Bitching and stitching at the Irish Design House

One thing I’ve wanted to learn for ages is how to sew, I had images of a few classes and viola, professional seamstress! Alas that was NOT the case, but I did learn the basics of pattern design, sewing AND I made a pretty nifty tote bag.

Our Bitch and Stitch group was the brain child of Sinéad at the Irish Design house. Sinéad, (who by the way has the patience of a saint) led a group of 6 novice sewers and took them right through the process of learning to sew.  Due to time constraints we decided to start small and create tote bags, Sinéad led us through the process from drawing up a pattern to producing a bag.


We met at The Irish design house for 3 sessions, most of us had never threaded a needle and one or two had tinkered around on a sewing machine. It wasn’t long till the chats were flowing. It was unreal how all the girls immediately were helping one another out, in both sewing and in settling into Toronto life.

The classes took place out the back of the Irish Design house, in a huge workspace, wall to wall with materials, drawings and machines. Sinéad has an impressive collection of sewing machines and really knows the quirks and tricks of each. She let us all get a feel for the machines and gave us ample time to play around and practice the stitches we’d just been taught.  We  were given plenty of time to work and by the end of each class, even though we had ran late I’m sure a few of us would have worked on.

The course cost $115 and included all materials. Just incase you need any more incentive to join a Bitch and Stitch group, sewing may be good for your heart!
A clinical study commissioned by the Home Sewing Association (HSA) reveals that women who sew – both skilled as well as novice sewers — experience a significant drop in heart rate, blood pressure, and perspiration rate when compared to women who participate in other leisure-time activities. Heart rate, blood pressure, and perspiration rate are three key factors in the measurement of stress. The study’s results appear to indicate that sewing helps women to relax while they focus on a creative activity. Not bad for a evenings craic 🙂

For more details Contact Irish Design House

Check out the Bitch and Stitch Facebook Group

Thanks for hosting Sinéad and for the photos!

Sinéad (not from THE IDH 😂)  Xx




Must see: The most offensive T-shirt ever

With Valentines over and lent beginning, there is only one thing on my mind…. Saint Patricks day!

It’s great to see the slew of green paraphernalia in the dollar stores around the city, as well as the new and inventive clothing to identify you as being Irish.

Some stores however just don’t get it, take Target for example who thought that this was an appropriate item to have on their shelves.

Nice one Target

Nice one Target

The offending t-shirt was spotted by an Irish American and Police Officer Shaun McCann.

Most offending shirts portray the Irish as drunken, fighting louts, leprechauns or a combination of all three! However this garment offended on a whole other level, by adhering to the British viewpoint that the northernmost six counties are not part of the island of Ireland, so they simply left them out. To add further insult the shirt had a four leaf clover, in place of the actual symbol the Shamrock.

Upon seeing part of his ancestral home missing, Shaun did what any proud Irish American would do; he complained to the store manager. He explained why the shirt offended him and the possible consequences of keeping it on the shelves of the store. The manager of that particular Target, which serves a large population of Irish Americans, decided to advise his regional manager of Shaun’s complaint. Who decided to pull the t-shirt off the shelves!!

Well played Shaun McCann.

If you are in the market for a non naff t-shirt celebrating your heritage, check out The Irish Design house. They have their Craic Dealer t shirts back in stock. Available in light Grey and charcoal in sizes S to XL.

I know what i'll be wearing come Saint Patrick's day :)

I know what i’ll be wearing come Saint Patrick’s day 🙂

Have you spotted any offensive t-shirts; If you do, don’t be afraid to speak up like officer Shaun.


The Irish Design House – A Touch of Home in Toronto

We went to check out the newly opened Irish Design House recently and ended up coming away with a very serious case of ‘I want, I want, I want’.


The intention was to pop in & have a quick browse…an hour later, we were still admiring the wide array of high end crafts and fashions from back home.

Located at 756 Queen Street East (just hop off the streetcar at Queen & Broadview and it’s a short walk from there), the Irish Design House is a treasure trove of beautiful Irish pottery, jewellery, clothes, furniture and accessories.


Owners Sinead Clarke (a Cavan woman) and her boyfriend Benny Corrigan (from Co. Meath), only made the move to Toronto a year ago but quickly spotted a gap in the market and decided to open a place that brought a touch of home to the big city.


A graduate of the Limerick School of Art and Design, Sinead has her own knitwear label, EssenC and works on her designs in a studio located at the back of the store.


Here is a selection of some of the gorgeous pieces produced by the very talented Sinead. The cute, unique headbands and handwarmers are the perfect (and practical) knitted accessories for the winter which we all knowing is coming!






Other brands that you will find at the Irish Design House include Ana Faye bags from Sligo, Fisherman Knitwear from Donegal, Brookwood Pottery from Dublin, Moth to a Flame candles from Kilkenny, traditional aran sweaters, gem-stone costume jewellery, laser cut decorations and accessories.

We weren’t joking when we said we want one of everything!





Coming to a new country, finding a job and a place to live is a big enough challenge for most people, so a big tip of the hat to Sinead and Benny for going that extra mile and starting a business.

Please drop in to say hi If you are in the neighbourhood. You won’t be disappointed and might even get a few of the Xmas pressies sorted too ( yes, we know its not even October but it’s never to early to start the Xmas shopping!)

You can also check out the Irish Design House on Facebook, here:

And keep an eye for their website launching soon!

To see more pics of the goods from the Irish Design House, check out our Instagram –