Today we have another new sponsor to Indie Pattern Month – Blackbird Fabrics! Caroline runs a gorgeous online shop for the modern maker looking for high quality wearable fabrics. As most of you probably know, she also co-hosts the Love to Sew podcast with Helen, who we saw earlier this month!
**Use code INDIELOVE2018 for 10% off at Blackbird Fabrics through October 31st**
Hi Caroline! First up, tell us a bit about your shop. How and when did it start, where are you based, what kinds of products do you sell?
I started Blackbird Fabrics out of my two-bedroom apartment in September 2014, in Vancouver, Canada. We sell garment fabrics, sewing supplies, and kits. Everything is curated with today’s dressmaker in mind – it’s all modern, wearable, high quality materials for sewing a handmade wardrobe.
What did you do before opening the shop? What made you decide to become your own boss?
After studying fashion design in college, I worked for a textile wholesale company for 5 years. That job made me fall in love with fabric, and at the time I was sewing my own clothes and discovering the home sewing community online. I realized there was a lack of online fabric shops (especially in Canada), yet I had access to so many amazing fabrics at my job! I have always wanted to own my own company and be my own boss, but that was when I realized what I was meant to do.
May we have a sneak peek behind the scenes at Blackbird Fabrics?
Yes! We are a small team (4 – including me) and we work out of a studio in East Vancouver. We cut fabric all day every day to keep up with orders – I am so thankful for that! Laura handles customer service and oversees our order fulfillment, Fran is our cutting queen and she is full time on order fulfillment, Natasha takes care of product photography, product listings, and our newsletter. I do everything else! A typical day for me includes anything from e-mails, to placing orders for fabric, to bookkeeping, to posting on Instagram, to bigger picture project planning. When it’s very busy (like right now!) we all jump in and help with order fulfillment, and we have some amazing ladies on call that come in and help when we are really swamped.
We also do workshops in our space. We just launched our Fitting Fundamentals class and there are still a few spots left!
I’m so thankful for my team – we wouldn’t be where we are without them!
What’s your favorite item (or items!) in your stock at the moment?
Are there any exciting new items that just arrived or are coming soon to your shop that you’d like to share with us?
We have so much amazing fabric coming in for this fall and winter! Keep your eyes peeled for boiled wool, gorgeous high quality coatings, raw silk noils, waxed canvas, sweater knits, and so much more.
In addition to your shop, we know you co-host the (wonderful!) Love To Sew podcast as well! We are so excited to have both of you here as sponsors 🙂 Do you ever find it difficult to balance the shop and the podcast? What kind of time commitments to they each require?
Thank you! Helen and I both agree that starting the podcast was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made. It enables us to connect with the sewing community, and it gives us a platform to share our knowledge, and highlight the amazing stories behind the people that make this community tick!
We release a new episode each week, plus a bonus episode for our Patreon supporters each month. We meet at least once a week to record, and on our own time we each handle different aspects of the podcast. Helen does all of the episode prep and research, while I answer e-mails from our listeners and take care of our Instagram. The division of tasks allows us to focus on what’s on our plate and not feel too scattered! We also recently brought on Sam, Helen’s partner, as our producer and sponsorship co-ordinator. It’s been amazing to have him on our team. There are so many little tasks that go into releasing a podcast every week, so we all wear a lot of hats, but we have a lot of fun doing it!
When it comes to your personal wardrobe, what do you enjoy making the most? Do you sew mostly with fabrics from your shop, or do you have any other go-to sources? Any recent projects you’d care to share with us?
I love wearing jeans and tees, so that’s what I make the most! Not the most exciting, but the most important thing for me is that I’ll wear the things I sew. I also love making dresses, especially when I have somewhere special to wear them, like a wedding! My favourite recent make is an In the Folds Acton Dress that I wore to two weddings this summer.
I sew almost all of my clothes with fabrics from my shop. That’s the way it should be, right?