June 3rd – Insta inspo, hoopla and bts

Insta follow round up!



If you’re using a heavier fabric, this likely won’t be an issue very often, but when using delicate sheer fabrics like tulle, silk, and especially organza, a well fit hoop is pretty crucial for keeping things straight with the grain and getting a good uniform tension. Masking tape is your friend. I pretty much tape up all my hoops straight out of the gate (and if you don’t, sanding your wooden hoops is a pretty wise idea to avoid snags from splinters).

Taping  definitely helps hold fabric better, regardless of what your hoop is made of. Hold your hoop up to the light to see if there are any really obvious gaps. The real problem areas are sneakier. You’ll probably have to stretch your fabric into the hoop before you notice the areas that are slipping back and throwing your pattern/grain off. You can see I had this issue with the fine tulle I was using for my beading this week (3rd image). I had already taped up my hoop, but there was a problem area near the top, and it just kept sliding back, no matter how tight I cranked the screw. So I marked the hoop with a centre point (lined up under the screw), and then marked out where the problem area was. I taped off an extra layer between the marks. Voila! My fabric had uniform tension all the way around with no slippage.

Sneak peek of what I’m working on this week

I chose a non-traditional lace that has a bit of a coral/underwatery theme (mermaid all day erryday). I tea dyed the lace (and all the other fabrics) to match the original fabrics in the gown. I am using tambour, appliqué, and hand-made tulle flowers to create a cascading texture that flows down the down into the skirt. I’ve been asked for a lesson on these flowers, so I’ll think about where to incorporate them, either in one of the classes or maybe a special tutorial. They’re a bit time consuming but the effect is lovely. You can see the effect used here, too. 

May 27th – Sequin, sequins, sequins!

Image round up deluxe!

Sustainable Sequins

So, despite the deep love we have for them, the uncomfortable truth is that sequins aren’t real great for the environment. However, there are some things we can do to enjoy our sparkle while being conscientious of the environment. For one, purchasing with intention is a great start. Rachel Clowes’ masters thesis found that sequins are usually on special occasion pieces, and that those pieces only get worn 2-3 times before languishing in the backs of closets – and then eventually ending up in a landfill. There are a lot of ways around this – investing in pieces we really love, and will wear frequently with love. Renting special occasion frocks from places like The Fitzroy  or Bell Street is a really great option  if you need a beautiful sparkly gown for just one night.

The aforementioned Rachel Clowes’ findings prompted her to launch The Sustainable Sequin Company. They cut custom recycled sequins, and they are working on a bio sequin that is biodegradable. I use a lot of recycled sequins. There are so many off-cuts when designers work with pre-sequinned fabric, and I keep alllllllll of mine. It’s a little tedious to clip them all off, but just snip away while bingeing netflix shows and you’ll divert loads of plastic from a landfill, and have a lovely pile of sparkly embellishments to incorporate into a new project!


Where To Buy: Sequins!

Soo Ling Beads – 1162 Dundas Street East
Michaels – very limited range. Last time I was at the one on Richmond and John, they had a lot more than the selection at the one in Hamilton.
Fabricland – very limited selection.

Ottawa Street has a great collection of fabric and notion shops.
Sussman’s – 330 Ottawa Street North. Some of you remember Mimi well – she left Queen Street West a couple years ago for the more accessible rent on Ottawa Street in Hamilton. She has a great selection of alllllll kinds of things, including sequins. Since ZH shut down, she now has the widest variety of unique and interesting sequins in a IRL shop that I frequent. She also sells online, but she has a lot more available in-store than are listed in her online shop.
Nova Sew – 289 Ottawa Street North. They sell their sequins by the spoonful, which is pretty adorable.

Alright, for the rest of us who aren’t lucky enough to live just off Ottawa Street and work near Queen, Ali Express and Etsy are the places to look for good sequins.

ZH  – This is my fave Toronto sequin shop that just closed 😢  (I’m clearly not over it, I’m really sick of my fave shops being forced to close because of f&^king condos.) ANYWAY, they are currently in the process of listing all of their sequins on their Etsy, and as soon as they do, I’ll let you know. They know you are waiting.
Michaels Sequin Store – AliExpress has a brilliant range of interesting sequins. The downside of ordering online in this way is that the shipping times can really take forever, but there is usually an option to expedite delivery at least a bit.

Materials needed for today’s tutorial are pretty straight-forward. Seed beads, thread, beading needles, and snips.


May 13th – Inspo and texture tutorial

Click to see Hermione DePaula’s instagram post that made me all fringe-happy

The tiny tutorial vid for creating that kind of texture in your flowers…or whatever you’re beading. Skulls, cats, what have you. This is my first pubic tutorial, so feel free to send me your feedback. Excited to see what you make! If you try this, I’d love to see your results!