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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

MAKE IN MAY 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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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.

HOW TO GET INVOLVED THIS FASHION REVOLUTION WEEK

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: https://themakehouse.configio.com/pd/273/fashion-revolution-week-make-a-thon
  • 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).

WhoMadeMyClothes

OTHER WAYS TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE:

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)

[1] https://quantis-intl.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/measuring_fashion_report_quantis.pdf

[2] https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2015/12/03/making-climate-change-fashionable-the-garment-industry-takes-on-global-warming/#3f3e8ee579e4

[3] http://www.wri.org/blog/2017/07/apparel-industrys-environmental-impact-6-graphics

[4] http://www.wri.org/blog/2017/07/apparel-industrys-environmental-impact-6-graphics

[5] https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/sustainability-and-resource-productivity/our-insights/style-thats-sustainable-a-new-fast-fashion-formula

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February Pattern Sale

Patterns

Shop and save big on planning your next sewing project throughout the month of February!

2 for $5

* Sewing patterns – big brands include Vogue, Butterick, Simplicity, Burda, Stretch & Sew, McCall’s and more.

  • Sale includes modern + vintage, womenswear, menswear, childrenswear, homewares and costume patterns

Save 50% 

* Select Indie patterns by Colette Patterns, Victory, Christine Haynes & Cashmerette

* Seasonal fabrics and I Heart Stitch Art embroidery kits

Shop Open hours:

Tuesday – Thursday 10am-8pm

Friday – Saturday 10am-6pm

Sunday 12pm-4pm

Sale ends February 28th

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Grand Opening Celebration

Grand Opening - The Makehouse new sewing studio

We opened our new space on October 4th and have already started hosting workshops in our bright new space. We continue to design our dream space over the coming weeks and invite you to join us on November 4th to officially celebrate grand opening and belated fifth birthday!

This will also be a chance to meet our awesome team, Tanya, Mollie and Shayna as well as some of our guest workshop hosts!

When? Saturday November 4th, 2017

Where? The Makehouse – 2950 Douglas Street (just behind Lifestyle Market – enter on Douglas or Burnside)

12-4pm – Open crafting table for all ages

12:30 – Official opening including a few words from Jenny  featuring our giant Texan scissors!

1pm – Nibbles and sweets until they run out!

1-4pm – Tom Vickery plays our beautiful walnut piano

Here’s a sneak peak of how the space is starting to take shape!

Help us spread the word by sharing this post or the Facebook event page.

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Volunteer Librarian for The Makehouse

Librarian

The Makehouse is looking for a volunteer librarian to help us better organize our huge collection of sewing, craft and needle point patterns and books. We have so many great resources, but we’ve not been able to allocate the time it would take to truly make this collection shine!

We need someone who can commit to helping us initially setting up the library in our new space (Burnside at Douglas Street) during the month of October. Once the library is set up, we would need a weekly check-in to stamp and categorize new books, make sure that things stay organized and send reminders to borrowers. The librarian would ideally be a person with a keen interest in sewing and crafting who likes to organize and has a couple of hours a week free. Our regular staff will be responsible for the records book to make sure that books coming in and out are accounted for. If you’re interested in this role, please email jenny@themakehouse.ca for more details about the role and perks!

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Made by You

Watermelon skirt made at Fashion Camp
Animal pillow with zipper mouths made at Make Camp
Custom dress made at Fashion Camp
Happy needle felters at Fibrations
Rainbow Hedgehog made at Make Camp – Cedar Hill Recreation
Felted Gandalf made at Make Camp – Cedar Hill Recreation
Felted puppy made at Make Camp – Cedar Hill Recreation
Unicorn pencil case made at Make Camp – Cedar Hill Recreation
Owl pencil case made at Make Camp – Cedar Hill Recreation
Yes that’s Wendy in felt – made at Make Camp – Cedar Hill Recreation
Sushi pencil case made at Make Camp – Cedar Hill Recreation
Little bears dress made at Fashion Camp
Literal pencil cases made at Make Camp
Custom duffle bag made at Make Camp
Convertible dress made at sewing camp
Animal pillow with zipper mouths made at Make Camp
Animal pillow with zipper mouths made at Make Camp
Animal pillow with zipper mouths made at Make Camp
Dog coin purse made at Make Camp – Cedar Hill Recreation
Felt dudes made at Make Camp – Cedar Hill Recreation
Sock monkey made at Make Camp – Cedar Hill Recreation
Sock monkey made at Make Camp – Cedar Hill Recreation
Felt carrot made at Make Camp
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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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Volunteer Sewers Wanted for Grad Dress Boutique

We’ve had a volunteer request that we are sharing with anyone who has sewing expertise and a little time on their hands.

Michelle Roberts and colleague, Carrie Crowley work for the Ministry for Children of Family Development. They are putting forward a “Dress Boutique” on Monday, May 29th , for youth in foster care (or other marginalized youth) who are in need of a grad dress (or suit) for their graduation ceremony.

They are looking for people with sewing expertise to attend on the 29th  (10am – 3pm at our office) to assist with alterations.  The alterations would need to be done prior to the grad or formal event of course.  If you are interested, or know someone who might be, please pass on the contact details below.

If you have any clothing that you would like to donate, they are also still looking for dresses (casual, dressy, formal… anything really) to be donated for this purpose as well so feel free to spread the word.

Please contact Michelle directly:

Michelle Robertson – South Island Child Protection Consultant

Ministry for Children and Family Development – 301 – 2955 Jutland Rd., Victoria.

Direct Line: 250 952-6246 Cell :  250 588 3564