, but our buying habits around fast fashion are also unhealthy for the planet. Between 2000 and 2014 clothing production doubled and the amount of clothing purchased by individuals increased approximately 60%[5]. But who is making all these clothes that are being consumed? In our first world countries where clothing comes from a store, the people who make our clothes tend to be removed from our buying experience.

When the Rana Plaza garment factory collapsed on April 24th 2013, the world started to take notice about the unsafe working conditions affecting many garment workers. These are the garment workers who are making the clothing sold at our favourite fast fashion stores. Five years later, the world is still working to make a difference in the fashion industry. One such organization, Fashion Revolution, has started a global movement to recognize those who make our clothing, and is bringing people together to make a difference for garment workers and the planet. Read all about the Canadian team here.

April 23rd to April 29th 2018 marks the fifth annual Fashion Revolution Week. Fashion Revolution Week is a worldwide event that focuses on bringing people together to ask #whomademyclothes and create a more transparent fashion industry.


Join the Fashion Revolution! Come to The Makehouse on Saturday April 28th for the Fashion Revolution Make-A-Thon and support the volunteers who will be making tote bags in support of the Indigenous Perspectives Society.

Join in the Make-A-Thon:

  • Donate materials for the project – drop off cotton, canvas, linen or denim at The Makehouse. We are also looking for cash donations to help with marketing, printing labels and other expenses such as webbing (to make handles), thread and interfacing.
  • Book Your Team of 2 – At least one of you must have experience and be able to operate a sewing machine independently. The Makehouse crew will walk you through the project. If you don’t have a partner, please get in touch and we’ll pair you up! Book your station online:
  • Come see how our team of volunteers are doing and cheer them on!

There will be door prizes for the volunteers sewists on the day including a seat at an IPS Cultural perspectives training session including lunch ($250 value).



1.   Ask #whomademyclothes. Use this hashtag to highlight your favourite brands who are making a difference and to ask brands about their practices if you want to find out more about. Get people talking about transparency in the fashion industry.

2.   Print a poster. Fashion Revolution has a variety of resources that will inspire you to take action. Share your Fashion Love Story, print out a #whomademyclothes poster, try a #haulternative, or write a postcard to a policymaker to inspire action and change in your fashion community.

I will be hanging out at The Makehouse on Saturday morning for the Make-A-Thon! Come along with me, join in the festivities, and let’s continue making a difference in our global fashion community.

See you there!

xx Cady

Article written in partnership with The Makehouse. (cady made only)






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Meet Cady, Blogger in Residence at The Makehouse

Hello! My name is Cady and I am so excited to join the Makehouse team as a blogger in residence. I will be sharing workshops, patterns, events, and tips and tricks in collaboration with The Makehouse that will aim to inspire you to get creative. Below are some questions and answers that share a bit about me and why I like to make stuff.

Why did you start Cady Made and what drew you to entrepreneurship?

Cady Made is a personal blog where I share what I make: clothing, accessories, home goods, and beauty products. It’s also a place where I am exploring what it means to lead a more mindful and caring life toward other people and toward this beautiful planet we all share. The slow living movement has been of great inspiration to me, as burnout used to be my best friend. Since graduating university I have been focusing a lot of my time on doing things that truly feed my soul, and that means making things by hand and sharing them with others.

I studied entrepreneurship in business school and finished my degree about 8 months ago. Attending the University of Victoria largely influenced my passion for sustainability in business. As I continue to do work, experiment with my lifestyle and habits, and make things by hand, it is important to me that I am continuing to think about how this will benefit or harm the planet. I shared a post early on my blog about making your own beeswax food wrap and I have had such an interest in that post and from people wanting to buy handmade beeswax wrap from me that it blows my mind. But it also shows me that there are a lot of other people who also value the health of the planet and want to live a more sustainable life. It fills my heart that I can help them on that path through tips or projects on my blog and support them on their journey for a more sustainable lifestyle.

What is your background in making and sewing?

I grew up in a home where my mom made our Halloween costumes and my dance costumes at the kitchen table. She would spend hours in the garden in the summer. And when she wasn’t making something for us or the home, she was in her office creating work for clients of her own graphic design business. On snow days, mental health days, or sick days my mom and I would sit down at the table and make stuff with our hands. When my mom had friends over we would all sit at the table together and scrapbook or make holiday cards, hand sew stuffed animals out of old socks, draw and paint. My mom is a woman who makes up her own rules. Recipes always turn into her own creation, and I am the same way. If we see something in a store, we dissect the item and figure out how we could make it ourselves. Both of my grandmothers sew, and when I would spend summers with either of them you could either find me watching them sew or at the kitchen table sketching and drawing things that I wanted to make. Creativity and the need to make things is in my blood.

I had so many interests growing up that I often stressed myself out because I could not pinpoint a concrete career path that I wanted to do. Now that I have gone through business school and have worked for a few small businesses I have realized that what makes me happy and motivates me to work is being able to create my own stuff. For me, being creative is not just about putting together a physical product or piece of clothing, it is also about creating a space and a lifestyle and a business that I can share with others.

What are your favourite things to make?

I love designing and sewing my own one-of-a-kind clothing. I often do it with very little planning. I will be inspired by a piece of fabric and I will have an idea about what type of garment I want to make. I will quickly sketch a plan and then just start cutting out fabric. Since I am only making things for myself at the moment, I often copy cut parts of the pattern from clothing I already own. Sometimes I will take the time to plan out a proper pattern, but usually the rush of inspiration carries me away and I figure it out as I go along. It is fun, challenging, and makes me think about how I can best utilize a certain amount of fabric. I am often sewing clothing for myself from scrap fabric that my mom or my grandmother has found and passed on to me so I have to think about how to best use the fabric and get the most out of it.

What does zero-waste fashion and sewing mean to you? How has that changed the way you sew?

Since moving to Victoria and attending a sustainability focused business school, the well-being of the planet has become extremely important to me. Now that I am sewing my own clothing and projects, on a tight budget, and often using scrap fabric for things, I am very conscious about how I am using my fabric. Recently I made a top from some beautifully patterned cotton blue and pink cherry blossom fabric. I have some leftover from that project and have been using that to make beeswax wrap. I also save all my small scraps in a box for stuffing handmade animals and pin cushions. When I have to buy new fabric for a project I look for natural fibers and organic cotton because in my opinion the entire supply chain matters, even with my own handmade items. The concept of zero-waste is something that I want to integrate into more than just making in my life. I am excited to see how I can challenge myself to grow as an individual and change my habits to be more focused on living a zero-waste lifestyle. It all starts with small steps!

In one sentence what is Cady Made?

Cady Made is a personal blog where I share what I make: clothing, accessories, home goods, and beauty products. It is also a space where I am sharing ideas around living a more mindful life, and considering the well-being of the planet in our everyday actions.

I am so excited to join The Makehouse team and share more about workshops, events, and projects for The Makehouse community. If you see me at a workshop, say hi!