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Bean bag filling

Here at Livingstone Textiles we sell bean bag filling, which are the little polystyrene beads that make bean bags….. bean bags.

To source more of these Tom and Meg went to visit the factory in Birmingham last week to collect some more stock and see where they come from and how they package them up, which is you’ve ever dealt with these tricky little beads you will know is a nightmare. When they were there, they found the most enormous bean bag ever along with huge polystyrene blocks, here are some picture of Meg stood next to these giant things to give you an idea of the scale.

 

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Customer makes – Brilliant Bee Dress!

We love seeing what you all are making with our fabrics, it’s great to see the variety and the creativity that everyone has.

We have been sent these pictures by Debbie who has made this stunning dress from some of the fabrics found in our curtain and furnishings range, showing how versatile fabrics really can be, the limit is your imagination!

The sewing on this dress is so neat and the overall look is really effective so well-done Debbie!

Debbie has also been busy making another dress, from one of our cotton poplins, this dress has lovely summery look to it and again is brilliantly sewn.

 

If you have been busy making something from some of our fabrics and you’d like to share it with us, then please send us an email to people@livingstonetextiles.com with a photo attached. We love writing about the great thing you all get up to with fabrics.

 

 

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New In – Pure Wool

New in stock now, are these pure wools in three great colour ways, they are perfect for making skirts, jackets, bags and even curtains!

The colours are muted and subtle with a soft fade throughout to give a stripe effect. They are of a really high quality with a great feel and lovely drape.

Wool is such a warm and versatile fabric and really can be used to make almost anything and why wouldn’t you with these great colours available!

They are 144cm ( 56″) wide and are on sale at £26.50 per metre.

 

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No Business like ‘Sew’ Business

 

 

Bridport Arts Centre is all ready to kick off its Fashion Week event to celebrate fashion history, costume and the recent upsurge in the popularity of sewing.  Starting on Monday 4th March and running through to Sunday 10th March there is sure to be something to whet your appetite and inspire you to get your sewing machine out.  Livingstone Textiles is very proud to have been able to sponsor this event and during the week we will have a stand in the Arts Centre foyer where you can pick up information about our locations and the products and services we provide as well as a huge selection of fabric and haberdashery to choose from.

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The events consist of talks on pattern drafting, pattern reading, historical fashion and the influences of modern London fashion through the experienced eye of Saville Row tailor, author and tv presenter James Sherwood. Also visiting Bridport to talk about the Royal Wardrobe are the Curators of Bath Museum of Fashion. They will be explaining their current exhibition on modern royal fashion as well as the royal wardrobe of Queen Alexander, Princess Margaret, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother and our current Queen Elizabeth. Continuing the fashion history theme, Bridport museum will be giving a unique insight into their textile and costume collection dating back 150 years and Arts Centre Director Curtis Fulcher will be giving an informed talk on Tudors and Historical costume. Curtis is an experienced costume designer and maker and has made a couple of recreations to demonstrate his talk with questions. There are also a great range of films to watch about some of the greatest fashion designers that have ever lived and you can find more information about the whole weeks events here

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New Show Trims

We have an exquisite array of new trims now in stock at Livingstone Textiles that we picked up on our recent visit to the Stitches show in Birmingham.

Imported from India, they have an exotic feel about them and combine sumptuous velvets twisted with metallic threads to create a trim that can also be seperated out top use as individual motifs.

 

One of our favourites is the embroidered 3″ wide trim seen here in the top of the picture.  It has a distinctly Eastern European folk feel to it and would look authentic adorning any dance or national costume.  You can see more Boho trims that we have available here. 

Please message us through the website if you would like samples of any of our trims, we have a vast range in stock.

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Ceiling Mounted Tracks

We handmake beautiful soft furnishings at Livingstone Textiles and we are very proud of our products and services but did you also know that we supply and fit curtain poles and rails?

We have a selection of up to 3 metre long metal poles with brackets and finials in different colours to finish off your room.  We also supply and fit Roman Blind cassettes and curtain tracks.

Nowadays you can choose from a selection of plastic or metal tracks to suit your window or door, they can be bent around corners and you can even have ceiling mounted tracks to match in with the colour of your paintwork.  This means you can transform a bay window with a curved track, even curving it back around the reveal enabling you to hang a curtain that sweeps effortlessly around the bay but sits well away from the windows without taking light from the room.

Shown below are some pictures of a ceiling mounted track that we recently fitted from which to hang a draught excluding curtain with a thermal lining.   The curtain had to hang across a rear door to the property and a stairway so it was important that the curtain could be pushed back on either side as required.  The curtain was made from a heavy wool fabric and with the weight of the thermal lining as well it was quite a substantial curtain.  However it was no problem for our mini professional curtain track as it’s made from strong and durable metal and once secured in place it can easily bear the weight of heavier fabrics.

For more information on pole, rail, blind and track fitting contact us here.

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Stitches Show News

Some of the Livingstone Textiles staff had an exciting day out as we headed up to Birmingham at the weekend to look at all the new products being launched this year.

There are some superb new fabrics available from our Reps and we’ve chosen some bright and exciting designs to stock in the shop in the coming months.

***STOP PRESS***

We also have a very exciting announcement to make…………..

Many of you already know that we sell a great range of wool and knitting patterns plus all of the accessories at our Yeovil shop and its all proved to be very popular with our customers.  We do frequently get asked for it in our Bridport shop as well and so we have listened to you and decided to stock some gorgeous knitting and crochet yarns in our Bridport shop now too!

The yarn we will be stocking comes in an array of beautiful colours and has a nice handle, being made from acrylic it will wash really well and its light twist means that is strong but still really soft and plump.

We’ve also chosen a range of excellent books with a very distinct ‘Bridport feel’ about them so here is a sneak preview.

We’ll be announcing the stock arrival on Facebook so watch this space…………………………

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Elegant Linen Voiles

Laura, one of our curtain makers and Lynne our track and pole fitter have just finished dressing the patio doors in this elegant dining room.

The Rennaisance mini professional track is excellent as a discreet wall mounted curtain track and can also be used as a ceiling mounted track.  The curtain hook fittings glide effortlessly along and it is extremely strong, making it suitable for heavierweight curtains, even with thermal and blackout linings.  It is also available in other colours to match in with your decor should you wish it.

The unbleached Russian linen chosen by the customer was made into unlined curtains to act as a screen against brilliant sunshine and to protect a collection of beautiful old maps and pictures.

We think you’ll agree that the effect is clean and natural and will look even better in the daytime with light filtering through the weave.

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Practical, stylish ticking stripes

Ticking never goes out of fashion, especially as we have it in so many colourways. Whether you’re minimalist, rustic, or going for a maritime theme; whether it’s for blinds, curtains or cushions ticking fabric will fit right in.

For some creative inspiration, follow the link to see how Laura, one of our curtain makers, used ticking to line some charming curtains for a shepherd’s hut. It contrasted perfectly with the scandi trees show fabric, and the curtains look gorgeous! So if you feel you have a great home furnishing idea but don’t feel confident to make it yourself, at Livingstones you can have curtains, cushions, blinds and more hand made and hand finished by our makers, who can be as creative as you want them to be.

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Recycled fabric

 

With the multiple threats to our environment from pollution and consumerism, the need to reuse and recycle has never been greater. There are many ways to recycle plastic bottles and other plastic waste, but luckily for us, transforming it into usable yarn for weaving fabrics is one of the most efficient ones! Of course, we also demand that fabric produced in this way is beautiful and useful too, which is why we’ve chosen to stock this lovely new fabric woven from  fibres cleverly created from 100% recycled plastic waste, keeping it out of our oceans for a much more useful life as furnishings in our homes.  It’s strong, good to handle and in modern, neutral tones. This fabric comes in a useful double width of 280cms/108 inches wide, and has a pleasing textured and flecked finish.

 

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Thermal Door Curtain

We had to make a door curtain to cover a rear door that was situated at the bottom of a staircase and creating a cold draught in the main living room of this home. A number of fabrics had been mixed by the customer to create a comfortable country living look so we had to find a fabric that didn’t fight with the rest of the colour scheme.  After careful consideration of fabric books and several swatches the customer settled on this fabic by Isles.  The Dove grey colour really softens that corner of the room while complimenting the colour scheme of blues and being made of wool it has thermal qualities that keep the room warmer.  The customer also decided on a thermal lining to eliminate any cold air passing through the cloth and this has made it look very thick and luxurious whilst doing exactly the job intended.  Isles Harris can be purchased from Livingstone Textiles and we can send out samples of any colour in the series.

 

 

 

 

 

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How to apply roller blind backing

When you think of roller blinds they are mostly plain and pretty boring or the patterns that are available aren’t quite right for what you want. Although we don’t make roller blinds we are do stock roller blind backing which is an iron-on fabric that you apply to the back of your chosen lovely fabric, transforming it from standard floppy fabric into stiffened fabric ready for your roller blind cassette! Unfortunately we don’t stock the roller blind cassettes, so you will need to source one for this (they can easily be found online).

Here is our step by step guide to applying the roller blind backing:

Tools you will need:

  • Show fabric for your blind
  • Roller blind backing fabric
  • Steam iron
  • Large clean surface that you can iron onto
  • Pen/pencil
  • Tape measure
  • Set square (to ensure corners are right angles)

Step 1: How much fabric?

For the show fabric you will need, for the width, the exact width of the finished blind plus an additional 2cm (1″) and for the length you will need the length of the finished blind plus 30cm (12″). For the roller blind backing you will need to allow and additional 2cm (1″) across the width and again an additional 30cm (12″) to the finished length.

Step 2:

Place your roller blind backing down on a flat, clean surface (needs to be suitable to iron onto later) and measure out the required size of your blind plus the additional measurements above, drawing this onto the roller blind backing. Use your set square to make sure your corners are at 90 degrees otherwise your finished blind will look wonky! Now cut out the shape you have just drawn, from the backing.

Step 3:

Position the now cut backing onto your fabric piece (note you have not cut the show fabric at all yet). The fabric should be facing down (wrong side up) and the backing should be glue side down (this is the slightly shiny side). When positioning the backing on the fabric you should consider the pattern placement (if applicable) try to get the pattern central and check that the top /bottom of the blind will work well with the pattern.

Step 4:

Now your fabric and backing are all lined up you can begin ironing. Set your iron to as hot as the fabric will take and begin ironing from the centre of the blind backing working outwards in circles ensuring you go right up to the edges. You will need to press and hold the iron down firmly and apply steam. To ensure that all of the backing has stuck down properly look at the fabric from a low angle to show up any bubbles that may still be there. If this is the case then use the iron to push these bubbles out to the edge of the fabric so that the air can be released at the edge ( think of it like applying a screen protector to a smart phone in this sense).

Step 5:

Now you are able to cut the show fabric and the backing down to the correct size that you want the finished blind to be at the edges, these should be well stuck down because of the extra 1cm either side that was allowed. You will still need to leave the allowed 30cm (12″) at the top as this will be the part that will sit inside of the cassette to secure the blind. You may also want to attach a weighted bar to the bottom of the blind (this should come in the kit) so the 30cm (12″) should allow for this.

Your fabric is now ready to be fitted to the cassette!

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Winter Hares

One of the staff from Livingstone Textiles in Bridport saw a hare in a field on the Dorset Coast Road this morning.  It was very still but its brown colour and long ears stood out against the drab green of the field and it was just quietly watching.  We like to have that morning chat when we all come in to work while we go about opening up and making a brew and it got us to thinking about some of the really special faabrics we’ve had in over the past couple of years.  Being a shop in a rural town we notice that our customers seem to like hares as much as we do so we thought we’d share a couple of really special fabrics that we’ve had in recently.

All of these are still available in our shops and we also have a couple available to order from our website.

 

 

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Dragonfly Bag Accessories

We are so excited to share our new range of bag accessories with you.

Many of you come into the shop with your gorgeous bag creations and over the past twelve months we have focussed on expanding our range of straps and webbing tapes to give you more choice when matching your fabrics to the handles you need.

We also stock D rings in a couple of sizes and some adjusters as well but we have now arranged for you to be able to purchase whole sets of rings, adjusters and sliders in two sizes available in gold or nickel.  Howeve our current favourites are these anodised accessories, also available in two sizes.  Their irridescence is really beautiful and they will certainly be a talking point on any of your creations because they are very unusual.  We’re calling them the Dragonfly range and we also have cute thread scissors in this finish as well.

Beautiful thread snips

Pop in and ask us to show you what we have available and bring your project in too, we love helping you to choose something special that works with your fabric.

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Miss Haversham

 

Miss Haversham is looking rather spectacular in her Burns attire. Draping a couple of metres of tartan as a shash will add elegance and authenticity to any evening dress you are sporting for the occasion.

Miss Havershams outfit is inspired by Simplicity pattern number 8285.

 

 

 

We also love pattern 2172 and this video shows you how to make this magnificent coat.  There is also a fabulous skirt that can be worn with it.  Follow the link for more information on making these patterns.  We stock the whole range of Simplicity patterns at our shops and you can select some stunning damasks and velvets from our soft furnishing cloths.  We have an entire room dedicated to fancy dress fabrics, ranging from dreamy two tone organzas to bi stretch copper lurex so you can create a totally individual look.  Follow our pinterest board for more ideas.

 

 

 

 

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Sofa Refill

We’ve all done a fair bit of sofa surfing over the Christmas period and you may not have been entirely happy with the comfort afforded you.  Some of you may have even bought a new settee in time for Christmas but may discover that the bounce in your cushions isn’t really all that great.

Foam has a shelf life and although it will last many years, eventually it will start to deteriorate and crumble and you will need to think about replacement cushions.

Many manufacturers of synthetic sofa cushions now also use only a thick wadding in the covers.  A sofa with foam inserts will not be bought at a discount sofa sale because they cost a lot more to produce.  Your wadding cushions will seem fine for a few weeks but very quickly you will notice that they sag and squash into nothing because the polyester will not bounce back to its original shape.  To rectify this we offer a bespoke service that will make your old or new settee bounce back in to life. We cut foam exactly to the size and shape of the cushion cover and then wrap it in thick wadding.  In this way you get all of the bounce and shape retention from the foam with the addition of softness and comfort from the wadding.  To finish up we wrap the whole squashy sandwich in stockinette for easing your cushions back into the covers – without a hot sweaty battle.

Is your foam still ok but your covers are looking a little tired?  Pop in and talk to us about renewing your existing sofa, especially if it is an inherited or memorable piece. We offer a full and bespoke upholstery and re-cover service from our workshops in The Long Room at Livingstone Textiles,Bridport Dorset.

If you would like information on sofa cushions please contact us and we will be happy to give advise or a quote.

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What happens on Burns Night?

 

 

Burns Night is annualy celebrated in Scotland on the 25th of January and celebrates the works of the great poet Robert Burns.  It is also now frequently observed in other parts of the United Kingdom by native Scots and those who appreciate the heritage of Scotland.   Robert Burns was born on January 25th 1759 which is why Burns night is celebrated on this day.  He died in 1796 and his best known work is probably “Auld Lang Syne” which is traditionally sung at midnight on New Years Eve or Hogmanny. He is known in Scotland as “The Bard”

Many families and friends enjoy getting together on Burns Night to share a supper of Haggis, Neeps and Tatties with Whisky as the preferred tipple.  You can find out more about Haggis here.  During the evening poetry written by Robert Burns is recited, sometimes Scottish songs are sung and then the Haggis is traditionally ‘piped in’ by a Bagpipe player in full Scottish dress where it is toasted on arrival at the table.  At Burns night events many men choose to wear kilts and women might wear a shawl, skirt, sash or dress made from their family tartan.  A tartan is a cloth made of wool woven in a distinctive check pattern using different colours across the warp and the weft and clans have their own distinct patterns that have been replicated over centuries, often nowadays in more modern blends of viscose and polyester as well as in wool.

If you are attending a Burns Night event you can choose from the range of bright new tartans at Livingstone Textiles to create a sash or shawl over your evening attire, we don’t have much online but their are lots to choose from in house.  We also stock some colourful tartan ribbons to dress your hair or add interest to a plain dress, pop in to either of our shops to browse our collections.  We also think that it’s a great idea to host a kids Burns Night event where you can get them involved with the reading of poetry and maybe using a recorder to pipe in a haggis that they’ve helped to prepare.  They could make a Scottish flag to hang up or could colour in place settings using some of the words in the poems of Burns.  For more inspiration and ideas for a special childrens event visit https://www.activityvillage.co.uk/burns-night

 

 

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We Are Haberdashers

 

Here at Livingstone Textiles we like to supply you with the best quality products at the most competitive prices we can find.  We know that many of you love the Prym range and there are hundreds of haberdashery products available from this company, all beautifully packaged and presented.

We also stock an excellent range of products by a UK based company called Whitecroft.  The Whitecroft Essentials range is a collection of products that we stock for knitting and sewing.  We concentrate on basic stock lines such as sewing needles, pins, machine needles, poppers, fur fasteners and hook & eyes.  We also keep embroidery hoops, knitting pins and crochet hooks in stock having seen a great revival in wool based crafts over the past decade.

Whitecroft have been supplying wholesalers for over a century and as a retailer working in the textiles trade for over 47 years in the same premises, we know that we can rely on the quality, the supply and the price of Whitecroft Essentials to all be consistant.   Many of our customers are now coming in with third generation sewers and knitters which is a wonderful thing.  We also have customers who tell us that they remember coming into the shop with a parent or aunt and they love how we haven’t changed very much over the years.  Like Whitecroft, we focus on the basics, good quality products at affordable prices and above all else, in an increasingly competitive online environment we pride ourselves on customer care and satisfaction.

The New Year and cold winter evenings are an ideal time for sitting down and sorting out your sewing tin or box.  Pop in and top up on your basics the next time you’re in Yeovil or Bridport, we’d love to see you and help you re-stock.

 

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Job Vacancy

Job Opportunity

Self Employed Handy Person

Livingstone Textiles are looking for a part-time self-employed handy person to work at clients’ homes/businesses fitting curtain poles and tracks.  This position will suit someone who can work accurately on their own initiative.  Area covered is mostly South Somerset, you will need your own transport.

Call Nicky Cooke on 01935 422631 for more information.

 

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Sewing machine repairs

Maybe you’re thinking about joining one of our sewing workshops in Yeovil and haven’t used your machine in a while, or maybe your trusty workhorse is struggling with your latest sewing project? If so, don’t get mad, get a service!

All makes of machine are serviced or repaired by our talented repairs man Mark. He travels over from Bristol once a month or so, to tend to your ailing machines, and in most cases will fix them on site and on the day. He will repair overlockers too.

For an initial deposit of £10 (non-refundable) Mark will initially check that the machine is serviceable. The charge for a service is  an additional £49.90 and if any parts are needed, Mark will give you a ring before spending any more of your money.

Mark services the machines at our Bridport store, but you can drop off and collect your sewing machine at Bridport or Yeovil.

If your machine is unfortunately deemed unrepairable, you have the option to donate it to Tools for Self Reliance – we also accept donations of working, unwanted machines for this fantastic charity at both of our stores.

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Sewing workshops

We’re really excited about our new programme of sewing workshops, starting this month at our Yeovil store, so if you’re ready to blow away the Christmas cobwebs and learn something different, or improve your sewing techniques, get booking! All our courses give you the chance to learn new skills on your own sewing machine, so that you don’t have to waste time on the day learning how a different machine works, so please make sure you have a working sewing machine available to bring with you on the day.

The workshops are taught by the talented Lynn Horniblow, and cover a range of useful sewing skills; you can learn to get to grips with your sewing machine and use it to its full potential,  master the more fiddly details of sewing, or learn a whole new skill like crochet, or machine patchwork. All our workshops run from 10am to 4pm and cost £45 for the day. tea and coffee are provided, you just need to bring your lunch.

Places are limited, so please pop into our Yeovil store, or phone up to book your place 0n 01935 422631. Payment is needed upon booking.

 

 

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Vintage Patchwork Quilt

This beautiful patchwork was constructed in Wales and gifted to a friend in the 1970’s.
The hexagons are very clearly Laura Ashley cotton dress fabrics from that period and have been beautifully hand pieced together using a technique known as English Paper Piecing or EPP, to create a double bedspread.  One of our makers was asked to remove the nylon bedsheet that had been used as a backing and to replace it with something more suitable.

She decided that a plain white cotton sheeting would look the most fitting as a backing fabric as it compliments the blue and white design of the patchwork top.  She also created a thicker quilt by adding a layer of batting between the top and the sheeting.  The batting used is our Warm & Natural needle punched cotton and it is a completely natural product that does not seperate or bunch up.  It can be machine washed and because the fibres are pure cotton, the needle can pass through the layers quickly and easily when quilting by hand or machine.

The batting can be purchased from either of our shops or you can order it by ringing us and we will ship it out to you the same day.  This product is not currently available to buy on our webshop but we are happy to send out free samples on request.  We stock both cotton and polycotton sheeting in plain black, white and royal blue and can also mail out samples and whole pieces.  We have a few more colours to choose from in the poly cotton.  The quilt was made using an unconventional method where the layers were placed right sides together along with the cotton batting and then bagged out through a gap left in the top.  The gap was carefully top stitched together then the centre of the quilt was marked.  The Hexagon that fell in the centre of the patchwork was then hand quilted followed by random other hexagons.  In this way the quilt could be enjoyed very quickly as a coverlet but added to at any time our seamstress wanted to do a little hand sewing.  And of course January is the perfect time for disappearing under a mountain of fabric layers to quilt on a winters evening.

If you would like to learn more about patchwork and quilting, or just take some basic sewing lessons then have a look at the classes we will be running over the next few weeks.