I have been turned onto a couple of really great blogs, I thought that I would share:

   A Man Repeller, as defined by http://www.manrepeller.com/, is outfitting oneself in a sartorially offensive  way that will result in repelling members of the opposite sex. Such garments include but are not limited to   harem pants, boyfriend jeans, overalls (see: human repelling), shoulder pads, full length jumpsuits, jewelry that resembles violent weaponry and clogs.

And part rogue portfolio, part blog, http://www.fashiontk.com/ is the online tryst between writer-editor Glynnis Mapp and her hired pen. She’s hob-knobbed with the gamut of industry personalities including model Coco Rocha, Nelly Furtado, Dean and Dan Caten of DSquared2, and Kanye West. She has attended global fashion trade shows like Project, Magic and ENK in Las Vegas and New York City and has covered haute couture and men’s pret-a-porter runway shows in Paris. You will love it. 

Maybe take yourself a look/see at the above jams while recovering from the digesting that has been happening in your middle bits this past week.  Happy, happy new year to you, dear public! Thank you extremely for all of the love this past year and we will meet up again in early '11- many wonderful things in the plans, I will keep you posted.

(Puns are back...)

    Love: Sara Duke                                        


Do you like my sign? The lovely people at AKA, my new space mates, gave me a set of cute stamps for the Christmas because they are awesome. Then I made the above cute sign, awesome!

Here is the plan: the shop at 1244 Bloor Street West will be open today until 7 pm and then tomorrow (Christmas Eve) nice and early at 9 am until 4 pm, closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

Thursday December 23rd: open noon to seven 

Friday December 24th: open nine to four

Saturday December 25th: closed

Sunday December 26th: closed

Next week, the shop will open up again on Thursday and Friday, 12 pm to 7 pm; then closed New Years Day.

Thursday December 30th: open noon to seven

Friday December 31st: open noon to seven

Saturday January 1st: closed

Come by tomorrow and get that last bit of shopping done before you get all of that giving/eating/drinking started.

Happy Holidays!

Sara Duke
It's Wednesday, but because Saturday is Christmas and the shop will be closed, today I will be open from 11 am to 7 pm. Come and finish up all of your shopping at the Sara Duke Factory Store; and if not here, then at another one of the other really cute boutiques in Bloordale! You will love this...

69 Vintage Collective is right accross the street at at 1207 Bloor Street W; Haus is at 1265 Bloor Street West; Ping Pong is a little bit to the left at 1199 Bloor Street West; then Holly Oak when you get sleepy and Bloordale Pantry when you get hungry.

Again, you will love this!
A big old thank you to everyone who came out last night to celebrate with us! 

If you didn't manage to make it to the new shop, don't you worry- there is still a lot of great stuff for you to give to those special people on that long holiday list. Come by today between 12:00 pm and 7:00 pm and we can work through it together- I am full of great ideas and have a store full of great stuff! Necklaces, capes, zippies, t shirts, holiday sweaters...


1244 Bloor Street West 

Open today from 12:00 pm to 7:00 pm

You will love this!

I am ready for you! Come by the shiny new spot at 1244 Bloor Street West for all of your Christmas/holiday needs- be it your own, for the fancy parties you will be attending or a little something for someone on your list (the necklace pictured above, for example- brass hardware on buckskin lacing, $48). 

The Factory Store will be open from noon/seven both Friday/Saturday for your shopping convenience. 

See you there!
... at 1244 Bloor Street West, Toronto.
It has been a good week- the new shop is fully functioning with a point of sale machine and all kinds great clothing that I know you will love. If you have a girl on your holiday shopping list or a boy who needs a t shirt/ zippy, you should stop by Thursday/Friday/Saturday between 12 pm and 7 pm to take a look at what is on offer. Prices range from $38 to $108- check out the Sara Duke Factory Store before fighting your way through the malls.

And my I also suggest a all wool felt cape, $108, pictured below; perfect for cool nights in the spring, summer and fall and very perfect if you are going to a holiday party in a strapless dress and only have a parka to cover your shoulders.

If Thursday/Friday/Saturday 12 pm to 7 pm don't work for you- just let me know, sara@imadethisforyou.ca, and we can make a plan to get you in there at some other time.

Alright Public,

The new place is up and running- I will be opening up shop Thursday/Friday/Saturday noon to seven, I'd love for you to stop by:

1244 Bloor Street West
Between Dufferin and Lansdowne
North side of Bloor

For anyone familiar with the former location, this new place is a real step up- not only because it is right at street level, but it's huge. My factory is in the basement and the shop is it's own thing right in your face. You are going to love it! 

Sara Duke

The new shop at 1244 Bloor Street W is just days away from being open. For added hype, my capes have been blogged about! 


After French Connection and before Chanel is a great place to be!
Moving sale! 

Come on down to 589 Markham Street and help me make my move a little bit easier! I have put everything in the store on sale in an effort to pack up less stuff- come and visit between 10 am and 6 pm today!

I also have a pretty big pile of whatnot that is not coming with me to the new location- various fashion books and notions and such- that need a new home. 

See you soon! 

Promised pictures of the new work space 
...and a couple of things that I have been working on for the brand new awesome shop, 
opening soon right on Bloor Street! 



This is what you will see if you walk by and peek in the window of 1244 Bloor Street West- this is the Factory Store bit, a work in progress but opening very soon! 

imadethisforyou.ca for more info

But for tomorrow, you can find me at the regular Saturday place- 589 Markham Street- The Sara Duke Factory Store will be open from 10 am to 6 pm. See you then/there!

Hello Public,

I've missed you! Big things have been in the works... Capes, skirts, little zip- ups, all in great fabrics under the "I made this for you." Sara Duke label, even a brand new location! More information on that news (and pictures) coming this week.

But for today, you can find me at the usual Saturday place- 589 Markham Street- from 10 am to 6 pm at the Factory Store. 

See you there! 


Sara Duke
The weather has taken a snappy turn towards winter! That means sweater- may I suggest an if you see cake silk blend banger with a so so vintage patch lovingly sewn on by hand? Available now at the Sara Duke Factory Store, open today 10 am to 6 pm, 589 Markham Street.

Wonderful, things are wonderful- I have found a pair of boots that I can work with! 

I was in a Value Village (second hand store) and grabbed a perfectly lovely pair for just $7.99; I did a little test of the inner lining today but the cream wool felt that had set aside made me look like Santa Claws. More to come! Ya!

Please forgive the tardiness of this post- I have been out all day long looking for a rubber boot to convert into an awesome rubber boot.

It has been a tough go, let me tell you! The pony print bangers that I was swooning after don't seem to be available south of Bloor Street in my size and the stylish lower price point boots that are available at the mall do not accommodate the girth of my super running calves; said boots only passed a particular point, then puddled around my ankles (much too embarrassing to photograph, but feel free to picture it and snicker.)  

I did, however, come across an even more expensive rubber boot:

Behold! See by Chloe priced at $250.

The shop is open today! And just for Halloween, I have put together a table full of headpieces that I made for a photo shoot last year, priced to sell- might be the perfect thing to complete your costume! Come by and take a look-see: 589 Markham Street, 10 am to 6 pm.

See what happens when you look? I am trying to track down this very attractive pair of rubber boots from Canadian Tire in a size 7- they are pretty cute at $29.99! http://www.canadiantire.ca/search/search_results.jsp for more information.

Hunter Boots: I really want these boots. About three winters ago I also really wanted these boots; I looked into getting a pair then and they were $150 and just couldn't bring myself to spend the money. Then, this past Sunday, I hyped myself up and was going to do it. But still couldn't. 

I had a very interesting conversation with my best friend yesterday- the plan was to buy the inset sock for the winter with the Hunter logo on it and wear them with a pair of rain boots from any place. 

I looked into that yesterday and decided that the polar fleece sock priced at $39 was also not worth it- I think that I can do better. I am going to work on that, I think that I can do better, make a nicer pair of socks out of wool felt and buy that any rain boot from any place. Now, this might be one of those times where I spend a lot of time and energy making something that is an epic fail, but I will keep you posted with pictures and such...

Although fragrance is a little bit outside the boundaries of clothing, I am coming up on two years of owning two bottles of Channel n 5- one is a spray of eau do toilet (a lower concentration of fragrant oil, thus less expensive); the other is pure perfume (expensive!). 

Perfume is to be kept out of direct sunlight in a dry environment, so not the bathroom or on top of your dresser- and even under the best of conditions, they only really last two years.

(I have been called an old lady because of my affection for Channel n 5, but I just can’t help the love! This is the fragrance that launched the modern perfume and to this day, the flowers are grown on one particular farm, harvested and refined all in small town France. Love.)

This Saturday I will be at a wedding and will not be there to open up the shop- but I will be there and open this afternoon to make it up to you, 589 Markham Street.

Pictured above is me at my wedding 3 years ago this week- I made my own dress. I can make yours too. Please contact sara@imadethisforyou.ca for more information.
The amount of fabric that is turned under on a hem depends on the fullness of the garment.

A very straight hem, like that on the black cotton if you see cake skirt pictured above, can be turned up an endless amount- or 2” then another 2” which nicely weights the garment.

If the hem is straight, you can turn it up as little or as much as you like.

A full hem, like that on the gray tonal rose print velvet if you see cake dress pictured above, can only be turned up a little bit- for this particular styling ¼” then another ¼” worked best. 

Assess the fullness of the garment you are working with before you attempt an alteration- a very full hem that is turned under too much will buckle and look like a whole lot of terrible!

Both garments are available at the Sara Duke Factory Store Saturdays 10 am to 6 pm, by chance or by appointment anytime- please contact sara@imadethisforyou.ca for more information.
Earlier this fall, I posted about cutting the stay stitching on the vent of your new winter coat- please note this is one of my number one top super pet vexations about fashion! And, sadly, as the weather gets cooler, I see more and more stay stitches that are uncut walking around the city.

Let me take this space and time to remind you to cut that stay stitch out.

On a similar topic, and I should have mentioned this before, winter coats often come with a label that is sewn on to the outside of the sleeve. This tag MUST be removed before wear! Pictured above is an if you see cake label hand tacked onto a sleeve, just a visual, this is the kind of thing that has to be taken off.

This one is a little bit advanced but:

Vogue puts out these really great fitting patterns- basic shapes from which you can develop a very accurate block for yourself or for someone who might want you to make them a little something. Along with the paper pattern, detailed instructions are included addressing measurements, general pattern drafting and sewing techniques.

Grab the size that more or less fits your particular measurements, read through and follow all of the steps then make a quick mock up before getting down and designing- using an inexpensive medium weight woven, non stretch, stripe or plaid/check will show any fitting flaws.

A little bit pricy at $27.50 per envelope, however, Fabricland (www.fabricland.com) sells Vogue patterns at 50% off as far back as I can remember; pattern #1003 for pants and #1004 for a bodice and skirt.

Pins are for thick woven garments! A pin prick on something like a satin weave or into a knit might cause irreparable damage like runs or little holes. Oh no!

In fact, there are two different kinds of sewing machine needles for such particular fabrics- a sharp needle is for wovens where a ballpoint needle is for satins, knits and delicates. The sharp needle has a point which punctures the threads of a fabric; the ballpoint needle is blunt and finds the spaces between the threads of a fabric.

Pins include buttons, straight pins and safety pins- pictured above is a selection of vintage buttons available at the Sara Duke Factory Store on a vintage woven jean jacket. The shoppe is open on Saturdays 10 am to 6 pm, by chance or by appointment anytime- please contact sara@imadethisforyou.ca for more information.

Buttons are made a couple of ways- a shank button will have a loop of plastic, wood, metal or something that creates a bit of space for fabric when a garment is closed. A flat button has two or more holes- when applying (or, commonly, reapplying) a flat button to a garment, a shank must be created. This is accomplished by, after sewing in and out of the all button holes 2 times, winding the thread around the stitches at the base, creating a bit of a stand before tying off.

Most ready to wear clothing comes with extra buttons in a little baggy, or sew on the inside of the garment. If there are no extra buttons and you find yourself button shopping- please remember that buttons have their very own sizing, noted as L for ligne or French for line. Measuring diameter, 40 lignes is equal to one 1 inch.

Pictured above, buttons from my private collection.
Petite does not mean skinny in the fashion industry- petite sizing recognizes the differences in proportion on women who are under 5'4 tall- regular circumferences at the shoulders, bust, waist and hips, but a shorter distance between all of these markers.

Looking at the statistics, this should include most of us being that the average height of women in Canada is 5'3 and a bit. World wide, average height for women is about the same if you do not include Scandinavian countries where women tower over the rest of the world at about 5'6 on average. 

Visit a specialty store if  1.) You measure less the 5'4   2.) You find that your blazers and dress shirts bunch up around the waist in the front and back (caused by a short waist/long legs)   3.) You find the crotch of your pants is no where near your crotch (caused by a long waist/short legs)

Pictured above is Judy, built to represent standard proportions. The cross markings are of my own 5'1 frame at the bust, waist and hips. Although Judy and I are a similar girth, I am petite.

It is Saturday, it is sunny- what a perfect super open day! The Factory Store at 589 Markham Street will be all the way running from 10 am to 6 pm for your shopping convenience. Drop by and see what is on offer. If you have cool Thanksgiving related plans, I am around by chance or appointment during the week- please contact sara@imadethisforyou.ca.

Pictured above is a fabulous pair of earrings, designed and made extra super special for the shoppe by a local First Nations artist; glass beads.  

The Fashionary is a sleek little reference notebook that was made extra special for the fashion designer. It includes all kinds of information- measurement tools, a brand index, spec sheets, laundry label definitions- in the front and pages of sketchbook paper printed with the faint outline of a body form in the back.

It's pretty great- the only set back being that many of the body measurement charts are in metric and although a conversion chart is given, it takes math to change them into inches.

I have just received mine in the mail and am sitting down, putting pencil to paper- I thought that I might share this cool find with you; http://fashionary.org/ for more information.

One more note on fabric construction:
There is leather too. Leather is made by animals all by themselves :) Pictured above is a cow.

The last installment of fabric construction:

So we've got knits, woven and now felted garments. Felt is often made with just raw fibers as opposed to thread- neat, eh? So raw fibers are layered, then heat, water, pressure and mild agitation is used to tangle those fibers together. And, ta-da! Felt! 

Let us review- you can have a pull over sweater that is 100% wool because it is a knit; or a 100% wool pair of dress pants with a lovely straight waistband and fly front, maybe some pleats for fit; or even a fedora that is 100% wool that has been felted to fit you head. All of them wool, all different fabric constructions!

Pictured above is a wool jacket is from the "I made this for you."- Sara Duke Fall/Winter 2010 Northern Renaissance collection, shown at Harvard University in Boston last April; full mink pieces and vintage do-da detailing. This jacket and all other bits from the collection are available upon request from the Factory Store (589 Markham Street) on Saturdays 10 am to 6 pm, by chance or by appointment anytime- Sara@imadethisforyou.ca.

More about fabric construction:

Last time there were knits, now there are woven fabrics- these are jeans, jackets and dress shirts. Wovens do not stretch left to right or up and down, only on the bias (on an angle) unless some kind of stretchy fiber is added (spandex). This fabric is construction by tightly holding in place many many threads the length of the fabric (warp threads) and weaving many many other threads left and right (weft or filling threads). Fitted woven garments required functional closures like buttons and zippers.

Pictured above is an all the way black, all the way woven cotton if you see cake skirt with re appropriated vintage fur detail in the front and a functional exposed zipper detail in the back; grommeted twill tape tie. Available now at the shop on Saturdays 10 am to 6 pm, by chance or by appointment anytime- 589 Markham Street, Toronto, Ontario.

Please contact sara@imadethisforyou.ca for an appointment.  

There are a few different ways to construct fabric, let us review:

 Knits are constructed with a serious of loops in an incremental zig-zag formation. There are many different kinds of knits... don't worry about it- knit garments are stretchy and are used for the majority of today's clothing, just remember that mostly jersey is used. T shirts, underwear, socks, toques and sweaters are all knits; basically any garment that stretches to be pulled on, then retains it's shape during wear. Also, knits do not generally include functional closures such as buttons or zippers.

Pictured above is a project that is so so exciting! Silk, cotton blend knit sweater with an antique patch appliqued as a crest by hand (it takes hours). Some of the patches that were found date back to the early 1920's. Love!

Available soon at the "I made this for you." -Sara Duke Factory Store on Saturdays 10 am to 6 pm, by chance or by appointment anytime- 589 Markham Street, Toronto, Ontario.

Please contact sara@imadethisforyou.ca for an appointment.  

Pictured below are close up photos, a selection of the great great patches.


Hello there public, 

Alright, let's try this! I got some advice today that a blog is not really a blog unless I provide some space for feedback and comments. Here we go, let me know what you think about the content and if you have any fashion questions that you would like me to address.

Thank you!

Sara Duke

It is coming up on winter and one may notice that the back vent of that brand new winter coat has an X losely sewn at the bottom...
Cut it out! 

Often garments are shipped flat in boxes over long distances. This X, or stay stitch, is in place to ensure that the vent does not flip up and over during its long journey. Flippage would create a very nasty crease, given the inevitable changes in temperature and humidity, which would take all kinds of work to get out.

Same goes for welt pockets and pleats, remove the stay stitch before wear.

Pictured above is an illustration of vents and a little definition; and below, a diagram. Pretend that it's the back of that brand new winter coat...

It is Saturday #2- come find me at 589 Markham Street September 24th, 10 am to 6 pm; or by chance during the week; or by appointment anytime- please contact sara@imadethisforyou.ca.

To expand on the previous post, here is little bit more information about labels:

Removing labels from the back of a garment is understandable; despite efforts from the fashion design community, tags are scratchy. Scratchy because they are often sewn in with clear (or nylon) thread which has, because it is a filament fiber, sharp ends. It is necessary to use the correct instruments when removing a label- big dull kitchen scissors just won't do! Grab a pair of thread clippers, embroidery scissors or a seam ripper; small and sharp will insure that the correct threads are clipped. Nail clippers, eyebrow scissors or a box cutter will also work.

Take the time to do this job correctly because holes that occur somewhere on the garment as opposed to on the seam of a garment can not really be repaired nicely. Pictured above is a variety of acceptable tools for the job.

(Rant: labels annoy designers for a completely different reason- they must be designed, the design then sent to a supplier who always has a minimum orders of about $150 which means about 150 labels, which is a lot for a small fashion house, then they take 6 weeks to arrive, then they have to be sewn in... then the customer hacks them out with big dull kitchen scissors- a former boss of mine would call that a "make work" project.)

This post was inspired by a conversation with my wonderful husband.

He purchased a knit sweater and instantly cut the tag out, remarking that the hanger appeal was compromised by its application. It looked sloppy because the label was not sewn flush to the back of the top. There is a reason for this- knits have give and thus the label has to have a little give; it allows for the garment to be pulled on and avoids nasty little holes.

Pictured above is a stretch velvet dress with a totally awesome tonal rose print- the fabric can only really be described as "bad/good", a term that my contemporaries and I developed in fashion school to note that ugly can be wonderful. This dress, along with many other rad pieces of clothing, is available from the "I made this for you."- Sara Duke Factory Store (589 Markham Street) each and every Saturday between 10 am and 6 pm, or by chance or by appointment any time- please contact sara@imadethisforyou.ca.

Hello There,

I just wanted to use a bit of this space to send out a little note. Thank you to everyone who stopped by yesterday for Super Open Saturday- it was truly a super day!! Lots of people I recognized, lots of friends and lots of strangers stopped by- I met all kinds of really great people. I couldn't have asked for a better day.


Also, a very special thank you to my beautiful super model Sasha A. who was a great sport and modeled all of the new if you see cake fall product. She has been all over this blog all week and is pictured above. Thanks Sash!

So it is now official, the "I made this for you." Factory Store will be open every Saturday for the rest of my life, by appointment, or by chance. Let me know if you would like to stop by between Saturday at 6 pm and the following Saturday at 10 am, I will make sure to be there, just for you! Contact sara@imadethisforyou.ca for an appointment.

And now back to your regular blog posting.

Thanks for reading!


Sara Duke

Ta-da! I am ready for you. See you all 10 am for super open day! 589 Markham Street, lover level.


589 Markham Street, 10 am to 6 pm, the "I made this for you." -Sara Duke Factory Store will be having the grandest of grand openings, offering 25% off all brand spanking new if you see cake fall 2010 product. 
Fall in love! 
Follow the link and find out what other wonderful things are happening on Markham Street this Saturday