Connie , a dear friend and fellow sewista, asked if I would like to check out the Creativ Festival in Toronto, an expo dedicated all things creative. Naturally, I said sure! I was in the mood for an adventure and I really like Canada. Toronto would be a new experience — yea. Let’s explore!
When you embark on a journey you never really know what to expect or what tidbits of inspiration you will find. Well, I will tell you I feel richer for this experience. So here’s why…
The festival was purely an experiment. The web site was not very user friendly. I felt we blindly entered into it. It wasn’t expensive, so we felt, “How could we go wrong?” Airfare was great and thanks to Connie and VBRO.com we had an awesome place to call home for a long weekend.
Before I continue, I need to explain that my reason for sewing is for fashionable clothing, to express myself and to look the best I can. Hence my website’s tag line, “Make it. Wear it. Look your Best!” I also love teaching others and sharing my passion. Others love the art of quilting, but, I figure if you can’t wear it, why bother. Well there is another aspect to consider and it was apparent in everything I was attracted to during this exploration weekend — Whimsy!
Yes, turns out I am just a big kid. Furthermore, my spirit was calling out for it even before this trip.
One of the attractions for me in attending these expos are the workshops. However, there were not many garment sewing workshops to attend in this spring event. For us, the main attraction was Linda McPhee. She is so fun! And, not only was she fun — and creative — but funny! She opened by talking about herself and family and let us know that her husband was a Royal Canadian Mounted Policeman. So with visions of the actor Nelson Eddy (look him up in Wikipedia)… dancing in my head, I had growing expectations that she was going to at least be fun. And she didn’t disappoint!
Linda came out wearing a bright colored, crazy jacket. And, one of the things she demonstrated was an brightly colored, applique bird. Yes, I said bird! The Happy Bird Kit is an almost complete bird kit that she sells. All one needs is the stuffing, needle, glue and thread. If you are a cat owner, your cat will love it! Watch out friends you may just receive one in the mail! She delights in making them and sending them to people.
What else was a part of her workshop… How about drawing with bleach on your denim? Brilliant! Also a foil printing application that leaves a shiny design on your fabric. Awesome! Furthermore, you are the designer! Designed by you and made by you — yours will truly be unique. And, she had fun playing with fabrics!
What tickled my fancy next (after Linda) was a monkey. Found at one of the vendor booths and having nothing to do with clothing, this adorable creature comes from the book Tildas Toy Box. For me, it was love at first sight. How could you not look at this and not have a smile on your face? He might be worth hanging around for those days you need a smile!
After we had our fill of the Festival it was time to check out some fabric shops. With a little investigation, we found the Toronto fabric district. It was worth the visit. It was in an area called Queens West, for the same reasons reasons New Yorker’s coin areas such as SoHo and Noho. Actually this area had a very Greenwich Village feel with hip eateries and boutiques in amongst the fabric shops. My personal favorite was a shop called Trendy. Attracted to novelty, I spied a pink faux Mongolian fur fabric. Seriously I have not been able to stop thinking about it and hav e spent time in the airport starting to sketch my ideas!
On our last day in Toronto we explored an area called Yorkville. Yorkville is like putting Fith Avenue department stores and Madison Ave boutiques together.
Would I find whimsy there? Absolutely!
My favorite experience happened in a boutique called Pink Tartan. The name already sounded fun even before we entered the store. The saleswoman was very nice and extremely informative with all the collections. She delighted in pointing out design details that made each garment stand out. My call outs were the Pink Tarten private label blouse. Trimmed in narrow Petersham ribbon for impeccable detail this tailored shirt. It had pink neon thread used for the buttonholes!
And, the shoes. What woman does not like shoes? I was introduced to a line named Giannico. Most of the shoes in this capsule collection were decorated with lips. So unexpected, yet so super! This line is designed by a 2oyr old designer from Milan. Not surprising his idol is Manolo Blanik — the king of sexy shoes.
One of our last foreys took us into one department store that interested me, Holt Renfrew. This is not a name found in the States, so naturally I felt they would have a different point of view in their merchandise selection. An in-store display for Brunello Cucinelli captured my attention. Simple but clever in design, was a black dress on a mannequin that at first glance had a beaded neckline. Not so, the beading was actually sewn onto a long length of the same fabric that tied at the back of the neck to form a necklace. From the back, the long lengths of fabric capture one’s curiosity that you must walk around!
And with this my whimsy came full circle. It was soon time to return home and bask in the whimsy and creative ideas I had seen. Look for some things to pop up in my shop!