Seam Allowance – a Canadian Online Fabric Store {+ a giveaway}

Happy Monday to you. Why don’t we start this week off with a giveaway. Sound good?! 

Today, I am happy to introduce you to Seam Allowance, a Canadian Online Fabric Store – and the 14th post in our Canadian Online Fabric Store series. I recently found out about this new Canadian Etsy shop. Seam Allowance has curated such a lovely selection of fabrics that I emailed right away to ask if I could feature them here! #shopCanadian

Nikki opened shop last September, and by the looks of things she’s got exactly the same taste in fabric as I do – lots of Cotton + Steel, Art Gallery & knits. So good!

I love their tagline. “sew happiness” sounds right to me! Before we get too far, here are my favorites from her shop:

Here’s a little bit more about Seam Allowance:

“I’m a wife and a mother to four young children, and a maternity nurse on the side. I really started sewing when I was pregnant with my third son. I discovered sewing blogs for the first time, and was suddenly inundated with ideas and inspiration! Sewing seems to bring a little bit of sanity and a sense of accomplishment to my sometimes harried life, and I love it for that.” ~ Nikki, owner 

Seam Allowance currently ships within Canada and the US. Canadian orders over $125 ship free and all other Canadian orders ship for their $8 flat rate. US orders have a $15 flat rate shipping fee.

Thread Riding Hood: Why did you decide to start Seam Allowance?

Nikki: I started Seam Allowance after being constantly frustrated by the selection at my local fabric shops. I usually ended up purchasing fabric online, but could only find American shops that carried what I like. The shipping, exchange, and duty were getting to be too much for me, so I took things into my own hands, and Seam Allowance was born!

Thread Riding Hood: What is your favorite type of sewing project? Quilting, Apparel… ?

Nikki: I love all kinds of sewing, EXCEPT alterations or mending. I usually end up sewing clothing for my kids or my nieces, although I recently sewed myself a shirt for the first time ever, and I love it! I’ve made a couple of quilts for my family, and although I consider myself a total amateur, I really really love making them.

Thread Riding Hood: What is something coming up in the near future that you are especially excited about?

Nikki: I’m really excited to be expanding the fabric selection I have in shop. My shop is new, and I started small, but now I’m able to bring in some more from my long-time favorite designers, and I’m super excited. I’m also VERY excited about getting my first-ever serger, and learning how to use it.

Thread Riding Hood: Thanks Nikki! 

Today, you can enter for your chance to win a $30 shop credit from Seam Allowance

This giveaway is open to Canadian and US readers, from today (May 25th) until midnight June 1, 2015. Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter – and if you don’t have Facebook to sign in with, just use your name and email address. There’s a “click to enter”, no social media login entry too!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for reading. Don’t miss a post – Follow along! 

Disclosure and Privacy Policy: I asked Seam Allowance to be a part of this series.  I will never recommend or highlight a shop that I do not love, and my opinions will and have always been my own. Thanks for reading! Photo credits: Seam Allowance Fabrics

Meerkat Shweshwe – South African Fabric available in Canada & US! {+ discount & giveaway}

I’m excited to bring you a fun and different installment to our Canadian Online Fabric Shop interview series today! When I was at the Creativ Festival last fall I found a booth for Meerkat Shweshwe – I was super curious about their fabrics (you’ll see why later), so I stopped to talk to them. Turns out they are a wholesaler for imported shweshwe fabric from South Africa.

I was drawn to their booth because of the unique selection of fabric. Nothing like you’ve seen before. Unless of course, you’ve got some shweshwe in your stash! Today I am interviewing this wholesaler and linking over to 4 shops that carry their unique fabric. There’s a discount for one of the US shops and a giveaway too!

I’m so excited to interview Céleste, the owner of Meerkat Shweshwe, today. We’ve been working back-and-forth for a month or so to get you some great information about this unique fabric. Including lots of photos, where to get it and how to care for it!

Thread Riding Hood: How did you get connected to selling shweshwe?

Céleste: I was born in South Africa, the home of Shweshwe, and brought up in a family of sewing and knitting enthusiasts. When my family moved to Canada in 2001 I could only get hold of Shweshwe on trips “back home” or when we had visitors from South Africa. In 2013 I visited Da Gama Textiles in South Africa to investigate becoming an importer and distributor of Shweshwe.

Thread Riding Hood: What is a bit of the history of this type of fabric?

Céleste: The history of all modern printed cottons starts with indigo dyed fabric. Indigo is a deep blue plant dye that originated in India and made its way to Europe in Roman times. Shweshwe’s history is connected to indigo dyed cotton prints in Europe, called “Blaudruck”. The name “shweshwe” comes from King Moshoeshoe I, who was given a gift of indigo printed cotton by French missionaries during the 19th century. When European settlers moved into Southern Africa, they introduced these indigo prints to the ethnic groups they met, who assimilated them into their culture. Although fashions changed and technology improved, Shweshwe has remained in demand in South Africa until today. It is sometimes called the “tartan” of South Africa. Click here for a more detailed history.

Thread Riding Hood: Why is shweshwe unique?

Céleste: There are quite a few differences between shweshwe and other fabrics.

  • The designs look like reproductions, but they are authentic classics from the days of the early development of automated cotton printing in the 18th century.
  • Shweshwe is still produced using an old method of discharge printing dating back to the days of early industrialization.
  • The fabric is only 90cm/36″ wide, because it is printed using technology from a time when all fabric looms were that width – think of original Liberty Lawns.
  • Shweshwe has a distinctive smell and stiffness from the dressing still used as in days gone by when this was protection for the long sea voyage from England to the colonies. One wash and the fabric is soft and lovely to use.
  • Shweshwe has an authenticated backstamp.

Thread Riding Hood: What do you love most about working with shweshwe fabric?

Céleste: First, Nostalgia. It harks back at the classic fabrics I grew up with, in terms of old fashioned quality, versatility and a 100% cotton with a good hand. Second, Innovation. Besides producing the blue, chocolate and red classics, they keep adding modern designs in vibrant colours to their collection. Third, Social Conscience. Working with Shweshwe connects me to creating employment in South Africa, and keeping this historic fabric alive.

Thread Riding Hood: What types of projects would you recommend using shweshwe for?

Céleste: It is super versatile and can be used whenever you would normally choose 100% cotton prints. It was traditionally used for dressmaking in South Africa, but nowadays you can find it used for quilts, home decorating, and crafting. It has become a popular item on fashion runways with South African designers for both men and women, even for weddings and shoes. Check my Pinterest boards for inspiration.


Thread Riding Hood: Anything else we should know about working with this fabric? Prewashing? Ironing? Care? 

Céleste: You have to prewash to get rid of the dressing and then it will shrink a little, as the threads settle after the dressing is washed out. Thereafter you treat it like all other 100% cottons. You don’t have to iron it, but if you want that crisp look of ironed cotton, you’ll get it in spades from Shweshwe! It is very durable: I have a dress I still wear that is 25 years old. 

Thread Riding Hood: Do you have a personal favorite story that involves a particular shweshwe project that you wouldn’t mind sharing with us?

Céleste: In 2002 as a new Canadian I stumbled upon the Quilt of Belonging at the Waterloo Regional Quilt Festival. I volunteered to make the block for Namibia, because the South African block was already made. I used Shweshwe in the border of that block, never knowing that about 10 years later I would be importing it. You can see the block here.

Thread Riding Hood: How can we get connected to buying some of this fabulous fabric?

Céleste: At present there are four stores in Canada and the USA that sell Meerkat Shweshwe: Hyggeligt Fabrics, Greenwood Quiltery, Yardwork-Etsy and Whitby Fabrics Sewing Centre. I am a wholesaler and I do not do direct sales except for an annual promotion at Creativ Festival in the Fall.

Thread Riding Hood: How can retailers arrange to order this fabulous fabric for their inventory?

Céleste: I invite retailers to contact me if they would like to carry Shweshwe in their inventory. Minimum order is 10m and minimum cuts are 5m, but for a first time order I will make 2m cuts. I also invite anyone who uses 100% cottons to produce clothing or any other items to contact me if they want to place wholesale orders for their use. My email address is

Meerkat Shweshwe (from Da Gama Textiles) is available at the following shops. Yardwork (below) has given you a discount to use in her entire shop!  Check the locations – there are three in Canada (2 selling online) and Yardwork is in the US!

Yardwork on Etsy (Brooklyn, NY)

Get 15% off orders from Yardwork using the discount code “REDTHREAD”! This coupon applies to any order over $8.00 and is valid until April 17, 2015!

Hyggeligt Fabrics (London, Ontario – available online)

Greenwood Quiltery  (Guelph, Ontario – available online)

Whitby Fabrics Sewing Centre (Whitby, Ontario)

Here’s your chance to enter to win eight fat quarters of Shweshwe contemporary and classic prints!

 This giveaway is open to everyone, internationally from today (Feb 17th) until midnight on Tuesday evening, February 24, 2015. Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter – and if you don’t have Facebook to sign in with, just use your name and email address. There’s a “click to enter” no social media login entry too!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: I asked Céleste to be a part of this interview, I have not been compensated by Meerkat Shweshwe to write this post. I find this fabric type interesting and thought you might too. Thanks for reading!

Sew Sisters – a Canadian Online Fabric Store {+ a giveaway}

And we’re back with another giveaway and discount code AND the 12th post in the Canadian Online Fabric Store series! Today I’m interviewing Judy from Sew Sisters – an Ontario-based brick and mortar shop with international online shipping. She and her sister Karen started Sew Sisters together in 2000. I’ve visited their booth at the Creativ Festival and I always find something new and fun to purchase!

I am super excited about their monthly fabric clubs – they have 3 of them! A Kona Club, a Bargain Lover’s Club and a Batik Lover’s Club. As if the cute graphics were not enough – you can get fabric shipped to your door every month, hooray! I’ve been meaning to sign up for the 1/2 yard Kona Club for a while now and I have finally done it. I don’t stash enough solids to go with my projects and now I’ll have them. I love the surprise factor too – it’s lots of fun checking out which colours came in the mail!

Before we get too far – here’s a little preview of a few of my favorites from their shop:

Want to know more about Sew Sisters in 3 sentences? Carol has written up a tidy summary for you:

Sew Sisters Quilt Shop is A Canadian Source for Top Quality Quilt Fabric at Fair prices. Whether shopping online or in person at 3961 Chesswood Drive in North Toronto our goal is to provide you with great service and offer top quality products at the lowest possible price. Sew-Sisters have a large selection of quilting fabric and classes, patterns, books and notions – everything you need to complete your unique quilts!

Thread Riding Hood: Why did you decide to start Sew Sisters?

Judy: In 2000, I made an “I spy” quilt for my son that required almost 500 different pieces of fabric. I had to do a lot of shopping, trading and searching to amass the collection and when it was finished, I had both a lovely quilt and a massive amount of leftovers!

Figuring that other people making I Spy quilts would have the same problems I had finding enough fabric, I decided to sell packets of my leftover fabric online. The fabric square kits did very well, so much so that I began to think about continuing to make and sell them. I did so, and as the square packets became more popular, my sister joined me. Karen took over the shipping end of the business and soon we were able to expand the number of products we carried.

After many successful sales, we realized that our hobby had grown into a business! We registered a name, got a tax number and hired someone to do our books – our Dad, a retired accountant. Local quilt shops became interested in our square packets so we started supplying them as well. Soon we started selling at local guild shows and larger craft shows such as the Creativ Festival. Each year we continued to dramatically expand our product line until eventually we outgrew our house.

In September 2007, we opened a retail store at 3961 Chesswood Drive in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Our shop is loaded with fabric, notions, patterns and books that inspire quilters to create quilts to treasure. We are constantly growing and stretching to provide our customers with a larger selection, more projects and greater service. My passion for quilting and serving the public know no bounds and we aspire to provide the best customer service and the best prices possible in the market place!

Thread Riding Hood: What are a few favorite sewing projects you can share with us? 

Judy: We had a week long Sew-a-thon a few months ago and made some great projects with Tim Holtz’s Eclectic Elements, Jenny Pedigo’s Quick Curve Ruler and Northcott’s Stonehenge Oh Canada fabric. It was such fun! (You can see the projects here!)

Thread Riding Hood: What is something coming up in the near future that you are especially excited about?

Judy: We’re having a 3 day Free Shipping in Canada event this week! This is always fun for our online customers.

Thread Riding Hood: Thanks Judy! I really like how your quilts took you from a hobby to a brick and mortar shop. Such a unique beginning! 

Sew Sisters has decided to give away an amazing 10 fat quarter bundle of Tim Holtz’s Eclectic Elements! WOW!

This giveaway is open to everyone, internationally from today (Jan 7th) until midnight on Tuesday evening, January 13, 2015. Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter – and if you don’t have Facebook to sign in with, just use your name and email address. There’s a “click to enter” no social media login entry too!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

All ready to get some fabric? Sew Sisters has generously offered you a discount! Use the code “THREAD1015” to get 10% off your purchase from January 7-13th, 2015! Here are a few more fabrics to get you started. And don’t forget about the free shipping (within Canada) offer from the 9th-11th this weekend!

Disclosure and Privacy Policy: I asked Sew Sisters Quilt Shop to be a part of this series.  I will never recommend or highlight a shop that I do not love, and my opinions will and have always been my own. Thanks for reading!

L’Oiseau – Canadian Online Fabric Store {+ a giveaway}

We’ve got a treat for you today – the 11th post in the Canadian Online Fabric Store series. I’m interviewing L’Oiseau – an Alberta-based shop with international shipping (and they are giving away fabric to one lucky winner!). I’ve known about L’Oiseau for a while now, but I did not know about their amazing collection of apparel fabrics!

(Before we get too far – L’Oiseau asked me to mention that they are having a HUGE Winter Clearance sale right now. Click over to take advantage of some amazing prices! – Ends Dec 21, 2014)

Here is a run-down of just some types of fabric they offer: Cotton Poplin, Jersey Knit, Sweatshirt, Denim, Corduroy, Organics (Hemp, Bamboo), Velour & French Terry. Not to forget the ribbon, iron on transfers, labels and patterns. They also have a Knitting Shoppe – in case you knit or crochet. How’s that for an introduction?

I happen to know about a little something that is under our Christmas tree (ahem*cough*hint*serger!*cough) so I was especially excited about owner Michelle’s collection of knit fabrics. I’m hoping to make good use of my stash and then start ordering from her!

I’ve included a few favorite fabrics here – but you have to know that I have spent more time browsing this shop than I have for any other interview post to date. There is just so much goodness! Every page on her site has something I’d like to sew with and there is a great variety, lots of solids and some stripes too.

Here’s a little bit more about L’Oiseau via a little bio Michelle wrote up for me:

We started our shop April, 2013 and as a result of my endless search for great fabric.  We focused on Euro fabrics and products because I had been personally so inspired by their fun, playful attitude toward sewing.  And their quality, colour saturation, and functionality is unparalleled.  We wanted to offer these great fabrics to Canadians and beyond!  

Thread Riding Hood: Why did you decide to start L’Oiseau Fabrics?

Michelle: I wanted the Euro fabrics for myself!  I loved their quality and the certifications that came along with them and I spend so much of my time and resources scoping out the fabrics that one day my husband implied maybe I should just open a store.  He may have been joking but I thought, “What a great idea!” And here we are.

Thread Riding Hood: What is your favorite type of sewing project?

Michelle: Kids clothing; hands down.  Colour, texture, applique, ribbons; you can do it all and really your only limitation is your imagination.  And they love it…what’s more rewarding than that?

Thread Riding Hood: What is something coming up in the near future that you are especially excited about?

Michelle: We are simplifying and I am excited about that.  We are going to focus on more of the great quality, basic apparel fabrics because they always work and are a sort of launching pad for amazing things.

Thanks Michelle! I love what she says about sewing clothing for kids. It’s so true!

Michelle has generously given us a “Choose Your Own Adventure” giveaway today! One very fortunate winner will get to choose 1 metre of any fabric from the L’Oiseau Fabric Shoppe! 

This giveaway is open to everyone, internationally from today until midnight on Tuesday evening, December 23, 2014. Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter – and if you don’t have Facebook to sign in with, just use your name and email address. There’s a “click to enter” no social media login entry too!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure and Privacy Policy: Please note, this is a sponsored post. I asked L’Oiseau to be a part of this series, and as a result they have decided to become a sponsor of Thread Riding Hood, making this a #sponsoredpost.  I will never recommend or highlight a shop that I do not love, and my opinions will and have always been my own. Thanks for reading!

Duncan & Kate Fabrics – a Canadian Online Fabric Store {giveaway + discount}

Wow! This post marks the 10th Canadian Online Fabric Store in our series! Now… only about 48 more shops to go – yikes! Alright… We’ve got a fun one for you today! I’d like to introduce you to Karyn, owner of Duncan & Kate Fabrics. This PEI based shop sells organic cotton knits (and ships internationally) – hooray for apparel fabric! And it’s c-uuute! (P.S. There’s a super generous giveaway and a discount code for this shop at the end of the post – scroll down if you can’t wait.)

When Karyn contacted me I was so excited to see her shop and hear her story. She stocks Lillestoff, Stenzo, and their own range of exclusive Duncan & Kate Fabrics in both her Etsy Shop and on her Facebook page. If you love the European style knits, you are in for a treat. She’s even got some stripes to choose from – and you know how hard those are to find! Her story is amazing, and she’s designing some of the fabrics herself! I had such a hard time narrowing my favorites down… here are only a few of them.

In a little bio about her shop, this is what Karyn had to say: I am a Mum of two young children, and I love to sew for them! Our family moved at the end of 2013 from Scotland to PEI, Canada, to be closer to my family (I’m originally from PEI) and its been so wonderful being back in Canada again. It was a hard year for us as my husband was only able to join us (due to the immigration process) in September of this year – and we are pretty ecstatic to be back together as a family again now! In fact, my Love Home fabric design is all about childhood memories of “home”, and I look forward to sharing all of these amazing childhood traditions and memories with my children, and hopefully with their children too some day.

Thread Riding Hood: Why did you decide to start Duncan & Kate Fabrics?

Karyn: When my daughter was born, we lived in a really rural area of Scotland, so I started sewing things for her as there were no shops nearby, and I fell instantly in love with all the amazing organic knits available in Europe. I got a lot of compliments about the clothing I made, and people started asking me to make things for them. Which of course, meant I got to order more fabric; it became my husband’s favourite thing to say (while rolling his eyes!) “You have so much fabric, you should open your own shop.” I took his advice and opened my shop selling organic European knit fabrics in early 2013. We have since moved to Canada, and I am so pleased to be able to offer amazing European sourced organic knit fabrics that are not readily available in North America.

Thread Riding Hood: What is your favorite type of sewing project?

Karyn: I usually sew clothing for children and women from knit fabrics at the moment. But, high on my list of things I want to learn to sew is a quilt. I think they are just so beautiful, and I am totally in awe of people who can make quilts. My grandmother started to put together pieces for a quilt in the early 1950s but she never got to finish it. I have all the pieces and some day I will finish it, and then pass it down to my daughter. The colours in the fabrics are so amazing and bright, and its really special to me to have the pieces that my Grandmother had hand stitched together.

Thread Riding Hood: What is something coming up in the near future that you are especially excited about?

Karyn: In addition to some new fabric designs I am currently working on for our own range of organic cotton knits, I will also be stocking a new range of amazing European organic sweat shirt fabric and a range of solid colour organic cotton knit fabrics in the next couple of months. I am also excited to be introducing a new program for small business owners who sew items for sale; eligible members will receive a discount on all purchases, special offers from time to time, and flat rate shipping. Anyone who is interested in applying for this new program, please send an email to

Did you catch that bit about her grandmother’s quilt? What a great project – and all of you handmade sellers won’t want to miss her new program (with discounts!) either!

Karyn has generously given us a “Choose Your Own Prize” giveaway. These are the best because you can pick whatever you’d like from the Duncan & Kate shop! One very fortunate reader will win a $50 Gift Certificate to the Duncan & Kate Fabrics Etsy shop… just imagine what you could buy with that!

This giveaway is open to everyone, internationally from today until midnight on Tuesday evening, November 25th. Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter – and if you don’t have Facebook to sign in with, just use your name and email address. There’s a “click to enter” no social media login entry too!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Ok… so you’re ready to start shopping? Many thanks to Karyn, you can click over to Duncan & Kate Fabrics and use the code “THREADRIDINGHOOD10” to get 10% off your purchase. This discount is valid all of the way up until December 10th, 2014. Hooray! Here are a few more fabrics to get you started.

Country Clothesline – a Canadian Online Fabric Store {+ a giveaway!}

Today I get to introduce you to the ninth Canadian Online Fabric Store in our seriesCountry Clothesline! I found Sylvia’s shop at the Toronto Creativ Festival this spring and I’m really excited that she agreed to be featured here. Sylvia is even giving away some country fabric goodness (scroll down for the giveaway if you can’t wait!).

When my friends and I spotted Sylvia’s booth at the show we immediately went over to check it out. I have not seen a store online as yet with her style of selection. She has fine-tuned country goodness using vintage and modern florals down to perfection! If you love the new trendy florals or are always collecting vintage sheets at the thrift store you are in for a treat. Her stock even has a few very modern surprises if you take a look for them! As a bonus, Sylvia is lovely as well and it was so nice to get to meet her.

I asked Sylvia to write up a little bit about herself and her shop and here is what she had to say:

“I love flowers – roses, lilacs, daisies, simple wildflowers…

I have been quilting for years and had trouble finding a good selection of the fresh, country inspired floral fabrics that I love.  So seeing a niche in the marketplace and with my years of experience in retail, hospitality and customer service I’ve created Country Clothesline.   I want to offer quilters and sewers this unique Collection of floraly, vintagy, countryish, cute, pretty and just plain fun fabrics for their personal sewing and quilting projects.  I don’t buy full lines of fabric from my suppliers but prefer to just choose the fabrics that really speak to me.  That is also how I decide on the fabrics I use when I am making a quilt or a pillowcase – the ones that feel right together end up together.  I truly hope that the Country Clothesline Collection of fabrics will speak to all the creative sewers out there and you’ll love these fabrics as much as I do!”

I love meeting the online shop owners, even if it is only over the interweb. I find it is really fun to know what they are like and how it reflects in their online store front. I asked Sylvia a few questions to find out a bit more.

Thread Riding Hood: What inspired you to start Country Clothesline?

Sylvia: The inspiration behind Country Clothesline really comes from our little farmhouse in Prince Edward County where the constant breeze makes all that I hang on our clothesline dance in the sun overlooking the green fields.  So simple, yet so beautiful 🙂

Thread Riding Hood: What is your favorite type of sewing project?

Sylvia: My favourite sewing project is when I have the time to sit down and do the hand-quilting on a gift that I am making for someone special.  I love the effect of a quilt that has been hand-quilted.  These quilts just feel different, softer, cozier, each stitch really is an extension of the quilter.  Here is a close up of one of the squares from a charm quilt I made for my daughter for her 13th birthday – it is hand-quilted with various size hearts.  (certainly not perfect stitching – but full of love nonetheless)

Thread Riding Hood: What is something coming up in the near future that you are especially excited about?

Sylvia: As far as what I am excited about in the near future for Country Clothesline, to be honest, because the business is so new, I just really want to improve upon what I have so far.  With each customer interaction I learn a little more about how to provide better service, how to make the website work for my customer better, etc.  And on top of that I am excited to be adding some quilt and pillowcase kits and some exciting patterns to the store as well.  Lots to do and lots to look forward to!

Doesn’t it sound amazing?! I think I need to find myself a clothesline and a breeze. Not to mention a country farmhouse… though I suppose a pretty floral quilt will do! Sylvia has more than enough options to select from! Here are a few of my favorites…

So, you want to get some of this lovely fabric for yourself?! Sylvia is giving away a lovely 6 fat quarter bundle of 100% quilting cotton in reds and pinks! This “Dots & Checks” bundle is made from quality quilting fabrics by Riley Blake and Freespirit. Sylvia writes, “Some images that this group evokes for me are:  picnics, farmhouse tablecloths, little girls dresses and elements of a country patchwork quilt.” I couldn’t agree more!

This giveaway is open to everyone, internationally from today until midnight on Monday evening, June 16th. Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter – and if you don’t have Facebook to sign in with, just use your name and email address!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Now that you have met Sylvia and signed up for the giveaway, head on over to visit Country Clothesline! I’ve selected a few more gorgeous florals from her shop for you to start with…