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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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Velvets now available on our Website

A beautiful range of Velvets that carry a soft sheen are now available to order on our website,for just £19.50 per metre (excluding shipping fees).  These 100% polyester velvets are 140 cms width, and have a gorgeous soft touch and luxurious semi-matt texture. They’re suitable for curtains, cushions and domestic upholstery, and with a range of colours large enough to match any room scheme, would be a fantastic way to add a touch of luxe to your home.

If you’d like to see the full range of  colours the hanger can be borrowed for a small deposit or we can send you samples.

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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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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.

 

 

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10 % Discount on Christmas Fabrics!

We’re very excited to offer our customers a 10% discount across all of our Christmas fabrics until the end of January 2019.

We still have some beautiful timeless designs in stock that you can now pick up at a great price and squirrel away ready for next autumns projects.  Now is also the time to come and browse our extensive collection of craft books too.  You can spend a little time with yourself and get acquainted with a new project for the cold months ahead.

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Happy New Year!

Whether you’re just starting out on your sewing journey, have just moved to the Bridport area and are hunting down new soft furnishings or need some advice on a current project we are looking forward to seeing old and new faces in 2019.  Our normal shop opening hours are now resumed: Mon-Sat 9-5. Closed Sundays.

You can also browse and shop a good selection of our vast fabric stock online here and we have even more in our two shops at Manor Stables Yeovil and St Michaels Lane, Bridport.

See you all soon 🙂

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Fancy Dress Fabrics – New Years Eve

It’s neary the end of 2018 and time to think about those New Years Eve parties…and your outfit!

What better way to celebrate the end of this year and to welcome in the start of 2019 than all dressed up in fancy dress. We have a huge range of fancy dress fabrics and the limit to your costume possibilities is only your imagination!

If you’re struggling to think of an outfit idea then we have our New Look and Simplicity pattern books with pleanty of costume patterns to choose from. With fabrics ranging from crazy colured fux fur to glitzy sequins and sparkly metalic look fabrics even pirate like stripes you can transform yourself into anything or anyone.

There are of course more glamorous party outfits that can be made if costumes aren’t your thing.

We are open between Christmas and New Year for those last minute ideas if you don’t manage to make it in before Christmas, to see our opening times over the festive period please click here.

 

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7 Simple Eco friendly makes

With the climate change, burning of fossil fuels and the mountains of plastic we are using and discarding daily, sometimes without knowing (it’s in everything even tea bags!) the planet is really suffering and is in desperate need of a helping hand from us! With changes from everyone needed now more than ever here are a few simple makes that are easy to do and will go towards helping out planet earth. Most of these makes will also save you money as you wont need to keep buying new items just to throw them away after use.

Single-use has recently been named the word of the year by Collins dictionary, which indicates how relevant this has become this year.

via GIPHY

1 – Waxed cotton food wraps

No more need for cling film or plastic bags , these are easy to make at home and can be made out of most cotton fabrics. We have a huge range of dress and craft weight cottons which are perfect for making these with so you can choose from almost any design or style you can think of!

We have even helped out Damers first school in making these back in July, for more details on these wraps and how to use them check out their great work here!

2 – Sandwich keeper

Cut out the need for single use plastic sandwich bags and plastic packaging (if you cheat and get a shop bought sandwich), instead take your lunch with you in style! What’s even better about this is that it doubles up as a place mat when opened so you can eat your lunch anywhere out and about and know you’ve got a clean surface to eat from and also a handy crumb catcher! It is machine washable for when the outside gets grubby but for day to day use you can wipe clean the inside with soapy damp cloth, then rinse.

I made this one earlier in the year and I haven’t needed to buy sandwich bags since, saving money and cutting out a little more plastic.

3 – Shopping bags

We have nearly all got used to the idea of carrying around a shopping bag with us to avoid using plastic bags. I find that you can almost never have enough of these as they always come in handy for something. Simple tote bags that fold up to nearly nothing so that they fit neatly into your pocket or handbag or even just to live in the boot of your car or around the house for that time when you need them.

We have a huge range of sturdy fabrics in stock with lots of colours and designs to choose from to make these handy bags. The best thing about making these bags yourself is that you can make these bags big or small, simple and straight forward or you can add pockets and compartments to keep things separate, decorate the outside with embroidery or motifs to jazz it up a bit, the possibilities are endless! Also, in stock we have cotton, polyester or acrylic webbing available which is perfect for making the handles of these bags and makes it super simple.

4 – Fruit and veg bags

These can be simple draw string bags to keep your fruit and veg separate from other shopping, muslin or net fabrics are great for these. These can also help keep your fruit and veg good for longer as they don’t sweat and stay damp like they do in plastic.

5 – Using string/ twine or ribbon instead of sticky-tape for wrapping Christmas presents

Why not use decorative ribbon or even some hessian twine to secure your presents this year. These will give your presents a whole different look and add something special, while at the same time reducing the amount of single use plastic being used this Christmas as you won’t need to use sticky-tape.

6 – Baby/wet wipe alternatives- terry towelling, fluffy fleece, cotton

Baby wipes get used in their hundreds of thousands each day and the majority of these are, again, plastic based which means they just stay like they are for years and years after their single use. There are loads of reusable alternatives that you can try making, including using fluffy fleece, terry towelling or just simple cottons as the base for the wipes these are used along with your chosen cleaning mix, which is usually a simple mix of skin friendly liquids not harsh chemicals (e.g. baby oil, tea tree oil etc) but there are lots of others to choose from. This might take a little research to perfect the best ones but will reduce the amount of single-use wipes used and so will be more friendly to the environment and your baby’s bum.

7 – Sanitary towel alternatives

Sanitary pads can be replaced with reusable cotton pads, with no nasty plastics in sight. We are happy to supply Cosy pads with the fabric to create their own version of reusable sanitary towels click here to check them out. Or you can come in and see us to choose your own fabrics and give making your own a go.

 

 

 

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Roman Blinds in Autumn

This beautiful new fabric from one of our regular suppliers is a celebration of autumn depicting leaves and berries in vibrant jewel colours.  Made up into a pair of Roman blinds they will compliment our client’s dining room windows and tell a story of the seasons swinging from an English summer into autumn.

This cotton fabric in the featured Rust colourway can be purchased in our shops for only £20.90 per metre, or see below to order online.  We also offer a full make up service with our skilled seamstresses.

 

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Digital Textile Printing

Digital Textile Printing is an exciting new way of designing and creating all kinds of fabrics.  It is the technology of printing designs onto fabric directly from a computer with no other steps involved in the process.

* A Design is Created

* Design is placed in Repeat

* Design is Printed directly onto fabric

The processes involved in digital printing are far cleaner, faster and more cost effective than conventional screen printing.  Cloth is normally pre-treated to hold the dye fast, to enable quality control and to achieve truer colours.  Some of the inks used may also need a post treatment such as steaming or heating to set the ink and keep it from fading or bleaching out in sunlight.

The concept of digital printing opens up many new opportunities for designers, artists, merchandisers and sales personnel because it is fast, efficient and cost effective.  Without the need to create a fresh screen for every new artwork, a designer can print:

* Small pieces or large rolls

* Garments & Apparell

* Flags & Banners

* Samples

* Interior Design Fabrics

To create a digital fabric, a designer will create sample tiles with a graphics tablet or another software programme such as Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop.  They design by selecting available digital inks to create swatches in a digital library.  They will then use a drawing programme to sketch out a design and then infill colour using the selected swatches from their colour library.  The drawn and coloured design tile is then placed in repeat and saved as a pdf.  This resolution is then set to the designers preferred printers requirements using another programme, leaving the designer with a print ready file of their artwork that can be uploaded directly to their printing company, printed onto a fabric and then posted back in a matter of days.

We have some really beautiful digital prints at Livingstones, we all love this new technology because it can convey the delicate washes of watercolour as well as heavier art techniques like oils and acrylics.

The Poppy design featured above has proved very popular as has the Paintsplash velvet and the vibrant Hummingbird.  See below for more digital fabrics that are currently available to purchase on our website.

 

 

 

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Designer fabric ends

We’ve recently taken delivery of a consignment of designer fabric ends (short lengths of fabric around 2m) so pop down to our stores in Bridport or Yeovil to choose some of these lovely fabrics for yourself before it’s all gone!

These are high-end fabrics, perfect for small upholstery projects, cushions or even a roman blind. These luxury fabric pieces are individually priced and guaranteed to save you money on the RRP. Perfect if you want something a little different to adorn your home.

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Gorgeous Giverney

Watercolours in Digitally Printed Fabrics

 

We’ve not had this new range in for long but it’s already proved incredibly popular.  We’ve made up a lot of orders for our customers and it’s continues to be a popular choice for scatter cushions.  Our latest order was for this pair of curtains using two widths in each curtain so they’ll be lovely and full.  We don’t advise anything less than double fullness so you achieve a more luxurious window dressing and you can find out more about calculating your fabric requirements here.  Of course, if you’re not confident with that then any of our trained staff are on hand to help you either in person, over the phone or via email.

We’ve used the Camille range in this project and the colourway is Pervenche.  The designs are evocative of watercolours by the Impressionists and have a softness to the printing that mimics a real painting.  This is all achieved with the digital printing process and we’ll be telling you more about that in the future.  A wider range of designs, colours and fabric uses are shown below.

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Cosy and stylish winter-weight curtains

Long, dark evenings call for cosy curtains, and these beauties that one of our talented makers recently finished for customer certainly fit the bill! The stylish woven fabric is deliciously heavyweight and hangs beautifully, adding warmth to your room without feeling oppressive. We have this fabric and others in the same range, including  a fabulous circles design, which we all like very much.

Pop in and have a look at the range, pick up some samples, or order some curtains of your own! This fabric is also suitable (and fabulous) for cushions and sturdy enough to use for upholstery.

 

 

 

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Advent calender packs

With the start of advent, and Christmas, fast approaching there is just enough time to get your advent calendar kits and make your very own calendar.

We have a choice of two lovely festive designs available. We have made these up into packs for you with everything you need to make your own, including simple step by step instructions. We also have these available as just the panels of fabric if you would like to use different bindings and backings etc.

 

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Beautiful new fabric hangers

It’s always fun to unpack a box at Livingstones, especially when it’s full of beautiful new fabric hangers to put on display for our lovely customers! All of these beauties arrived recently, so remember to take a look at the fabric on hangers and in books next time you’re thinking about furnishing fabrics – there’s a world of choice, and you can borrow your favourites to take home and mull over for a tiny £10 deposit, which is given back when you return the hangers. We can always make up curtains and roman blinds to your specification so you get the exact result you need for a perfect finish to your room.

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Cozy New Fleece Designs

We’ve just got some gorgeous new fleece designs in and they’re super soft!

Lots of new designs are available for snuggly projects and some are reversible.  We’ve even got a couple that feature a different design on each side and the wonderful thing about fleece is that it needs absolutely no hemming at all, making it perfect for quick and easy projects like scarves, hats and ponchos.  Its competitive price means that you can make some quick and easy handmade christmas gifts without breaking the bank.

 

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Christmas fat quarters

 

 

We’ve had fun putting together these lovely fat quarter bundles, and they’re not just for quilters! With Christmas approaching fast, take a look at our fat quarters next time you’re in the shop – you might find that a usefully sized square of fabric in one of our gorgeous Christmas fabrics is just the thing you’re looking for. Our fat quarters are generally 18″ x 22″  (that’s 45cm x 48 cm if you prefer) and so are a useful way to buy smaller pieces of fabric for your christmas craft projects as well as for quilted christmas projects. Available singly, or in a pack of 4 pattern and 2 plain.

 

 

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May’s Steampunk costume

 

 

 

 

 

 

This fabulous steampunk costume has been made by 14-year-old May Robinson. May loves costume design and is just starting her GSCE’s including textiles.

The fabrics May has used can be found here at Livingstone Textiles, and the pattern, 1819 from Simplicity, was available last season, however there are plenty more to choose from in Simplicity’s new Autumn/ Winter catalogue. If her make has inspired you to get your machine up and running and start your own project why not come in and have a look at the other patterns available.

We’d like to say a big well done to May for this great costume, keep up the good work! We hope to see you back in the shop soon for your next project.