13 August 2013

Quick Trip to Toronto (very photo heavy)

Growing up in Detroit, going to Canada was like visiting a friend who lived across the street.  Not including time spent at customs, going to Windsor, Ontario takes far less driving time than traveling to Lansing or Ann Arbor.

I needed to get away this summer and narrowed my choices down to Chicago or Toronto.  Since Toronto is closer to Detroit than Chicago by an hour, Toronto won.  I hadn't been to Toronto in over ten years and wanted to visit again.  I spent four and a half wonderful days in July touring the city and taking in lots of sites.

I arrived at the hotel around 2p.  After parking my car and checking in, I set out to find the fashion district.  I took the subway to Queen St West and walked from Yonge to Spadina.  It wasn't that bad of a walk considering I was driving for the last three and half hours.  My goal wasn't to buy anything, but to survey what was available.

I visited the Royal Ontario Museum to see the Big Mega Textiles & Costume exhibit currently on display.  

The exhibit featured garments and textiles centered around big ideas:  fabric, time, size, event, etc.  I was particularly mesmerized by Tom Ford's sequin masterpiece for Yves Saint Laurent and Christian Dior's Passage #5 Coat Dress. The Dior coat dress contains over 166 meters of fabric in total and took over 500 hours to construct.  There is a video accompanying the display showing ateliers at the House of Dior working on the coat.  It was fantastic.

Below are photos of the Tom Ford sequin dress.  This dress is simply beautiful. Upon studying the style lines, I was a bit shocked to see that the pattern is rather simple.  It has a curved high waist, mandarin collar, high bust darts, skirt darts, left-side drape, center back invisible zipper, and piped hem.  I think this dress would not be too difficult to knock off.  Carolyn, Kristine, Sheila, Faye:  you're on!


I also visited the gem and rock exhibit.  I've always loved geology, but actually never took a class in it.  

Never judge a book by its cover!  What seems to be an ugly rock turns out to be a marvelous work of natural art on the inside. 

After a long day at the Royal Ontario Museum, I made a quick trip to the St. Lawrence Market to pick up some fresh fruit for my room.  A cold breakfast buffet at my hotel was 17CAD day.  Yeah.  I wasn't paying 17CAD per day for some fruit and a croissant.  In addition to the fruit, I bought some instant oatmeal, nuts, and orange juice at the local Shopper's Mart and had breakfast for a week for 15CAD.

Fabric shopping!  After figuring out how to use the trolley system, I was well on my way to Queen St and Spadina.  My first stop was King Textiles on Spadina. I didn't buy any fabric, although this navy 100% mohair coating kept calling me.  At 40CAD/meter, I couldn't do it.  I don't think I would ever cut into it and it just wasn't worth the cost to have it sitting around.  So instead, I bought some more elastic for belts and lots of petersham.  The petersham was only 1 CAD/meter and I should have bought more.

Next I went to Fabric by Designers on Queen St.  There I found Kasha lining at...wait for it...8CAD/meter!!!  Kasha lining at Vogue in Chicago sells for twice this amount.  I snapped up between 2 and 3 meters of 3 different colors.  This was a bargain that could not be beat!

I went to several other stores and picked up a really nice wool double knit and various other notions.

On my last full day in Toronto, I toured Casa Loma (I didn't know Canada had castles), the Textile Museum, and the Gardiner Ceramics Museum.

The castle was built by Canadian businessman Henry Pellatt in the early 1900s. His business acumen in the electricity industry made him a wealthy man and he built a castle to show it.

A bidet from back in the day.
The pictures  below are taken from atop one of the many towers.  Next time, I'll be sure to bring a permanent marker. 

One of the many secret passageways led to the stables.  I know this castle is empty, but it still smelled like horses in there.  Hmm...

Next I toured the Textile Museum of Canada.  The museum featured two exhibits:  (1) Ancestry and Artistry:  Maya Textiles from Guatemala and (2) Shine.  The first exhibit is pretty self explanatory; there were many examples of clothing and textiles from Guatemalan communities.  What struck me most is the wonderful use of color and intricate embroidery.

The Shine exhibit featured how reflective materials (metallic threads, sequins, beads, insect wings, etc.) can be used in clothing and art.

The chandelier below is made out of old scratch-off lottery tickets.  No winners.  I checked. 

This mural was made out of the material used to hold some of the objects it depicts!  Whoever did this is crazy talented.

Finally, a pair of artists made casts of every-day metals out of a single sheet of aluminum foil 9 meters long.  Can you spot some of the items?  I couldn't photo everything.  Well, I could have;  I just didn't. =)


The last of my museum stops included the Gardiner Museum of ceramic art.  Y'all know I like to get my pottery on, so I had to stop here.


The collection largely features ancient ceramic works of art, but as you can see there's some contemporary stuff there too.

At the end of the day, I used the last of my energy and walked down to the lake front to rest a bit.  On my way, I ran into a concert venue headlining Justin Bieber.  Oh. My. Gosh.  That area was unbeliebably crowded (yeah...I actually wrote that) with screaming tweens, teens, and adults. O_o

Before making my way back to the States, I set out to meet the wonderful KayoticSewing of  Gently down the seam...  We had delicious Thai food for lunch and could have easily sat and talked for hours.  She is a very kind, gentle spirit and meeting her was the perfect way to end my trip. 

Before meeting for lunch, I also stopped at a local Fabricland and hit up a great sale they were having.  I bought several pieces of fabric and notions.  GodsgirlT, I'm blaming the polka dots on you! =)


From the top:  orange double knit, orange striped knit, multi-colored rayon knit, purple ITY, purple sweater knit, magenta striped knit, pair of buttons for an upcoming jacket, polka dot cotton shirting, elastic for belts.  I have plans for the magenta striped knit and polka dot cotton shirting.  Stay tuned!

In all, I had a great time and definitely needed the break.  I enjoy visiting Toronto and hope to go back soon.  It would be great to join one of the sewing blogger meet-ups.

On the sewing front, I have begun work on a new project, Indygo Junction 740.

I intend to make the coat on the left since I have the EXACT same fabric for both the body and bands.  I made a muslin, pattern adjustments, and separate lining pieces.  As soon as I figure out how to attach the collar, I will begin cutting out the pieces.  I will document sewing this coat in since I plan to add quite a bit of tailoring.  

Last, but certainly not least, I want to thank everyone for their support.  It means more than words will every convey.

Until next time, peace!




  1. What a great read about your Toronto haunts!

    L, It was LOVELY meeting you. That was exactly how I would describe you too - a kind and gentle spirit. Thank you!

    Okay, this is unbelievable! After meeting you,I went to fabricLand because you mentioned you bought some ponte there. Sure, Got some ponte but guess what else I bought?? That exact black and white polka dot fabric! Lol! So, what are you planning to make out of that one? I bought it because I liked it and couldn't take my mind off it.. Not sure what to make though. Sheath dress? a skirt?

  2. I love that black and white polka dot fabric! It's not at the Fabricland near me...

  3. That was a beautiful vacation and enjoyed the pics, but more importantly. ... love your fabric haul.

  4. Wow! What a wonderful vacation. You really found some great deals on fabric. I especially love that orange stripe and the black & white polka dots.

  5. You needed this get away and it looks as though you really enjoyed it.

  6. Can anyone say "road trip"? You make a trip to Toronto look like a must have for every sewist. Thank you for sharing!

  7. Great pics - fabulous haul of fabric. Not quite sure the crockery jewelry will catch on :-)


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