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The Bridport Fashion Revolution

Bridport Fashion Revolution

Bridport normally runs a Green Fortnight at this time of year but 2020 brings us something different. This year sees the town hosting Bridport’s Fashion Revolution from the 13th of February onwards and here at Livingstone Textiles we are going to be sharing helpful tips to get you going with Green Fashion.

Fashion is a massive and a dirty industry but we can all change our habits and living in or near Bridport gives us a distinct advantage. This is because there have always been abundant independent businesses that we can choose to shop at. Most items of clothing are bought new and worn on average ten times before they are discarded but there is hope that if we choose to shop differently, we can all reduce the contributing factors to our warming planet.

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Winter Sunshine

A little bit of sunshine in February is definitely lifting everyones spirits after so much rain. With clearing skies come cooler evenings and we love this new gorgeous pumpkin coloured fleece for snuggling up in and for lifting a fashionable grey colour scheme. Priced at just £7.05 a metre it’s worth poppping in to Livingstone Textiles for a couple of metres to make an instant no sew throw. It also goes perfectly with the new paint colour charts from Farrow & Ball, available at Bridport Timber & Flooring. The Natural History Museum has been working with the Colour By Nature Collection to create a stunning new range and the Dutch Orange colour is featured on the front of their new sample card. So whether you go for the fabric or the paint to freshen up your living space this spring, this is definitely the colour to go for.

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Bengal Tigers In Bridport

We are still adoring this jungle velvet and so are our customers and we’ve had an order this week for an unusual project. You may remember that we published a story about a lady called Debbie who made a dress out of our silk furnishing fabric featuring a bee design. Well she’s creating another dress, this time using the Bengal Tiger velvet as her fabric which we think will look sensational! Because of the varying weights and modern digital printing techniques the fabrics that we have in our shop can be crossed over into all kinds of projects, some of the lighter furnishing fabrics can be used as dress materials and many of our heavier dress fabrics, like wool or Melton coat fabrics for example, can be used as a curtain fabric. This week we’ve made up these lovely eyelet curtains in a mustard Melton cloth, quite simply because the colour matched our customers room scheme perfectly and there was nothing quite right in our soft furnishings range.

We can order anything from our large collection of fabric books too , even just a sample if you want to double check colours before you make the jump.

These eyelet curtains have been made by us using Antique rings and we can also make up eyelets in other colours such as Nickel and Black. There are a few options available designed to suit the rail you currently have in place or ask us for details on our continuous metal poles with no awkward joins to try and drag the curtains over.

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How to Make a Tube Scarf with Pompoms

We wrote a little while ago about our new amazing rainbow cuddle fur, and thought about creating a scarf from it. Because this fabric is one sided, you can’t just cut a strip of fabric as you don’t want the back to show. So here is how to make your own scarf using the tube method, and to go one better you can put a pompom on the end.

Cut a strip of fabric across the width and about 25 – 30cm wide. Fold in half right sides together and sew along the edges with a sewing machine or overlocker (the edges will probably not fray, but check your fabric to be sure). If you don’t want pompoms sew across one end of the fabric.


You now have a tube of wrong way out fabric.


Turn the tube right side out. If you are not adding pompoms sew the open end of your scarf closed and you are finished.


To add pompoms, take a running stitch all the way around your tube about 10 – 15 cms from one end. Pull up the running stitch to gather the fabric and fasten off.


Stuff the open end of your scarf with hollowfibre toy stuffing.


Take a second running stitch all around the open end near the edge of the fabric. Pull up again, tucking in the edges of the fabric as you go, then fasten off. Repeat for the second pompom at the other end of the scarf.

You now have an amazing statement scarf with oversize pompoms!

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Dress Fabric or Curtain Fabric?

How do you tell if a fabric is dress fabric or curtain fabric? Well sometimes it’s not so easy! Rules are made to be broken, so although in our stores we keep fabrics in different areas depending on whether their intended use is for furnishing or dressmaking, really it is down to a mixture of how the fabric will behave and your personal preference. We recently made up these lovely warm winter weight curtains in this gorgeous poly viscose melton fabric, which works perfectly even though it is traditionallly a dress fabric. These curtains are also interlined for even more warmth, and need the punched metal eyelets shown in order to hold the weight of the curtain. This fabric also looks the same from both sides, so could be used unlined to create a room divider curtain.

Sometimes you also want a lighter weight curtain, maybe to screen off an area or cover glass on a cupboard door, and then the dress weight cottons may be suitable, you would just need to be careful about the fabric width.

In contrast, we also have customers who make dresses, skirts and coats out of what is traditionally regarded as curtain fabric, like this amazing bee dress and the stunning hunting coat. We have heard a rumour there is also a Bengal Tiger dress on the way!

So the message is to know your fabrics, think outside the box and have a good look around the whole of the shop. You may just spot a bargain “curtain” fabric in the heavier weight dress fabrics, or create a showstopper garment from the furnishing section! We are always happy to talk to you about your project and will let you know if we think the fabric can be used in the way you are planning.

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Burns Night

In anticipation of Burns Night we have listed lots of lovely tartans and checked fabrics in our online shop. You can browse them here and make a purchase. We will send out your fabric the same day if we receive your order before three o’ clock or the next working day if you are a late night shopper and you can read all about Burns Night, its history and the ritual celebrations that surround it here. Here are some of the gorgeous fabrics to tempt you and don’t forget that we have even more in our high street stores at Yeovil and Bridport. We don’t however, sell whisky or Haggis but our Bridport shop is right next to Waitrose so you should’t find it too difficult to get everything you need in one outing.

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Magic Unicorn Rainbow Fur

This is one of our most exciting new fabrics for the New Year and sure to put a smile on anyone’s face. This polyester faux fur has a long pile and is incredibly soft, we just want to cuddle it all day long! We are imagining all sorts of projects from unicorn manes to cushions, collar trims and whole jackets. One of our staff already has some at home to make a tube scarf, so we will be sharing a how to on that soon. In the meantime if you can’t wait to get your hands on this you can pop into our Bridport shop or buy online using the link below!

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Happy Hogmanay!

The History of Hogmanay

We don’t hear much about Hogmanay in England where our fabric shops are based, particularly the South West because seem to do Christmas on such a massive scale and that strange time between Christmas and New Year becomes a haze where nobody can quite remember which day it is. In Scotland however, things have been somewhat different for many generations of people growing up there and it may surprise you to know that Christmas was not celebrated as a festival until the late 1950’s. Children expected Santa to arrive on New Years Eve alongside family gatherings and parties (or Hogmanay’s) where gifts were exchanged. Hogmanay is a very important festival to the Scots.

The Protestant Reformation had the festival down as a Catholic feast and as such , it had no place within the country and so it was banned. This ban led to ancient traditions already in place, (possibly from invading Vikings and Norsemen that had been a part of Scottish Solstice traditions for a very long time) to be stepped up and celebrated as a winter solstice holiday across the New Year period, leading to some serious partying involving fire amongst other things. In Shetland where there is still a strong Viking influence the feast is known as Yules, passing over from Scandinavia as the festival Yule. The collective ‘Hogmanay’ on New Years Eve involves several traditions and superstitions that include a deep clean of the home, ashes to be removed from the grate before midnight and that the first to pass over the threshold after midnight should be a dark haired stranger carrying a piece of coal for luck. Plus of course obligatory drinking of whisky.

Immediately after midnight it is traditional to sing Robert Burns‘ “Auld Lang Syne”. Burns published his version of this popular song in 1788, but it was in print more than 80 years before. There are several verses

“Should auld acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot and auld lang syne
For auld lang syne, my dear, for auld lang syne,
We’ll take a cup o kindness yet, for auld lang syne.”

Pop in to Livingstone Textiles and have a look at the fabulous new tartan fabrics we have available if you fancy making your New Years Eve party into a Hogmany. As well as our usual Black Watch and Stewart patterns we have these two plus many more tartans and checks available.

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Simplicity patterns for Winter 2019

New in for this Winter are a great range of Simplicity patterns in their gorgeous new season catalogue. With lots of cosy things to make and some great new fabrics in stock there’s plenty to get you inspired for the colder months ahead and we have some delicious new fabrics to make them with, ranging from new tartans, thick heavyweight drills and a new range of stunning silky dress fabrics suitable for fine blouses or delicate under garments. Pop in and have a browse through the books, we keep them in the quiet fancy dress room at the end of the shop and have a cosy heater next to the desk so you can have a look through the patterns in the warm. Don’t forget that we still have our New Look offer running where you can get a massive 40% discount off all the patterns in the book.

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Gorgeously draping new fabric

Just in, and getting lots of admiring glances from us! We have four fabulous colours of this gorgeous, lightly-textured new silk-velvet satin lining fabric, which can be used as an absolutely lovely lining fabric to give a gorgeous flash of colour and a soft touch to coats and jackets, or for any lining purposes. We also feel it would be perfect for a ‘I feel fantastic’ blouse to dress up, or to dress down with jeans, or for any garmment needing a fabric that drapes beautifully.

We’ve paired it here with a lovely New Look blouse pattern that we think would really suit this gorgeous fabric, but there’s plenty of other patterns to choose from in our catalogues. Don’t forget that all our New Look patterns are currently on sale at 40% off!

Silk-velvet satin fabric: 100% polyester, 112 cm wide, and only £6/per metre.

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Winter Woolies

A few frosty mornings have left us reaching for thicker layers in the wardrobe. If you’re discovering a gap in your winter clothing supplies you might consider sewing yourself a colourful new pair of slacks or cords, maybe a thick, warm maxi skirt or a smart tweed pencil skirt to wear for work with a pair of thick tights. You could also consider making a pair of thick jumbo cords for the eccentric gentleman in your life, the colours we have to choose from are bright & cheerful for the cold grey days of winter. Don’t forget that we have a great choice of patterns available in our New Look and Simplicity pattern books and if you are a novice, pick up a copy of the brilliant dressmaking techniques book from our shop. Its clear, step by step instructions will guide you through many shortcuts and techniques to get your finished projects looking neat and completed efficiently. Find out more here

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Which Tartan can I wear?

We sell a lot of beautiful tartans at Livingstone Textiles and one question that seems to come up again and again is ‘which tartan am I allowed to wear if I’m not Scottish? Well the answer to that is quite simply that you can wear any tartan that you like, the only exception to this rule is the Balmoral tartan which by royal decree should only be worn by the Royal Family. Many people think that they can only wear the Black Watch or the Stewart so you’ll be pleased to learn that you can buy and wear any of the tartans in our shop in complete confidence.

Here’s a small selection of what we currently have in stock. We also sell gorgeously snuggly tartan fleece as well and it makes great pyjama trousers 🙂

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Day of The Dead

Funky House Trousers

These groovy trousers were made by Laura at Livingstone Textiles, Bridport and are perfect for slipping into after work and lounging about. They are made from 100% cotton poplin in a simple pull on style and feature a comfy sewn on waistband with a channel for the elastic so it doesn’t spin round. The channel also adds a decorative frill effect at the top of the trousers, creating a feminine touch. There’s a single pocket for your phone at the front and openings in the leg hems so that cord can be added for a tied up effect.

We have lots of this great material in stock at both of our stores and it’s available in three different coulourway; black, pink and yellow. It’s 112cm / 44″ wide and at only £7.50 per metre the cost of making these trousers was under £15, what a bargain!

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Pattern Hacking

What is pattern hacking? If you make clothes at home, you’ve probably done this already; taking a dress pattern and adapting it by changing the length, or swopping the type of fabric, or even by mixing two patterns to produce a completely unique garment.

Simplicity are running a pattern hacking competition at the moment, based on nine of their current patterns, so get your creative head on for a chance to win a new sewing machine!

There’s a Simplicity Youtube video to give you some inspiration, or just let your imagination run wild – we’ve got all the fabrics and trims you need! The competition runs until 31 january 2020, so you’ve plenty of time to plan and make, but don’t forget that our Simplicity patterns (including the pattern hacking ones) are on sale right now.

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The Sale Rack

We’ve added many new rolls of cloth to our sale rack in order to make room for our new autumn/winter 2019 collection of dress and furnishing fabrics. With a minimum of 25% off our original retail prices and many rolls of several metres you are sure to find your next project requirements here.

If you’re struggling to find anything suitable then have a look at our remanant baskets around the store where we put all of our workroom offcuts and end pieces from the roll stock. There are some fabulous bargains to be had and some good size pieces in there ready to mix and match as cushions or create cool and original bags from.

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Autumnal Cords

With Autumn creeping up on us, it’s time to start thinking about those warmer wardrobe items. New here at Livingstones we have a gorgeous range of corduroys in rustic Autumn colours, ready to be made into the perfect seasonal outfit.

Most of our cords are 100% Cotton with some that have a small percentage of stretch fibres, making them easy to work with and easy to wear!

We have a choice of larger jumbo cords through to smaller needle cords in great colours. With lots of great patterns to choose from why not come in for some inspiration for some new garments.

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Reversible Denim

We’ve started to order in our new autumn/winter collection of fabrics and there are some exciting things for you to get creative with and we’re starting with this very cool reversible denim.

Following the trend for denim and also checks, we fell in love when the rep showed us all this cloth. Both sides can be used equally and it would make an amazing reversible denim jacket or skirt. We also thought you could turn the fabric over on just some pattern pieces of a garment to create a really funky effect.

This fabric is currently available in our Bridport shop along with many other decorated denim fabrics.

Look out for our massive range of autumn corduroy coming very soon!

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New stretch fabrics

With so many clothes patterns now using strech jersey fabrics, we’re really pleased that we got some gorgeous new fabrics in to tempt you! Sophisticated prints and gorgeous colours in lovely soft fabrics, these are perfect for making comfortable, simple, sophisticated clothing ready for late summer and early autumn, with designs to please everyone!

Worried about sewing with stretch fabric? You don’t need an overlocker, you can use a simple stretch stitch, found on most modern sewing machines. Come in and have a look through our pattern books for some simple sewing inspiration, or for information and patterns together, have a look at our range of books, or try Youtube for step-by-step guides!

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Cheesecloth? Yeah, baby!

The arrival in our bridport shop of a couple of rolls of cheesecloth prompted a lot of reminiscing amongst staff and customers of a certain age! But now it’s the season of summer festivals, cheesecloth’s moment has come. It’s cool, airy, 100% cotton, and perfect for shirts, skirts, dresses and tops.

Cheesecloth is a lightweight, plain-weave fabric with a soft, open texture with many uses besides clothing, including food making, printmaking, and fire safety testing, and in Victorian times it was employed to create the illusion of ‘ectoplasm’ by dodgy spiritualists. It hails from India, where it is used to make summer shirts, and became popular in America and England in the 60’s and 70’s.

We’ve curently got these two colourways in stock, both with a stitched multi stripe, at a very modest £7.50 per metre.

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Miss Haversham has butterflies!

The lovely Miss Haversham has been given another amazing makeover by Evie – this time she’s modelling a skirt in a gorgeous lightweight polyviscose leafy print fabric ( £13.50 per metre) and a host of brightly-coloured butterflies, which recently landed amongst our large collection of iron-on motifs, and are selling at only 75p each. Get your summer on!

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Summer Cottons

We’ve taken deliveries of some exciting new cotton fabrics in both of our Yeovil and Bridport fabric shop and we’ve chosen both large and small designs suitable for garment making, crafts and patchwork. The quality and crispness of the material is delightful and would feel cool around your ankles as a long and full skirt, or why not have a go at the pattern tutorial below? One of our staff is making this dress and has chosen to line the bodice in another cotton because it’s so soft next to the skin. We’ll show you pictures of her dress as soon as it’s finished but meanwhile. take a look at this easy to follow example from Simplicity. They have many video tutorials on youtube that help in understanding some of the tricky reminology of a written dress pattern.

pattern now out of print

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Work Experience

Every year at Livingstones we are lucky enough to have the opportunity to share a little bit of our business workings with a work experience student from a local school.

This year we had the lovely May, from Woodroffe and she was a quick learner, embracing all of the tasks we presented her with. She had some fresh and interesting ideas and will definitely be one to watch in the fashion industry over the coming years. In the meantime we’d like to share a couple of the outfits she created for our manequins, entirely from our remnants baskets.

Miss Haversham sporting a midnight blue evening gown