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Curtain Fabric Calculator

Calculating fabric for your curtains can be a complicated process. We published a helpful guide to how to measure for curtains and calculate fabric requirements, but now we have gone a step further and developed a calculation for you. Simply enter the details of each curtain in the form below, using either inches or centimetres for all your measurements, enter the fabric width and any pattern repeat in the same measurement unit (inches or centimetres) and the calculation will be done for you. Please note that as this is an automated process it cannot take account of any savings that can be made by having less fullness or reducing hems. This calculator is in a testing phase, so please do let us know if you encounter any problems or need further help with calculating requirements in one of our fabrics. Please see below for a selection of our current curtain fabrics, details including width and pattern repeat can be found by clicking on the fabric. All fabrics can be ordered from our website in multiples of 1 metre. The calculator will give a result to the nearest 0.1 metre which can be rounded up to purchase from the website. Please note for half drop repeat curtain fabrics we suggest you add an extra half pattern repeat to the calculated figure before rounding up.

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How to… make vegetable storage bags from old nets

If you’re fed up of looking at those old net curtains, now might be the time to renew them. We’ve got a great collection in our online shop and a post that explains how to measure for nets.

Here at Livingstone Textiles we love ways of re-using things after they’ve outlived their original purpose, and we came across a few ideas online. If you’re near to us in Dorset, a brilliant new Community run SwapShop has opened in Sherborne called The Honesty Jar where you can leave things that are no longer useful and swap them for something else if you want to, or not, it’s up to you.

Continue reading How to… make vegetable storage bags from old nets
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Green Ideas – Sample Hangers

As part of Bridports Fashion Revolution we are bringing you some handy tips to help you re-use, recycle, mend or transform your clothing and accessories.

Every year some of our fabrics are discontinued by the suppliers and this means that the hangers we hold for them are no longer of any use to order from. Some of you will probably know that we sell off these hangers when this happens for anywhere between five and ten pounds. They are a real bargain because as well as all of the smaller samples on the hanger, you will also get a large piece of fabric at the back as well, usually a metre or more squared.

Continue reading Green Ideas – Sample Hangers
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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.

Continue reading The Bridport Fashion Revolution
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How to work a Cable Stitch

Knitting a hat is a great way to use up scraps of wool left over from a bigger project, and a textured hat always looks funky, but you might be put off attempting a cable pattern because it looks tricky. In cable stitch, the stitches appear to overlap each other, and a cable pattern can also include bobbles and cross overs that look really hard to do. In fact, they are really quite simple once you break the pattern down into small steps, and all patterns will tell you exactly how to work the cable.

What will I need?

The most important piece of equipment to get yourself is a cable needle! These special needles have a ‘V’ in the middle to stop the stitches from sliding off, and are used to hold the stitches at the front and the the back of the knitting while you work other stitches on the main needles.

Here’s a step by step of how to work with the third needle. The stitches are slipped on to the cable needle and held either at the front or the back while a few stitches are worked from the needles. Then cable needle is then brought back in and the stitches worked from there, creating a twist as the knitting wraps around itself.

Continue reading How to work a Cable Stitch
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Camper Van Cushions

All this rain makes us think longingly of summer sun and road trips.

Now is the perfect time to get your camper or caravan fixed up and ready for the road. We’re making a whole load of seat / bed cushions for a couple who are off on a big trip. They will be living in their camper and comfort is high on the list so we are covering 5″ deep foam with a thick, soft layer of wadding and then stockinette so they will be super soft and comfy. We’ve written about how you can do this yourself here.

As yet we don’t have foam listed on our website but we are happy to process telephone orders, you can contact us on 01308 456844 or 01935 422651 to place an order or discuss your requirements.

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How to Make a Tube Scarf with Pompoms

When this amazing new rainbow cuddle fur arrived in the shop, we immediately thought about using it to creating a cuddly soft scarf. 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. To go one better you can put fantastic pompoms on the end!

What will I need?

A strip of fabric 20-30 cm wide and some hollowfibre toy stuffing. You can hand-sew this, but a sewing machine will be a lot quicker!

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.


To finish, running stitch around the open ends. Pull to gather, tucking in the edges as you go, and fasten off. 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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How to make a scrunchie

We are now doing scrunchie packs here in Livingstone Textiles Bridport, this is a little pack containing all the fabric and elastic you need to make four hair scrunchies. These would make great gift packs for people learning to sew or getting back into it, they would even be fun little projects for the Easter holidays to keep children busy for an afternoon.

We have written this step by step guide on how to make these with lots of pictures to make it easy to follow!

Here’s how to get making…..

What you get in the pack (makes 4 scrunchies) :

  • 2 long strips of fabric (approx 7cm x 112cm)
  • 1m of elastic
  • 1 Safety pin

What you will need:

  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
  • Needle (for hand stitching, optional)
  • Iron

Step 1 – Take your long strips of fabric and cut them in half, this will give you the four pieces of fabric that will be your scrunchies.

Step 2 – Fold one of the shorter strips in half lengthways with right sides together (wrong sides out) and press with an iron to keep the fold.

Step 3 – Using a zig zag stitch sew along the edge of the fabric to create a tube.

Step 6 – Overlap the ends of the elastic by around 2cm (1″) then secure them to make a loop. Carefully pin the ends of the elastic together ready to be sewn. Stitch together the ends of the elastic with a zig zag stitch (this will allow the elastic to stretch still), make sure the are firmly secured.

Step 7 – Tuck in the raw edge of one end back inside the tube by 1cm (1/2″) next take the other end with the raw end and poke this inside the tube where you have already folded in, this will complete your loop neatly.

Step 8 – The final step is to stitch the ends together to secure them. This can be done with a machine stitch through both the fabric and the elastic over the join to keep it secured. However, for a slightly neater finish you can hand stitch the seam, this allows you to only stitch through the fabric and not also through the elastic so the seam is less noticeable.

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Keeping Warm with Curtains

Curtains fulfill many uses in your home. As well as being decorative they also help to reduce echoes, making your room more welcoming. At this time of the year most importantly they can really help with heat retention which saves you money on heating. Even a double glazed window will feel like a big expanse of cold in your room once the sun goes down. So, what should you take into consideration when choosing curtains for warmth?

  1. Fabric choice. Heavier fabrics will keep in more heat, although all woven fabrics will allow in some drafts. An example is our range of tapestry fabrics, which are all suitable to make heavy curtains. Some heavy fabrics are not suitable, however, especially if they are upholstery fabrics with a back coating as these are too stiff. Ask our staff if you are unsure which of our fabrics can be made into curtains.
  2. Interlining. This is a layer with thermal properties which is inserted between the main curtain fabric and the lining, and is also known as curtain bump. It feels a little like a blanket and makes the curtains more luxurious. It can even be used with very lightweight fabrics such as faux silk and makes your curtains feel like a million dollars. Interlining can be cotton or polyester and comes in both light and heavy weights. There is an additional charge on the making up because the interlining has to be tacked into the main fabric before adding the lining. If you do not have much room to pull the curtains back off the window or door, interlining will affect this as it makes the curtains considerably thicker.
  3. Thermal or blackout lining. If you don’t want to add interlining to your curtains you could use the option of thermal lining. This is an ivory coloured coated polycotton lining which prevents air getting through the lining, thereby stopping drafts. This creates a colder pocket of air next to the window whilst retaining the heat in the room. This lining is lightweight and will not add to the bulk of the curtains. Thermal lining will not stop light coming through completely, though it is referred to as ‘dimout’ so it will reduce light to some extent. However if light is also a problem (from street lights or the sun in the summer) the good news is that blackout lining also has exactly the same thermal properties as thermal lining, it is just a little heavier and also blocks all light. Some light may come around the edges of the curtain (or through the stitching lines for a roman blind) but none will penetrate through the fabric itself.
  4. Length of curtains. If you are trying to cut out drafts with a full length curtain, you can choose to have your curtain come right down to the floor to ensure that air cannot get underneath it. You could also consider making a shorter curtain long enough to tuck behind a radiator to stop heat going up behind the curtain.

If heat retention is a priority, do mention it to us when you consult about your curtain project. Many of the same factors can also be applied to roman blinds as well. We are happy to make up curtains and blinds for you with all of these options considered, or you can consult our guide to choosing a lining to see all the options. If you already have curtains but want to make things more cosy, you could always consider adding a loose lining with loose lining tape. This is really easy to do, as the thermal lining does not even need hemming as it does not fray when cut. You can find instructions on how to add a loose lining here.

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Choosing The Correct Linings for Curtains and Blinds

At Livingstone Textiles we are proud to offer you a great selection of Curtain Linings and Interlinings.  Older buildings in West Dorset and rural Somerset often have traditional stone or wooden windows that are incredibly draughty.  For heritage reasons these properties may not have the option of double glazing or plastic windows so Thermal Lining can be a very practical solution to draughts and cold spots.

We stock a wide range of curtain linings and curtain interlinings (also known as curtain bump) to suit your specific requirements when choosing new curtains or blinds for your home.  Curtain linings are used to prolong the life of the more expensive show fabric and offer protection from the sun and other elements that could otherwise cause deterioration of the cloth.  They also enable more of the pattern and colour to be seen inside the room when light is on the otherside, ie; daylight, sunlight and streetlight as these will be shining straight through your fabric. Continue reading Choosing The Correct Linings for Curtains and Blinds

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How to…put in an invisible zip

Invisible zips give a polished finish to your handmade garments, but they can be fiddly to put in neatly. We’ve recently been asked if we can stock a zip foot specifically for these zips, so as well as a standard zip foot from Prym, we’ve now added this excellent special zip foot to our haberdashery range.

Prym says: For easy sewing of zip fasteners, Prym offers two different versions of zipper feet for the sewing machine. The standard foot made of die cast steel and zinc is suitable for all sewing machines with a clip foot and makes sewing standard zip fasteners tremendously easy. The special zipper foot on the other hand is the perfect aid for sewing invisible zip fasteners and can be mounted with its three different sized mounting adapters for different brands such as Elna, Pfaff, Singer, Master, Bernina, Privileg and Universal, as well as for sewing machines with slanting needles. Its white plastic sled guarantees a precise guide and thus ensures best results when sewing zip fasteners.

There are instructions with the special zip foot for sewing an invisible zip, but this video made by Prym is much better, and really worth a watch!

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What is…Applique?

Appliqué is ornamental needlework in which pieces of fabric in different shapes and patterns are sewn or stuck onto a larger piece to form a picture or pattern. It is commonly used as decoration, especially on garments. The technique is accomplished either by hand or machine.

Applique is an easily recognizable form of art and decoration that is used throughout the world. The technique involves sewing various scenes or patterns on small pieces of fabric. These fabric pieces are then attached, for example by stitching or glueing, to larger pieces of fabric. You can decorate clothing like jeans with applique or it can be used to decorate a quilt. The word “appliqué” is derived from the French verb “appliquer,” meaning “to put on.” It refers to a textile craft in which one piece of fabric is sewn over another for a decorative effect. Appliqué is found in many forms of folk art, from Gujarati Indian tent fabrics to American colonial quilts and Eastern European traditional costumes.

If you’re not sure where to start then get in touch and we will try to help. We run classes in applique and patchwork at our Yeovil premises and we also have some inspirational books in stock at both shops.

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Why you need curtain lining

We often get asked in the shop, as customers are choosing some lovely curtain fabric, if curtain lining is really needed. We understand the question! Curtain lining lives under the table in the big room in bolts of unexciting neutral colours; it looks a bit boring, and although it’s just a few pounds per metre, it might seem like an unnecessary spend when you’re more interested in the gorgeous show fabric.

So here’s a great example of why you need curtain lining! We often dress the shop with fabric that is quickly stapled into place, rather than use our beautifully hand-finished curtains, and a couple of us recently decided to change the fabric that had been up at the window for almost two years. It wasn’t lined, and when we took it down you can see from the picture that the fading was very obvious indeed, even though the windows do not even get direct sunlight.

We also sell a lightweight polycotton curtain lining, but the best choice is the standard cotton lining that we use when we make your curtains (unless you ask for blackout or thermal lining, of course) Our standard cotton lining comes in cream, white and stone, and is available online as well as in our shops. It is Solprufe, which is a superior 100% cotton fabric, designed to withstand the effects of light for twice as long as other linings without fading or degrading.

As we’re lucky enough to live in the sunny southwest, and especially if you live near to the sea, curtain lining will make your curtains live longer and keep the colours bright and true for longer. They’re worth it!

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What is…Haberdashery?

Haberdashery is the word used to describe all the small bits and pieces used for sewing. This is things like needles, buttons, zips, thimbles and much much more!

The word is thought to have come from the Anglo-Norman word hapertas, meaning “small ware”.

We have a huge range of haberdashery in both our Bridport and Yeovil shops

What is a Draper?

Draper is an old English word used to describe someone who sold cloth and textiles. So here at Livingstone Textiles we would of been described as a Drapers, however recently the word has fallen out of use. There were 2 other Drapers in Bridport town before Livingstone Textiles opened in 1971 and there business adverts can still be seen above the bar in The Ropemakers pub in the town.

Fenwicks was located in the building now occupied by Lilliputs and Braileys moved from their premises in West Street to a shop in South Street. Their new shop was situated near The Dorset Pedlar, a little tea room run by Percy & Ruth Baldry who were the parents of the now owner of Livingstone Textiles Tom Baldry. Tom was a school boy when his parents opened The Dorset Pedlar in 1969 and they were good friends with drapers Joyce & Arthur Brailey.

What is Mercery?

Mercery was derived from the French word mercerie, it initially referred to silk, linen, and other high quality textiles imported to England in the 12th century. The term later extended to goods made of these and the sellers of those goods.

The mercerisation process was devised about 1844 by John Mercer, who treated cotton with solutions of sodium hydroxide followed by washing. Mercer observed that the treated fabrics shrank, had more strength, and could take up dyes more easily. When wool is washed and shrinks like this we call it ‘fulled wool’ so this new product was called ‘fulled cotton’ in order to recognise the same processes undertaken that gave similar outcomes.

The silk-like lustre now commonly associated with mercerising is produced by tension, and was discovered by Horace Lowe in 1890.

The improved lustre of mercerised cotton is due to the production of nearly circular cotton fibres under tension. Another characteristic feature is the untwisting of the cotton hair.

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Child Safety Week

This week Monday 3rd – Sunday 9th June 2019 is child safety week.

Child safety week is run by the Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT) which is the UK’s leading charity working to raise awareness of the risks of child accidents and how they can be prevented, to reduce the number of children and young people killed, disabled or seriously injured in accidents.

This year the theme is “Family life today: where’s the risk?” It highlights the new dangers facing families today from our modern lifestyles and offers simple solutions to keep children safe.

They have loads of great information on how to keep your children safe from many different dangers that come with everyday life. The danger that we are focusing on here at Livingstone Textiles is the dangers of roman blind cords to children.

Roman blinds are a great way dress your window and can be more practical than curtains in some windows. As we all know they are operated by a string pully system whether they are on the traditional system on a cassette system, these stings can be a potential danger if the blind are not hung correctly and/or are not fitted with safety devices.

What is a safety device?

The safety devices we sell here at Livingstone Textiles are small sprung toggles that are fitted to the bottom of a roman blind to hold the end of the cords. In the event that a child or someone gets caught up in the blind cords then then the cord will be pulled out of the safety devices releasing whoever has been caught up in it and therefore the danger of strangulation is significantly reduced. Because the safety devices are sprung if they are pulled out for any reason then the cord can just simply be re-threaded through them and the blind is undamaged.

All blinds made by our makers here at Livingstone Textiles are fitted with safety devices as standard. Another added bonus of having safety devices fitted is that it makes levelling and adjusting your blind really easy

How a roman blind is hung is also another important factor in reducing the
risk to children. You should consider the pull cords that hang down (if a traditional system is used) and the chain (if a cassete system is used) these both hang down and can create a strangulation hazard to children if not installed properly.

To install the traditional corded system correctly there should be the safety devices fitted to the bottom of each of the cords on the blind as mentioned above. There should also be a cleat fitted to a surface close to the cords, this should be fitted 1.5m or higher from the floor and the hanging cords should be wrapped around this in a figure of 8 ensuring all the spare cord is wrapped around it, this should leave no dangling cords.

To install a cassette system again the safety devices should be fitted to the bottom of each cord. As cassettes have chains instead of cords there are two options with chains, there is a cord that has a join in which will break if a force is applied and can be put back together afterwards. The other option, which is the one we supply here at Livingstone Textiles, is to have a chain tidy and tensioner. These devices are again fitted to the wall just like the cleat and they hold the chain taught so that the loop is smaller and harder to get caught up in. It also makes pulling the blind up and down easier and gives a finished and smart look.

If you would like any advice on how to hang or blind correctly or on how to make your excisting blind safer then please get in contact with us as we are more than happy to help.

For more information on child safety week, click here to follow the link to their website which has lots more information on keeping childeren safe from everyday hazards.

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Ready, Steady, Sew!

 

At least once a week at Livingstone Textiles we have someone new through our doors who is just starting out on their sewing adventure.

 

They are usually rather bewildered at the array of fabrics, haberdashery and techniques and have many questions for us so we have devised a little step by step guide to help rookie stitchers through their first sewing project.

 

 

 

1]  GET A SEWING MACHINE

Beg or borrow a machine that does a straight stitch, a zig zag and goes forward and back.  Anything else will be of no use for quite a while so arm yourself with a basic machine for sewing garments.  You can try before you buy in many fabric shops (including livingstone textiles) or order one on line at a reasonable price.

2] GET BASIC TOOLS

To start with any basic sewing pattern you need a basic set of tools.  Needles (hand & machine) pins, large scissors, a seam ripper, marking chalk  and a tape measure.  You will also find an iron and ironing board very helpful.

3] PICK A PROJECT

Decide on a pattern that you want to wear or use, it’s important to really want what you will be making as that is what will motivate you to finish it.  A garment should be a basic shape with simple features like short sleeves and little shaping.  A bag should be unfussy with simple lines and few pockets or fancy features.

4] PRACTICE

Grab a cup of tea, a piece of cake and a fabric remanant and settle down comfortably with your sewing machine manual.  Have a quick read through then practice lifting and dropping the presser foot, threading up the machine and sewing backwards and forwards until you feel a bit more confident with the pedal.  Practice stitching a straight line at various speeds and practice a zigzag stitch that runs parallel to the edge of your remnant

5] BUY FABRIC!

This is the one area that you will get very good at very quickly.  Buy a fabric that is recommended on your pattern for the project you wish to create along with a matching thread and any other bits and pieces that are mentioned.

6] START SEWING….

Read your pattern carefully, lay it out on your fabric and cut out your pieces.  Label them and copy on any lines or markings from the pattern.  Thread the machine up and off you go!  Remember, it doesn’t matter if you make a mistake, just unpick it and try again.  Remember that there are many helpful tuition videos on Youtube and lots of hints and tips can be found here on our website

 

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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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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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Concealed Needle Storage

We thought we would share this neat little idea for needle storage inside a Gutterman cotton reel.
Its so simple to twist the base and pull out the centre and it has little grooves to house a threaded needle. This works with all Gutermann threads, including the 100% cotton and our favourite eco-friendly recycled polyester thread.

Simply push your needle into the slits and pop the middle back into the cotton reel ready for next time.

 

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How to…….Make A Jacket

The challenging weather of autumn and winter days can leave you feeling a little less than smart as you bundle up in thicker clothing.

At Livingstones we love these easy to follow videos to sew along to.  The following Simplicity video will show you step by step, how to make a tailored jacket of any length that you choose and can wear to add a little class to your winter outfits.  It will look equally good dressed up with a skirt and heels or dressed down with jeans and trainers.  Having your own you tube tutor video will mean you are able to get the project done quickly as you won’t be trying to interpret the instructions while cutting or making.

The jacket is made from Simplicity pattern number 8749

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What is…………Interfacing

How to choose and use Interfacing

 

If you have never purchased interfacing for dressmaking it can be a rather confusing subject.

Interfacing is an extra layer of fabric applied to the inside of a garment in order to give it some strength and stability.  It is normally used on cuffs, collars, shoulder areas and waistbands to add structure and stop the fabric from being floppy.

You can buy interfacing specifically for your fabric and it comes as either iron on or no-iron on.  Iron on interfacing is especially good for beginner dressmakers as once ironed into place it doesnt shift about when sewing the layers under your sewing machine. It is suitable for most fabrics made from natural materials, ie cotton and linen.   Iron on (or fusible) interfacing is not suitable for any fabrics with a knapp, like velvet, cordurouy or fur because it will crush them.  It’s also unsuitable for sequinned fabric, vinyls and metallics because they are not designed to have direct heat applied to them or for lace or scrim because the nature of the open weave fabric means that glue will always seep out through the other side.  These fabrics are far more suited to a sew in interfacing as it will not affect the drape nearly as much.  Sew in interfacings are only normally used by professional dressmakers, along with linen interfacings that are used by tailors to add structure to coats and jackets.

Once you have decided on sew in or press in interfacing, you need to make a decision on the type.  Most popular is a non woven interfacing because it has no grain and is therefore suited to virtually any fabric.  However if you are sewing jersey, you will need a stretch fabric so that the garment retains its flexibility.  The basic rule is to match the interfacing so that its qualities are almost identical to the fabric that you are working with.  Indeed very lightweight summer cottons can get by with another piece of the fabric used as the structure layer. Interfacing also comes in a dark, charcoal shade and a creamy white and again, you need to match the colour, as far as possible to the colour of the cloth you are cutting.

 

 

 

To use iron on interfacing, first do a test on a scrap of fabric to see how it behaves, ie wrinkles, shrinks etc.

Lay the cut fabric wrong side up on an ironing board then place the interfacing shiny side down on top of it.  The shiny side has the glue on it.  Lay a damp pressing cloth over the top and gently lay on the iron, just using the weight and a pressing action.  Don’t move the iron around as this may disturb the layers of fabric.  Allow the everything to cool slightly then check to see if it’s adhered by trying to lift a corner.  Once in place it is not repositionable so make sure everything is accurate before you start.  Always use a wool setting for pressing unless it’s a really lightweight fabric in which case you can turn the iron up a little higher and never skip using a pressing cloth as it diffuses the direct heat and protects the fabric as well as the iron.

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What is……….Half Panama Fabric?

Ever come across the term Half Panama and wondered what on earth it means or is referring to?
Half Panama is sturdy cotton fabric that has been woven with two threads in parallel instead of one. This creates a fabric which is heavy duty yet lightweight and easy to clean. Particularly suitable for curtains and roman blinds, this fabric base cloth is often used for high quality prints.

An example we have in stock is this lovely geometric print which is available in two colourways, blue and orange.

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What is……Ticking?

Ticking was originally made from a tightly woven cotton or linen that was used as a feather proof fabric to cover bedding such as pillows and mattresses and was a more practical utilitarian cloth, it is known to be mainly neutral with a distinctive muted coloured stripe design, usually brown, blue, grey or sometimes red or yellow.

However, this fabric has been included in many modern design ideas and is also now used for a wide range of things including cushion covers, curtains, curtain lining, upholstery and can be used to give decorative touches in interior design and many other things. Some tickings have a wider width, making them useful for items where you don’t want a join, such as bed covers or tablecloths. The classic ticking design now comes in many more colours and can be found in a range of weights allowing its uses to be almost endless but still giving that classic simple look that is very effective.

Look at this wonderful idea of using ticking to line a pair of shepherd hut curtains, with gorgeous Scandi design fabric click here to have a look!

We have a wide range of ticking here at Livingstones in many different colours with the classic stripe and a few others that are slightly different variations on the classic look but still give the feel of ticking to a room or any project.

 

 

 

 

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What is Buckram?

What is buckram and what is it used for?…

Buckram is a narrow, stiffened cloth that is usually coated with a glue backing, this can be ironed onto fabric to give it support and rigidity, this is called fusible buckram. It is used in the same way as iron on interfacing in this respect, however it comes in narrower widths compared to this and is much thicker and therefore stiffer. It is mainly used in curtain making for pelmets or to stiffen the headings of curtains when making pinch pleat curtains for example. The buckram is hidden between the layers of fabric when used in this way, this helps the pleats keep their form.

We stock fusible buckram in widths of 4″, 5″,6″ and 12″. The different widths are available to suit the curtains so that the right look can be achieved for the room.

You can browse a selection of fabrics suitable for curtain making below, click here for the full range of curtain fabric available online, or visit either of our shops to discover thousands of metres of fabric to take home the same day as well as samples of fabrics available to order.