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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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Made by You – June 2017

Girl’s dress made by Karen Murray
Instructor Tanya with Sewing Boot Camp student in her new frock!
Textile artist Nicola Mark in her awesome handmade apron – made from Cotton + Steel Wonderland fabric complete with clockets!
Teen skirt made from upcycled tee-shirts
Custom doll clothes made at a birthday party
Custom doll clothes made at a birthday party
Custom doll clothes made at a birthday party
Girls dress – sewn in the Making Kids Clothes workshop
Boys shirt – sewn in the Making Kids Clothes workshop
Custom knit hoodie made at Make Club
Custom silk French Knickers made in workshop
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Made by You – April 2017

March was a big month for sewing here in Victoria! Here are some of the things that you’ve been making!

Striped Bamboo Moneta Dress – made in the Sewing with Knits workshop
Striped Bamboo Moneta Dress – made in the Sewing with Knits workshop
Cotton + Bamboo Knit top – made at Fashion Camp
Wonderland Skirt – made at Fashion Camp
Wardrobe Surgery lace applique top – made at Fashion Camp
Dress cut in 2 to create a new dress and skirt – made at Fashion Camp


Hand Embroidered Tag – made by student after the Talking Threads with Diana Weymar workshop


Tee-Shirt Quilt – made in the Memory Quilt workshop with Caroline Heinrichs
Bubble Skirt and Lace Top – made at Fashion Camp
Felt Unicorn – sewn at Make Camp
Felt Elephant – hand sewn at Make Camp
Fabric Flower – hand sewn at Make Camp
Felt Cat – hand sewn at Make Camp
Bamboo Underwear made in workshop
Felt Orca Pillow – machine sewn at Make Camp
Handmade doll – created at Make Club
Pusheen Pillow – machine sewn at Make Camp
Pusheen Pillow – machine sewn at Make Camp

If you have awesome projects that you would like to share, please send them by email to jenny(at)!

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Made by You

We love to see what you can do when you put your mind to it! Here are some of the last month’s student makes (in no particular order). The first photo features Emma in her first ever bamboo dress created during the Sewing with Knits Workshop using the Moneta dress pattern by Colette!


Cotton boxer shorts made at home after taking our Bamboo Boxers Workshop!

3 Tote Bags sewn by one of our students

One of our students went home after our Sew a Tote Bag workshop and made 3 more!


Playful cotton knit Moneta dress sewn at the last Sewing with Knits Workshop.

Stool by Sharon Broadley - Before
Stool by Sharon Broadley – Before
Stool by Sharon Broadley - After
Stool by Sharon Broadley – After








This gorgeous stool was recovered in our Simple Upholstery Workshop by local textile artist Sharon Broadley!


This quilt was made by an eleven year old girl during Make Club. This was her second (and largest) quilt project!

Needle Felt Red and White Mushroom on Green Grass

Needle Felt Mushroom handmade at September Make Club.

Black and white stool - Upholstery Project

This classy looking stool (mid progress) from our September Simple Upholstery Workshop.


Little colourful house pencil case made by 8 year old student at Make Club.

If you’ve made something awesome and would like to share, please email pics and a breif description to jenny(at)

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East Meets West – DIY Wedding

There’s a lot of posts out there about hosting a do-it-yourself wedding. Having just been a bride this past summer I thought I would share some of the things that we did for our big day!

Photo by Chris LeDrew

My husband Patrick proposed in the summer of 2015 and we decided to marry the following summer on his home turf in Newfoundland. Our wedding took place on August 21st at The Bungalow in Bowring Park, St. John’s. We had gorgeous weather and we were able to hold our ceremony outside in front of the big willow tree.

Patrick & Jenny
Photo by Chris LeDrew

There were many elements that we did ourselves in preparation for the big day and we did not hire a wedding planner! Patrick really took the lead in the planning, especially the ceremony and all of the live music. We wanted to write our own vows and our wonderful marriage commissioner Kathy Dicks-Peyton helped design an ideal ceremony that was deeply personal. We created our own wedding program and hired a friend to design an old fashioned poster as a memento (see below).

Patrick & Jenny's Wedding
Photo by Chris LeDrew

I’ve been sewing for many years, so naturally our wedding would involve a needle pulling thread. Initially I had outlined more tasks for myself than I was physically able to complete myself (a common trait among makers).

Patrick & Jenny's Wedding
Photo by Chris LeDrew

The main elements that I sewed included my dress, my niece’s flower girl dress and heaps of bunting flags. I also tailored my father, nephew and groom’s pants! I had envisioned sewing my sister (maid of honour and only bridesmaid) a dress as well, but she saved me from myself in early July recognizing that I was likely running out of time! Thanks Erica, you were right (and your dress was perfect)!

Photo by Chris LeDrew

My mom and family friend Susan, who travelled from Saskatchewan created our flower arrangements and bouquets. I can only imagine what some folks pay for flowers, so we were grateful to have an in-house team! Susan also did a lovely job of putting my hair up. We used my 2 favourite vintage hair clips (something old) purchased at mega car boot sale in the South of England. I managed to find a pair of vintage earrings, which made a perfect set!

Wedding Flowers
Photo by Chris LeDrew

My dress was created by up-cycling the skirt of a gown that I acquired when I first moved into The Makehouse. The previous tenants at 833 1/2 Fort Street had been in the wedding business for nearly 20 years between them so there were boxes of fabrics and pieces of gowns left for me up in the loft. I was really enamoured by one particular piece and so put it aside in a bag with the mental note ‘maybe one day’…

Patrick & Jenny's Wedding
Photo by Chris LeDrew

I adapted a vintage Vogue pattern to create the bodice and the skirt was improvised working around the original cut.  The original dress was designed with a very long train so there was a LOT of fabric to work with. I was able to cut my entire dress from the piece by removing a large skirt panel for the bodice. The best part was that there was a lot of beautiful embroidery and bead work already complete! I did have to remove some beads in order to create my seams, but the work was minimal in comparison to doing beadwork from scratch. I happened to have just the right lining in my stash, so in the end I only needed to purchase a zipper to complete my dress!

Wedding Cake
Photo by Chris LeDrew

Duo Heather Kao and Steve Power played during our ceremony followed by a Traditional music session hosted by Fergus Brown-O’Byrne. The Bob MacDonald Band kicked off the dancing and many surprise musical guests took the stage throughout the night. The evening closed with a throwback set from DJ Neil Conway!

We married on Patrick’s birthday so we even got to have chocolate cake at our reception!

There are so many gorgeous moments captured (over 200 made the first cut!) Here’s  just handful more to give you a flavour for the day.

Patrick & Jenny's Wedding
Traditional music session hosted by Fergus Brown-O’Byrne – Photo by Chris LeDrew
Bob MacDonald Band – Photo by Chris LeDrew
Photo by Chris LeDrew
Photo by Chris LeDrew
Patrick & Jenny's Wedding
Photo by Marion Atkinson
Photo by Chris LeDrew
Photo by Chris LeDrew

One thing that was very important to us was hiring a great photographer. We enlisted the help of Chris LeDrew (photographer & musician) to capture our day and we’re over the moon with the photos! I especially love the photo below that was captured towards the end of the night.

Patrick & Jenny's Wedding
Photo by Chris LeDrew

There are so many ways that you can marry without breaking the bank or ruining your mental health. Think outside the box and don’t get pressured into all the expensive bells and whistles. Weddings are about family and friends and not expensive take home favours (most of which end up in the bin). We focused our budget on food and live music so that we could be sure our guests would have an entertaining and engaging day. Of course we did travel all the way to the opposite side of the country, but we would have traveled to St. John’s for summer holidays regardless!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post!


Poster Designed by Chelsea Lou Uphoff
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Student Makes of the Month

We love seeing what you and your kids can do when you put your mind to it! Here are just some of the awesome works created during the month July (in no particular order)!

Circle Skirt made at Fashion Camp
Circle Skirt Sewn at Fashion Camp
 Shirred Rabbit Sundress Made for Toddler
Sewing Boot Camp Student's Flower Power Dress
Sewing Boot Camp – The Laurel Dress
Student's Bamboo Underwear
Bamboo Underwear (Gift for Bride)
Fashion Camp Student Handbag
Fashion Camp Gold Star Handbag
Make Camp Student's Dolls
Make Camp Square Peg Dolls
Make Camp Student's Backpacks
Make Camp Custom Backpacks
Fashion Camp Student's Shorts
Fashion Camp Bear Shorts
Make Camp Purple Needle Felt Elephant
Make Camp Purple Needle Felt Elephant
Make Camp Student's Apron
Make Camp Pineapple Apron
Apron Making Workshop
Apron Making Workshop Happy Recipient!



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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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Upcycling Men’s Shirts

We are huge advocates of upcycling clothing and making the most of fabric scraps. If you can’t pass it on at one of our legendary clothing swaps, then turn it into something else.

You can follow us on Pinterest for a ton of upcycling ideas or attend one of our Wardrobe Surgery workshops to learn techniques and tips to turn clothing you can’t wear anymore into revived functional fashion pieces.

This blog post focuses on upcycling men’s shirts. Men’s formal shirts can be picked up cheaply in very good used condition and there are so many fun options for them.

Turn a man’s shirt into a summer skirt or dress


There is a really easy way to do this and that’s just to climb into a men’s shirt and wrap the sleeves around your waist. Or you could tailor something. This is a nice and easy skirt from men’s shirt pattern on (image shown) whilst there are many links to dress patterns on our Pinterest board, from easy pinafores to structured peplum styles.

From men’s shirt to girl’s shirt


Boys can wear girl’s, who wear boy’s, who wear girl’s! But if you want something a little more feminine there are lots of great options. Our favourite is this cute tank style shirt because of the added bow.

Turn men’s shirts into kid’s clothes

Daddy's little girl dress

Again, lots of options here but the love the classic pinafore style dress like this one from

Turn men’s shirts into cute collars

We love an added Peter Pan collar and it’s so easy to do from men’s shirts of any size. Check out this tutorial from Leafy Treetop for an easy to follow Peter Pan collar pattern.

Patterns galore

Remember we have a large selection of patterns online and in-store that can help you on your way to upcycled clothing heaven!

patterns galore




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DIY Ideas for Valentine’s Day

Mixed fun papers for card making

With Valentine’s Day approaching, love is in the air, and now’s the time to start on your Valentine’s DIY projects. To help jumpstart your creativity, we’ve rounded up some adorable project ideas for all skill levels and time frames.

Here are a few Valentine’s Day projects for inspiration:

  • Heart-shaped tea bags: A few years ago, I hand-stitched these tea bags using loose tea from Silk Road, and they were a huge hit! Highly recommended for the tea-lover in your life.
  • Valentine’s Day Fabric Envelopes: These cute little fabric envelopes would be a great way to use up remnants of fabric from other projects. Fill them with love notes, candy or other small goodies, and it’s sure to be a crowd-pleaser!
  • The Sweet Heart Wristlet: Here’s a pattern for sewing an adorable heart-shaped wristlet. This is another project where you could use fabric scraps, and it would make a great girl for a little girl or a project for mom (or aunt or grandma) and daughter to tackle together. If you have extra felt to use up, this zippered Sweet Heart pouch offers a different style option.
  • Sweetheart Charms: How adorable are these little felt hearts? Yet another clever use for fabric scraps. Stick a little love note in the pouch, too. These would also work well as Christmas tree ornaments.
  • “Two little lovebirds sitting in a tree”: This project would make an adorable Valentine’s Day, bridal shower or anniversary gift. Choose a song that has sentimental meaning (perhaps the song you danced to at your wedding or the song playing when you first noticed her?) and print it out in the shape of a tree.
  • Seven days of love pillbox: This would be a great gift idea for a DIY novice, as it doesn’t require sewing or other skills. Use a seven-day pill box and put notes and/or candy in each day so your Valentine can enjoy a week’s worth of treats.
  • Matchbox Valentines with Duct Tape: These would make great little favours for a Valentine’s Day party or for kids to give to friends. I’d use washi tape and leftover ribbon for some extra flair.

Or if you want a bit more guidance with your Valentine’s Day projects, why not register for a workshop here at The Makehouse? Here’s a look at our Valentine’s Day-themed workshops coming up:

Post by Susan Johnston