The Angels Followed Me to Mexico

As we hit the turning point of winter into spring, my heart gets excited for the long and warm days of a Manitoba summer. In an attempt to get through the days of icy sidewalks, leafless trees and pothole stricken spring roads of Winnipeg, I spent the last two weeks working with the fabrics I picked up while traveling in Mexico.

My first trip to Mexico took place back in 2010. With no planned itinerary or expectations of what to see, I allowed Mexico to reveal its magic to me.

And I fell in love with what it had to offer as I travelled the west coast of Puerto Vallarta and Guadalajara.

Initially my intention was only to window shop as I stepped off of the bus into the shopping district of Guadalajara…

but as I started to explore the area I discovered I had just found a little piece of heaven!

Not just one store, but an entire street specializing in all my creative needs!

Whole stores dedicated to yarn…

a store with a wall dedicated to zippers…

walls dedicated to buttons…

lace trim…

and ribbons.

I’d never seen anything like this before!

Locals gathering in the walking corridor of the shopping district. A community pulled together by the love of creating. *Smile*

It has been from this point on, that every time I visit Mexico, I search out the local fabric stores while traveling.

I’ve never found anything comparable to what Guadalajara had to offer, however I am always successful in getting a unique cultural experience as I search for my next textile souvenir to take home.

This week I have finally taken the time to make something with these treasured souvenirs.


I picked up seven 1.2m pieces of floral oil cloth back in 2010 in various designs and colours. The fabric is durable and maintains it’s shape despite being bent and pulled while sewing it under the sewing machine. I always had the intentions to make bags and wallets with the oil cloth, but got inspired by the thought of a colourful pannier for my newly painted bicycle! Another great way to prepare for summer!

This is what I came up with…

The pannier is one piece and straddles the bike rack on both sides. It’s attached to the bicycle via velcro straps to the front of the rack. It has a webbing handle to lift and carry the pannier.

Reflective strips on the back of the pannier.

Black polypropylene webbing edges the pannier for durability.

The pannier flaps are held down with adjustable straps and buckles for large and small loads and lined with a poly-cotton broadcloth.

Ready for running errands in the city! 

This is my first experiment with panniers and I hope to experiment with a few more styles through out the year with different fabrics and features.

I love functional, durable projects!

Next Week I am going to work on putting together a DIY Pattern Tutorial for these panniers. I’m really good at putting things together and adjusting as I go, but have always wanted to document in detail my projects that I have made. It makes the next time I visit the project so much easier! So in celebration of challenging myself with expanding my normal routines I am creating my first instructable pattern that I want to share with you my readers. Join me in my next blog entry as I share with you the in’s and out’s of making a pannier that you yourself can make! Summer is coming!


OILCLOTH is a vinyl fabric with a cotton mesh backing that is somewhat canvas-like and often features a printed design. The mesh backing makes it’s durable and the vinyl makes it waterproof and easy to clean. Often used in high-traffic areas such as a tablecloth, placemats, aprons, and bags of various sorts (toiletry, diaper, grocery).



CRINKLE RAYON is a flowing, lightweight and breathable fabric perfect for humid summer apparel. Often used for summer dresses or tops, bathing suit cover-ups, skirts and even scarves.


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