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Evening Open Studio

The Makehouse will be open for drop in stitching and crafting on Tuesday evenings beginning in May!

***** Please note that if nobody is here by 7pm, we will close the studio unless you have pre-booked! *****

You can use our sewing machines, serger, cutting tables, tools, cottons, trimmings, patterns, books, irons & ironing boards along with our skills & brains during your visits. You might also enjoy socializing with other sewing, textile & fashion enthusiasts. You are also welcome to bring up your own machine if you aren’t sure how to use it and we can walk you through and help you get you going.

We recently purchased 5 of the 3120QCD machines which feature 60 stitches including 6 one-step buttonholes. Janome’s Exclusive Superior Plus Feed System ensures even, stable feeding with any fabric. And the time saving features including memorized needle up/down, one hand needle threader, and lock stitch button make sewing easy. One of the most amazing features of this sewing machine is the pedal free sewing option. This machine has a start/stop button, which will make sewing much easier for both children and people with disabilities. We can’t wait for you to try these machines. So far the feedback from both kids and adults has been very positive! We want to make sewing easy and accessible for more people, we feel that embracing both old and new worlds is the way forward. We hope you agree. Remember you can still bring your own machine to use in our workshop and to drop-in. We will still have a couple non-digital machines that will be available for you to use.

We have also invested in an industrial Singer sewing machine, which will be available to use during drop-in hours. If you are interested in using the industrial machine you must pre-book time as we only have one!

We have a collection of dressmaking & separates patterns as well as lingerie, childrenswear and loads of accessories projects which you can use during your time at The Makehouse. Come and get help finishing those unfinished projects that you might be stuck on or simply come work away from your home environment where you can concentrate without distractions! Please note that one to one help time will vary depending on how many people are present at any given time. We will do our best to assist everyone as best as we can.

As always we love to hear your feedback and suggestions by email or by phone 778.432.2294.

The cost for dropping is $10 per hour [cash, cheque or credit card] or you can buy a punchcard of 10 hours for $80. Fees include a lovely cup of tea or coffee! (We operate on a sign in/out sheet so you can arrive and leave anytime!)

Other regular drop-in hours:

Mondays 11am-5pm
Wednesdays 11pm-5pm
Thursdays 11am-5pm
Fridays 11am-5pm

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Fabric & Yarn Swap


Are you hoarding load of textiles that you’re never going to use? How much cash do you think you’ve spent on this hoard? Would you love to refresh your hoard with new fabrics and yarns to inspire you to start making again?


Here are a few swap rules…



Guests may arrive from 2pm [swap wraps up at 4:30pm]

If you pick it up first – it’s yours. This rule has always worked in every swap I’ve been to. If you love it too don’t get green-eyed – just get over it and find something else! There’s always plenty to go around!

We ask that everyone label their fabric to indicate how many meters [or yards] are bundled together.

All fabric should be clean and free of stains, holes, or major damage. It’s true that “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” but no one wants to be stuck with actual trash.

Please drop off your bags in the days leading up to the swap as this helps immensely with the setting up [if possible].

We hope to see you there!

There will also be prizes up for grabs!

Leftover fabrics & yarns will be donated to MAKE FOR CHARITY, local schools and other related projects.

Registration for this event is $8

Register online:

We can have a maximum of 50 swappers in The Makehouse at any give time. Therefore we will accept 50 pre-registrations. Entry after 50 people will come down to waiting for swappers to leave so that we can let in new swappers. You will still get in, it will just take a half hour or so from the opening!

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Andrea Soos – Poppet Art Studio

We are delighted to feature the work of Andrea Soos from Poppet Art Studio! Andrea’s work has already been stopping people at our front window! If you haven’t had a chance to stop by already, please do so as we will only have her work for a limited time… Here’s a few examples of her work. You can see why we love her colourful and whimsical mixed media style!
To call anyone – or anything – “poppet” is to send a signal great affection and deep regard. It is a word the heart would have invented should it be able to speak (with a British accent). For Andrea Soos, a mixed media artist and educator, there was no better name to capture the essence of her teaching and the charmed space of the studio she has created in Victoria, BC. Premised on Andrea’s deep love of any and all things Art and paired with her extensive education, experience, and dynamic style, Poppet is a place for the artist in you (whether you are 6 or 60) to thrive and find expression. She loves facilitating and supporting an environment where artists are able to connect their vision with a method, creating the work their heart is leading them to, and she delights in each artist’s journey. Andrea specializes in a variety of mediums including printmaking, collage, encaustics, painting and illustration.
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Gents Clothing Swap


We keep getting asked, when are we going to host a clothing swap for men? Well, here goes! Who’s in?!

Whilst our gals clothing swaps are not for men to attend, we feel that you guys will be more comfortable having a female opinion around. Feel free to bring your friends or partners. Us ladies promise we won’t come in your changing area 😉

Are you hoarding tons of clothes that you never wear? After all, styles and trends change so quickly; who knows what you’re going to like a few months or even a year from now. All of those unworn clothes start to take up precious space in your closet, but just throwing them out isn’t an option. So how do you clean out your closet AND find new clothes to add to your wardrobe that you WILL wear?

Here are a few swap rules…

Guests should arrive at 6pm for set up. Swapping will begin at 6:30pm once we’ve laid everything out.

Each garment that you bring is worth one token, which can be exchanged for something else. It’s a one for one concept that makes for easy swapping. Please bring your own shopping bags to take your new loot home!

If you pick it up and try it on first – it’s yours. This rule has always worked in every swap I’ve been to. If you love it too don’t get green-eyed – just get over it and find something else! There’s always plenty of clothes to go around!

We ask that everyone label their clothing by size [this can just be a paper or tag pinned to each garment [safety pins please!]

All clothing should be clean and free of stains, holes, or major damage. It’s true that “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” but no one wants to be stuck with actual trash.

Please if possible drop your garments off in the days leading up to the swap as this helps immensely with the setting up.

We hope to see you there!

Please note that the swap is BYO so please bring along either something to drink or some nibbles.

Leftover clothes will be upcycled in workshops or donated to charity.


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Cuban Painter Isaac John Lewis

Isaac - Public

We are celebrating the Victoria Jazz Festival by holding an art exhibition inspired by jazz! We are delighted to bring you the work of Isaac John Lewis for 2 weeks only. Isaac will be showcasing a brand new collection of paintings titled ‘Eight Jazz Love Songs’. We are so delighted to be hosting this exciting show during jazz fest!

Isaac John Lewis, painter from Cuba, his work is a tribute to 2 of the most enduring cuban legacies: its music and its architecture, his work show the beauty of decaying Havana, and music through jazz musicians, musical instruments, some paintings are just about jazz, specialy his jazz through glass series, they look like stain glass, others showing the old colorful walls, others a combination of both, but always you’ll get a look at Cuba.

Here are the opening times to view the exhibition.

Thursday June 20th – Official Opening 6-9pm [by invitation]

Friday June 21st – 2pm-8pm
Saturday June 22nd – 1pm-6pm
Sunday June 23rd – 11am – 4pm
Monday June 24th – 10am-6pm
Tuesday June 25th – 5:30pm – 8pm
Wednesday June 26th – 10am-6pm
Thursday June 27th – 10am-8pm
Friday June 28th – 2pm-8pm
Saturday June 29th – 10am-6pm
Sunday June 30th – 11am-4pm
Tuesday July 2nd – 10am-6pm
Wednesday July 3rd – 10am-6pm

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Make for Charity


Come and help us sew items requested by the local hospitals and care homes.

This is an opportunity to work together as a small group, making items in an assembly line fashion. All levels of sewing experience welcome. We will adapt patterns, measure, cut, pin, press, sew, and make bias binding. Example of items previously made: walker bags, ditty bags, tote bags for volunteer visitors, Christmas decorations, wheelchair lap blankets, volunteer aprons and PARTY mitts.

We accept donations of fabric suitable for the projects such as cotton, denim, canvas, and upholstery fabric sample books.

To confirm fabric donations please email Dela at for pick up.

Dela is a registered volunteer sewer at VGH and would like to pass on Sewing for Charity skills to others.

The next MAKE FOR CHARITY date will be August 28th [6pm-9pm]

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A Fascinator of My Own


Slowly but surely, hats and fascinators seem to be making their way back onto modern noggins. Once an essential part of daily fashion, with the exception of baseball caps and winter headgear, they were relegated to the dress-up bin by the time I was growing up.

On second thought, I suppose there was that brief romance with the Blossom hat…but I’m not about to get even remotely misty-eyed about its demise.

Reb Fascinator 2

Anyway, what I’m trying to say here is that hats are cool again, thanks in part to the royal wedding and thanks in another part to cranium-decor boredom. Scrunchies, banana clips and headbands could only sustain us for so long.

Last week, I had the pleasure of being invited to a Make Your Own Fascinator course at The Makehouse. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I assumed glue guns and cheap feathers would be part of the equation.


Fascinator Thierry

This is Tierre Taylor, the professional milliner who teaches the course. She is – surprise! – extremely pro-hat and wears one practically every day.

Tierre’s fascinator course did not involve even one glue gun. Our fascinators were all sewn by hand, which resulted in what I can only expect will be a much longer lasting product. I recently bought a “fascinator” at a market and it fell apart before I even wore it once. I feel like such a schmuck now that I see how easily one can craft their own dazzling head bling!

Fascinator Dress

There were three other girls in the class, none of which I’d met before but all were instantly friendly. Helga here wisely brought a dress to inspire her fascinator. What a great idea if you’re attending a fancy event!

Fascinator Susans

Tierre comes with company – the “Susans,” as I have decided to call them. They’re cool vintage-looking heads upon which you model your fascinator. Makes so much more sense than awkwardly looking in a mirror and potentially stabbing your scalp with pins!

Fascinator Susan 1

Tierre supplies all the materials and encourages her students to find an individual style.

Fascinator Felt

We started by building a base with wool felt. The sky was the limit in terms of shape and colour. You can get really crazy with fascinators, as the princesses Beatrice and Eugenie are well aware.

Fascinator Feathers

Once we’d established our shapes, we chose our embellishments – lace, feathers, netting, beads, etc.

Fascinator Sewing

These were all hand-sewn onto the bases.

And…drumroll please…here are the results:

Fascinator Done 2Fascinator Done 1Fascinator Done 3

Fascinator Group

This might actually be the most fun I’ve ever had in a workshop. Making a fascinator was creatively satisfying and it brought out a bit of flamboyance in all of the participants. It was challenging but not frustrating, and the length of the workshop was perfect. I think everybody there had an absolute blast.

Get ready, Victoria, the fascinators are coming!

The next fascinator course at The Makehouse will take place on May 2. 

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Adventures in Upholstery: The Filth Inside The Chair


Week 1 of the “Simple Upholstery” course I’m taking at The Makehouse can be summarized by the following word: ICK!!!!!!!!

Not because of the course itself – oh no, so far it’s great fun.

But when you discover what kind of crusties are hiding beneath the cushion of an old chair, you may find yourself gagging, wincing and/or screaming.

Upholstery 1 Chairs

Let me back up.

My project is to re-upholster these four dining room chairs. Two were given to me by my dad’s girlfriend and another matching pair were found at a garage sale. I also plan on refinishing them so that I’ll have a (mostly) matching set.

Upholstery 1 Kidston

When I was in the UK in January I picked up this strawberry fabric from Cath Kidstonspecifically for this project (this exact pattern doesn’t seem to be available online but I absolutely love this and this too!). I know, I know – it’s white. Not exactly the best colour for what will essentially be an ass landing mat, but I will not be swayed! I figure I can always redo them once I learn the skills.

When I arrived, The Makehouse was bustling with activity, and three chairs were on the verge of going into surgery. Here they are with their respective surgeons:

Upholstery 1 Student 2

Upholstery 1 Student 3Upholstery 1 StudentUpholstery 1 Miro 2

Instructor Miro started by going around and giving us all an individual diagnosis. Some of us (me) have the unfortunate task of having to glue together some unstable aspects of our chairs between this week and next.

Upholstery 1 Close

The universal first step, however, was peeling back the skin and seeing what gore lay beneath our seats. It was fascinating to see how much variation there was. This was the oldest chair in the course and it contained springs as well was horse hair.

Upholstery 1 Fuzz

Others found organic material (Miro said this stuff was similar to seaweed).

Upholstery 1 Foam

This disgusting foam looks more like a chunk of cinder toffee than anything.

Upholstery 1 Miro

Everyone had to painstakingly remove the tacks and/or staples that held the yucky old upholstery together.

Upholstery 1 Inside 2

Mine was by far the crappiest chair in the room and it took me a while to get over the profound chair envy. I have concocted a master plan to somehow acquire a better chair before the course is finished but for now I do need to get these chairs functioning.

Upholstery 1 Inside

Beneath the first layer of fabric was a 1960s-era fabric that had seen better days. My dad’s girlfriend had warned me about this – I bet she’s laughing now.

Upholstery 1 Inside 3

As I began lifting the tacks, a gross wave of crud started seeping out from beneath the fabric. I’m still not sure if it was dirt or disintegrated foam, and I’m not sure if I want to know!

Upholstery 1 Inside 4

Here’s the completed dissection – that’ll make you think twice about NOT recovering antique chairs.

Into the garbage it went, all of it.

Upholstery 1 Hands

My chairs have  a plywood base, but those who had webbing tightened it up.

Upholstery 1 Tacks

Everybody’s foam was toast – Miro is ordering up a slab of brand new foam and we’ll be diving into that next week. In the meantime, I’m looking at all chairs with suspicion.

If you live in Victoria and think you’d like to take this upholstery class, there’s one starting in April.