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Generations - Sewing Susan Vintage Ad

Introducing Generations – a series of workshops designed to put you in touch with other generations!

We are launching an new series of workshops on the first Saturday of each month from 1:30pm – 3:30pm.

The ‘Generations’ platform will feature a volunteer guest who will do an introductory workshop to share a skill or art form that has been passed down from another generation. We’ve already had someone interested in sharing the art of macrame for example. We have a large library resource (including lots of vintage sewing & crafting books!) which can be used as teaching aids and wherever possible we will try to donate the supplies and tools needed.

These workshops will be offered by donation directly to our hosts and kits related to the workshop can be sold directly to guests.

Generations Host Requirements:

  • Workshops must fit in to a 1.5-2 hour period
  • Be able to be taught around a table without the use of electricity
  • Hosts must have good working examples ready to share
  • Skills must not be conflict with our existing core workshop or courses

Dates available: Oct 7, Nov 4, Dec 2, Jan 13, Feb 3, Mar 3, Apr 7, May 5  & June 2

These workshops will take place in our new location at Unit #400 -2950 Douglas Street (just behind Lifestyle Markets).

If you’re interested in hosting a Generations workshop please email your idea and images to jenny (at)

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Furniture DIY: Chairs

One of our most popular workshops is Simple Upholstery. This is a class we run regularly and spans four weeks, giving you the opportunity to reupholster a small item of furniture. If you are a fan of vintage chairs, this is a great opportunity to learn how to fix things up.

In the meantime, here is a round up of our favourite chair DIYs which you an find on our Upcycled Furniture Ideas Board.

The “Upholstered” Wooden Chair

Okay so this first one would probably horrify Miro, our upholstery teacher, and you couldn’t really do it to a better chair than the one used, but for a bottle of Mod Podge and some cute fabric, this is pretty cool. For the full how to, go to the blog, Designer trapped in a lawyer’s body.


The Mash Up

Take an old dining room chair, reupholster (come to our class to learn how) and then go all Frankenstein on it and attach it to an office swivel chair. We found this tutorial on MyMorningInspiration.

mash up chair

The Blah Office Chair

Again, this apartmenttherapy how to doesn’t require authentic upholstery skills, but instead calls for fabric and a nail gun. Looks pretty sassy for a blah chair!


The Belt Chair

Although this tutorial from EchoPaul Official doesn’t call for fabric, it does call for traditional furniture tacks, which we just love as they look so darn classy. The seat of this chair is made of belts.


The Vintage Webbed Chair

This tutorial from A Beautiful Mess might be a little more difficult than it looks, but we’d definitely give it a try. Keep your eyes peeled for frayed or seatless aluminum chairs and given them a new lease of life with coloured paracord.

cord chair

The Burke Chair

Although you might have a hard time finding a good vintage version of the Burke, look out for a similar style. This chair we found on is refurbished with a vintage blanket!


We hope our finds have inspired you. For more information about our traditional upholstery class, click here.

The girls at ( took our Simple Upholstery class and loved it, taking a cute vintage foot stool back to their office. Take a look at the video they made.

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Recycling 101- Glass Bottle DIY Projects

Is your recycling bin overflowing with glass bottles? Rather than contribute to the overflow at the local dumps and landfill sites, consider upcycling them. One of the unique features about jars is their ability to be used over and over again. So rather than throwing them away, consider using them for your next upcycling or decorative craft spree. You don’t need a whole lot to get started, you would be surprised at how a simple piece of string or even a touch of paint can turn even the dullest jar or bottle, into an incredible conversation piece. Interesting in learning more? Keep reading to see how a simple, mundane bottle can be transformed.

What you need to get started

  • An overflowing recycling bin of glass bottles
  • Copper wiring (optional)
  • Wire cutters for the cutting the wiring
  • Spool of Cord
  • Yarn or para cord

Note: While this list isn’t conclusive, it’s the bare minimum to get started. Always check with your tutorial of choice for the materials needed.

How to remove labels from glass bottles

You’ll need:

  • An empty/clean sink
  • Your craft bottle/s of choice
  • ½ cup baking powder
  • 1 tbsp. dish soap (Dawn works best)
  • 2 cups white vinegar

Upon mixing all of the materials together, the concoction will fizz for a short while, but the end result will leave a clean canvas (void of sticky labels) for you to work with.

Wine bottle lantern


Chances are you have all the materials you need already lying around the house. You can get started with this project with a completely clean wine bottle, acrylic paint, a paintbrush (for the exterior design), and some string lights.

After you’ve cleaned your glass bottle, paint your chosen design/s on the exterior of the bottle. While our particular project example features a simple tree, you can paint more advanced designs.

If you have access to multiple acrylic paints, try alternating between splashes of colors and possibly gluing sequins with a hot glue gun. Not only is this wine bottle lantern easy to make, but if you make enough of them, they would look great as a set.

Glass bottle wind chime


Who doesn’t enjoy the sound of a wind chime on a warm summer day? The wind chime, like hummingbird feeders, have become the tell-tale sign that summer is near. If you enjoy the enchanting unique song of the wind chime and have tons of glass bottles lying around, the possibilities are endless.

While this particular craft might require some skill (mostly glass cutting), it’s still not overly advanced. See the image below for methods of cutting glass. There are a couple of incredible tutorials on YouTube showing viewers exactly how to do this. Once you know how to cut glass, the only decision left is to determine how you want to decorate your original wind chime.

The piece in the photograph features round loops and beads. Depending on your confidence in cutting glass, you could easily get creative and flatten various bottles and create varying shapes to feature on your wind chime. A strong string material (fishing line), along with beads and your bottle is all you need for this project.

Glass bottle flower vase


You can’t get any easier than this. However, the possibilities for this project vary depending on the creativity of the artist. You could paint designs on the outside of the bottle (like the first craft mentioned in this article), etch designs into the glass, or even wrap and paint the bottle itself. We love using Mod Podge and cool crafting paper. If you have a ton of bottles sitting around, you can experiment with designs and possibly give away the vases as gifts.

Bird feeder


You can’t have wind chimes without a bird feeder. A bird feeder can vary in complexity, but hot gluing a pan like foundation to the opening of the bottle, will provide the perfect perch for your birds to rest as they consume their treats. A few minor adjustments would make this ideal for a hummingbird feeder.

Tiki torch made from wine bottles


Next time, before spending money on that Tiki torch setup you saw in that home decoration catalogue; consider making your own. Incredibly easy to make and even unique, you can proudly exclaim to your neighbours that you made it yourself, when they ask you where you got them.

How to cut glass bottles

Learning to cut glass is an important part of some wine bottle crafting, though not all. Cast a glance at the gallery below to learn more about the process and various other do it yourself projects.


About our guest author

Giuroiu Anton is the Founder of Homesthetics Magazine, an online architecture art and design resource. In the spare time he writes as a guest for several architecture websites like Freshome and Architecture`n`Design. He is currently studying Architecture and Urbanism at Ion Mincu University in Romania where he also graduated Tudor Vianu National Computer Science College, his educational background fuels his thirst for technology and design.

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Make Stand – An Opportunity for Young Entrepreneurs

We are offering an opportunity for local kids to test their entrepreneurial skills this summer!

Make Stand is a summer holiday program designed to give young makers a chance to test the market with things that they’ve made.

Products include homemade baking, hand sewn goods, jewellery, knitting or crochet, wood work and even the traditional lemonade stand! The main rule is that the goods must be made by kids (and yes of course they can have some help along the way!)

There are no fees to take part in this program and each entrepreneur keeps their days takings! We encourage participants to consider donating part of their proceeds to local charities, but this decision is entirely up to each individual. We find that having a goal outlined helps encourage the public to show support.

Past goals have included; saving for a sewing machine, laptop, trip to Disney World and various animal charities.

We provide a table and chairs, table-cloth and cash box. We also provide marketing support and a location with lots of passing foot traffic!

We encourage participants to create bright and clear signage to make the most of their opportunity.

Make Stand operates on Saturday afternoons in July and August with 2 shifts available a day (11am-1pm or 1-3pm). We find that this is the busiest time of the day for foot traffic in our area.

If you are interested in applying for Make Stand, please email with the name and age of the entrepreneur and your proposed items for sale (you can bring more than one type of thing to sell).

Please let us know the Saturday/s that you are available and your preferred time slot. Bookings are on a first come, first serve basis and participants can book a maximum of 2 places over the summer to make sure we have room for everyone!

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Getting Crafty at the Festival of Trees

Blue needle felted bird with large eyes on foam block with needle.
We are pleased to be partnering with the BC Children’s Hospital Festival of Trees – Victoria and to bring a holiday craft studio live from The Bay Centre.
Each Saturday during December we will be at The Bay Centre offering holiday themed crafty activities for children including Christmas card and gift tag making as well as hand sewn decorations and pom poms.
Crafting Hours:
Saturday December 5th 10am-5pm
Saturday December 12th 10am-5pm
Saturday December 19th 10am-5pm
Saturday December 26th 10am-5pm
We are also hosting a Needle Felt Workshop
Saturday December 12th from 10am-12pm
(this workshop mst be pre-registered as places are limited)
All the Bay Centre events are free to attend.
We are looking for material donations and crafty volunteers to help make this event a big success! Please email for more info.
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Costume Fabric Sale


Halloween is coming and it’s time to start planning your costumes!

The Makehouse and invite you to come down and FILL YOUR BAG FOR $5!

We have a load of great costume fabrics and we’re going to share them with you! Bags are provided by Used Victoria.

Come by and see us between 11am and 6pm. You can browse our pattern library too for costume ideas!

You can also visit our neighbours at Satin Moon Quilt Shop! They are hosting a costume fabric sale from October 10-14th raising $$ for Our Place [great local charity!]

Satin Moon sale features cottons, knits, fleece and fancy fabrics all in pre-cut pieces for just $2/meter! All proceeds go to directly to Our Place!

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If You Build it They Will Come…

Marilyn – Fairy Godmother of The Makehouse

Although The Makehouse is still a very new fixture in Victoria, our space has already been enhanced by some very generous and enthusiastic souls!  Some might call them fairy godmothers, others would say they are angels, but one thing for sure is that we are so lucky to have these people in our lives!

It all started with the first article that appeared in the Times Colonist, which led to the telephone ringing several times with delighted Victorians offering their sewing machines, fabrics and haberdashery to help set up our studio.  I met with several people in person, including a stop in Chemainus for tea to meet a lady called Bea who is now sadly unable to sew due to arthritis in her hands.  Bea told me that when she saw the article she was so delighted that she finally had the answer to what she could do with the contents of her sewing room!

Before + After
Moving in Day September 1st and Now!

The article also led me to get to know Marilyn Vallance [pictured above], the first godmother to The Makehouse. Marilyn [a lifetime seamstress and crafter and serial networker] began to bring round very useful equipment and materials to the studio including ironing boards, fabrics, patterns and so much more.  Marilyn continues to bring happiness [and small gifts, which are sometimes edible] whenever she visits and will soon be teaching a workshop in rug-hooking!

Shortly before moving into our Fort Street shop front, I exhibited at the Vancouver Island Mini Maker Faire held in North Saanich. It was there that I met our next godmother Dela Wilkins – a nurse, knitter, sewer and lifecare coach.  Dela has been very generous in her donations of both useful equipment, materials and books, but also with her time. In fact Dela has also given her time by running the ‘Stitching Parlour’ sessions to give me a chance to travel to a family wedding!  Here’s what Dela says about The Makehouse…

When I first met Jenny at the Maker Faire, my first thought was “Wow, what a great idea”. My next thought was “How can I support this, in every way?”

As a lifelong sewer, who also knits and crochets, I have often been asked to make things for others. My usual response is: I will help you make it. We would work on the project together, either at their home or in my sewing studio. It was a great way to visit with friends or get to know new people. When I lived in a small rural Ontario town, this was comfortable, as I knew everyone. In a city, this is more difficult.

Everyone has the ability to learn how to make things. What most people lack is the confidence to do it alone or for the first time. The Makehouse offers a welcome space for people to work on projects together until they gain confidence.

Dela Wilkins – February 8, 2013

More recently we’ve been awestruck at the love shown to us by Ed George. Ed and his wife were previous tenants at 833 Fort Street for over 15 years as Angela Fashions. They ran a bridal shop together, which was based in Oak Bay for many years before.  Ed came to see me just before Christmas to deliver the sad news that his wife had passed away. He later told me that he would like to bring over some of the materials from her sewing studio. We are now housing an immense collection of patterns, beads, feathers, silks, art supplies and the list just goes on and on. We are so grateful for Ed’s generosity and for sharing his wisdom and stories of their life in business together in Victoria.


We’ve also had random donations from excited souls including the ladies from Satin Moon [our neighbours] and some of our students who just can’t help sharing! I still can’t believe how lucky we are to have so much support in such a short while. With our 6 month anniversary coming up on Friday March 1st, I want to say thanks again to Bea, Dela, Marilyn, Ed, my mother and father [who has helped with so many of my handy man needs on visits to Victoria!] and all of you wonderful people who have helped to make my dreams come true!

What a warm welcome back to Canada! I am truly touched.