Sewist Spotlight: Meet Montreal Makers!

As you may know, Closet Core Patterns is based in the creative, multicultural, multilingual and eminently stylish Montreal, Quebec. Our entire team are transplants to this amazing city, either from other parts of Canada or other parts of the world, but all of us consider Montreal home, and we feel very grateful to work in such a vibrant and diverse place. We really hope you come and visit once travel is a possibility again, but in the meantime, and in honour of our recent Montreal pattern Collection, we thought we’d turn our Sewist Spotlight onto a few of the many inspiring folks who live here as well!

JUDITH

@judithdeecreations

Judith is wearing (clockwise from top left) our Fiona Sundress, Kalle Shirt, Charlie Caftan and Jasika Blazer.

Neighbourhood: I was raised in Pointe-aux-Trembles but spent my whole adult life in St-Leonard. I’m an East end chick!

Languages spoken in your home: We speak a mix of French and Haitian Creole.
 
How long have you been sewing? I started about 13-14 years ago.
 
Favourite thing to make? I love to make a brand new shirtdress in a gorgeous print. 
 
Favourite store (fabric/notions) in MTL? I love Fabricville to find everything under the same roof but I enjoy my trips to Globetex for great fabric finds.
 
What do you love most about Montreal? We get to enjoy 4 really different seasons which means we also get to sew very different types of garments.
 
How do you make it through the winter? Any tips? Lots of cuddles and family time watching movies. It really does help keep my spirit up. 
 
If a guest was coming to Montreal where would you take them? I’m torn between taking my guest to Oratoire Saint-Joseph or Mont-Royal Observatory for one of the best panoramic views of the city.
 
 

JOHANNE

@jolianne_joliecouer

Johanne is wearing (clockwise from top left) A frocktails creation, Ginger Jeans, Cielo top, and a pinafore.

Neighbourhood: I live in Laval, just across the bridge from Montreal but I lived in Montreal for the longest time and I work in Montreal in Côte-des-Neiges neighbourhood.  

Languages spoken in your home: I speak French and English at home since my husband is English and my children are bilingual. My mother tongue is French.  

How long have you been sewing? On and off since elementary school, but clothes for myself, I only started about 5 years ago when I turned 50 and reassessed my priorities. I decided to focus on myself and started a personal challenge called my “Decade project”. I gave myself 10 years to learn to sew every type of clothing, except shoes! I’m well on my way and I love it, it’s a true passion!  

Favourite thing to make? It is difficult to say because I find every new project very exciting. I  really enjoy making coats. I spent a 2 week holiday on my Clare coat and I loved that – it had numerous pieces and the way that it all came together at the end – my most involved project so far! I also made the Ellsworth coat in Christine Hayne’s class and a Vogue cape that I love.  Bags are also nice to make because they don’t require fitting, so it’s a breeze between bigger projects.  

Favourite store (fabric/notions) in MTL? Club Tissus in Laval, which has a very interesting variety of excellent, beautiful and original fabrics from some of my favourite designers. That’s where I found the Roberto Cavalli fabric for my Vogue cape. In Montreal; Tonitex and Globetex for the variety and great prices. Tissus Ronald Asselin for super nice and friendly customer service and to shop for fabric on a budget, it’s a great place to find stretch fabric for muslins.  Cava, Trim City and Les Atelier Mademoiselle Julie for rare finds like horsehair canvas.  

If a guest was coming to Montreal where would you take them? Guessing it’s a sewing fanatic like me, to a sewing meet-up in Parc Lafontaine or on Mont-Royal. On Chabanel area for fabric shopping. At the Gryphon d’Or Tea room on Monkland for their amazing afternoon high tea. At the McCord Museum, my absolute favourite and their amazing exhibitions on clothes and designers. From there, a quick walk to La Pendulerie Swiss chocolate factory to admire the multitude of exceptional clocks and to savour the best hot chocolate in town. I would also include a nice walk to Old Montreal and the Old Port, stopping to eat at Venice restaurant on rue St-François-Xavier. I hope they’re around for more than one day!

FAYE

@the.human.does

Faye is wearing Mile End Sweatshirt and Plateau shorts, stripe suit, Cielo top, the cutest kid’s sweatshirt

Neighbourhood: St-Henri 

Languages spoken in your home: English, Hebrew and Frenglish

How long have you been sewing? 5 years-ish this time around.

Favourite thing to make? Hmmm my favourite thing is mixing it up, so anything new and unknown. There have been crazes of swimwear, athletic, and woven with each make declared my favourite pattern ever in the heat of the moment.  I do particularly enjoy sewing up stripes and playing with chevrons. 

Favourite store (fabric/notions) in MTL? J & L sewing accessories. I started going there when I was fresh in Montreal and lived on the other side of town, I still traipse over there with my kids, they have an excellent selection (even boning and underwire) and are so nice. 

What do you love most about Montreal? The people. We moved here for my partner’s job seven years ago and I had no idea what to expect. The longer I’m here the more I love it. Good vibes and Frenglish.

How do you make it through the winter? Any tips? Strangely….. this winter I’m absolutely loving it. My daughter is almost 4 and learning to ice skate, and my youngest is a little snow-loving punk so we’re out playing every day. I say get a full-body snowsuit (or make it) and embrace it. 

If a guest was coming to Montreal where would you take them? I’m not the greatest host so it’s usually a tour of my neighbourhood. I am lucky enough to be close to the market and the canal (St-Henri) and then they get a list of places they can go visit themselves. Actually, I do usually take people to Jean-Talon to check out the market, there’s a lot to eat there and a few fabric stores. Also, lucky winter guests would get a spa trip.
 

YOLANDE

@lesmafamafas

Yolande is wearing Cielo and Pietra, Kalle Shirtdress, Charlie Caftan, Kelly Anorak.

Neighbourhood: Hochelaga Maisonnette but now Longueuil 

Languages spoken in your home: Français 
 
How long have you been sewing? 6-7 years. I started by making a pillow dress for my baby girl, then a dress for a friend’s wedding. Of course, I had no clue as I did not take any classes to begin with! Heather Lou’s jeans class was my first sewing class!
 
Favourite thing to make? Coats and shirtdresses
 
Favourite store (fabric/notions) in MTL? Globetex 
 
What do you love most about Montreal? So Many things…little restaurants, my movies festivals and walks in some Neighbourhood like Outremont, Mile End or Griffintown, Canal Lachine and many more
 
How do you make it through the winter? Any tips? Well, I have outside activities as well as inside. The thing is to always combine both and always end with food! Ice skating and hot cocoa. Ski and brunch. Spa and brunch. There is always free stuff in the “things to do to love winter” section in Montreal. It could be museum and brunch ( yes I am a brunch girl). Here’s my secret for winter: food, food, food but not alone!
 
If a guest was coming to Montreal where would you take them? The waterfront of rivière des prairies, lake shore at Pointe Saint Claire…but always the Saint Joseph Oratoire and park Mont-royal to have a cute view of the city!
 

SUE

@11thhousemakes

Sue is wearing Amy Jumpsuit, Charlie Caftan, Ginger Jeans, Cielo top.

Neighbourhood: West Island
 
Languages spoken in your home: English at home, French with lots of my friends
 
How long have you been sewing? My mom taught me the basics when I was a kid and I made a few costumes in my 20s, but I’d say the genesis of my current sewing practice comes from seeing the Charlie Caftan online and needing to figure out how to make one for myself immediately. That was April of 2019 and I haven’t looked back.
 
Favourite thing to make? I’m obsessed with making all the one-piece things: jumpsuits, bathing suits, bodysuits. As a tall human, these are nearly impossible for me to buy ready to wear. Sewing means I can finally share in the joy of the jumpsuit! Currently working on a Blanca Flight Suit in olive green and I’m so stoked to wear it. 
 
What do you love about Montreal? People give a damn about art and beauty. We make space for it. During festival season, anywhere can be a space for art. I’ve been to shows in parking garages,  cathedrals, blacksmith shops, rooftops, and drained swimming pools. Nothing is off-limits and there’s something incredible happening pretty much any given night. I also love that Montreal is old and cracked but that we keep patching her up. She’s got good bones. 
 
How do you make it through the winter? My approach is onefold: SNOWSPORTSING. You can’t be mad at twenty degrees below zero and piles of snow when you’re whooshing down a mountain. Ski, snowshoe, skate, toboggan— anything that gets you outside and actually ENJOYING the snow and ice. The part of the St Lawrence River that flows near my house freezes totally solid in the depths of winter, so a couple of weeks ago,  we cleared ourselves a rink and had a private skating party. You have to find ways to make it fun.
 
If a guest was coming to Montreal, where would you take them? In the past, the plan has always been dinner somewhere fun (there are excellent restaurants everywhere in this town), then a show (music, burlesque, dance– whatever looks good that night).  After that, it would be essential to find some late-night poutine. In the summer, it’s all about long picnics in the park or drinks on the terrace. In the winter, I’d bring them north of the city for a little skiing and some quality après-ski, bien sûr!
 
Thanks so much to all our sewists! 

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Hi! I'm Heather Lou, a pattern designer and sewing educator for the modern maker. At Closet Core Patterns, we transform your imagination into step-by-step implementation that helps you create a wardrobe you love - not one you're limited to buying off the rack.

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