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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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Make Your Own Soft Toys – Book Review

In the run up to the festive season it has become more popular for people to make gifts to give family and friends and the investment of time is so much appreciated by the reciever.

If you’re looking for inspiration on what to make this winter whether for festive giving or otherwise we have some brilliant books in the shop for you to browse and choose from.  This month we are looking at the fun toy designs in this one…..

It has really simple to follow instructions and clear diagrams that show how to construct and sew all of the featured toys.  We love the cheeky owl and think he would look great as a hanging decoration or toy.  But if owls aren’t your thing then check out the retro horse. There are plenty of other designs to choose from too, including traditional rag dolls. And unlike similar books, no enlarging is required to make these patterns usable because they are all printed on pull out sheets at the back of the book.  We stock everything to help you finish your project, from fabric and buttons to stuffing and thread.  Pop in to browse our book corner and stock up on winter craft items at Livingstone Textiles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

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What is Linen?

Linen is a natural fibre that is made from the flax plant. It is durable and is well known as a cool fabric, making it great to wear next to the skin in hot weather as the weave allows air flow through the garment, its cooling properties are also due to the fact that the fibres are very absorbent, so wick sweat away from the skin quickly allowing it to evaporate away with cooling effect. Linen is often used for bedding and clothing due to its unique cooling properties.

Flax plants are mainly grown throughout Europe with certain countries being known for producing finer quality flax, due to better growing conditions for the plants. Some of these countries include Ireland, Belgium and Russia.

Flax plants are usually harvested by pulling the plant up from the root rather than cutting it down, as the fibres run all the way up through the plant from the root, so pulling them up keeps the fibres long. This is either done by hand (usually more expensive cloth comes from this) or a machine similar to a combine grabs the plants and pulls them out.

Once the flax plants have been harvested they are left in the field to undergo retting or alternatively they can be taken, a process where the inner stalks break down to leave the straw outer and the stalk fibres that can be processed and turned into linen. These remaining fibres are then threshed to remove the seeds (linseeds) which can then be used for oils or the seeds themselves. The remaining plants are then processed to remove the outer straw from the fibres to make the remaining fibres supple and ready to be spun into linen.

Linen is one of our favourite fabrics at Livingstone Textiles, and is loved by our customers who are fans of natural fibres. We have a selection of linens available to buy online, and even more in our stores in Bridport Dorset and Yeovil Somerset.

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Lace for a Bralette

Quite a few young and older women are discovering the liberating comfort of the Bralette.

Many of them are made from supersoft polymide and elastane and are just unbelievably comfortable to wear however some of the really pretty ones can be fairly pricey, especially if you have a love for lace or back detail.

We came up with a little idea to give you the expensive look without the price tag.  Go and grab yourself a couple of bralettes from any of the discounted clothing shops and add some of our stretchy lace to the bottom panel.  You only need around 80cm for one bra and at 145mm it is good and wide to extend as a sheer panel over your rib cage.  It’s priced at £2.75 a metre and we stock it in both white and black.

 

 

 

 

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What is a Drop on Curtains and Net Curtains

The word “drop” when referring to curtains or net curtains simply means the total length of the curtain from top to bottom.

Standard curtains can hang either inside or outside a window reveal, on a pole or track. The drop is the exact finished length of the curtain. Where exactly this should be measured from depends on the type of heading chosen.If you are replacing a set of curtains and having the same type of heading, you can just measure the length of the existing curtains. Otherwise you will have to measure from your existing track or pole. If your track or pole is not yet in place you can make an estimate based on the planned position, but a final measure will be needed once the track or pole is in place. There are more details on our instructions on how to measure for curtains.

Confusingly, sometimes the word drop is also used to refer to one width of fabric used to make a curtain. For instance a maker may say they are making a pair of curtains with ‘two drops per curtain’. In this use of the word, it is interchangeable with the word ‘width’ referring to one full width of fabric from a roll. The cost of making a curtain may be quoted as an amount ‘per drop’ which means that for a pair of curtains with 2 drops/widths in each curtain you will pay four times the amount quoted for making.

Net curtains usually hang on a curtain wire or a pole. They are made with a channel at the top which the wire or pole passes through, or a series of holes for a cafe net curtain. The drop is measured from just above the wire or pole to the window sill, or wherever you want the curtain to finish. Usually net curtains are hung close against the window within the reveal so they usually finish just above the window sill in order to give privacy. Net curtains are made in a range of standard drops and so usually you will choose the nearest drop available that is smaller than your measurement to buy. If this would be too small, you can order the next larger drop and either cut down the net curtain, making a new channel or fold over the top to make it a little smaller.

You can learn more about how to measure and choose net curtains here, or explore our range of net curtains and curtain fabrics for sale online below

 

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What is Viscose ?

Viscose is a man-made fibre that is manufactured from a plant-based material called cellulose and is typically made from woody plants, such as trees and bamboo. It is a low-cost fabric and has many of the desirable qualities of more luxurious fabrics. It is used to make clothing because it is breathable, drapes well, is highly absorbent and does not trap body heat. Because viscose is made from renewable plants, it is frequently cited as an environmentally friendly fabric, particularly when bamboo is its source.

Viscose can be blended with other fabrics such as linen to get the benefits from each cloth at a lower cost. Viscose and viscose blended fabric are great for this time of year being cool and lightweight. We have a range of viscose fabrics in bright colours and patterns, as well as linen blends.

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Book Review – A Beginner’s Guide to Making Curtains, Shades, Pillows, Cushions and More

 

This book written by Vanessa Arbuthnott with Gail Abbot, sets out everything you need to know, to begin making your own soft furnishings for your home. As mentioned by Vanessa at the beginning of the book, the advantages of being able to make your own curtains and shades etc, are the freedom to create exactly what you want for your home, while saving you money on making costs, enabling this to be spent on more luxurious fabrics if you desire. All the fabrics featured in the book are designed by the author and are inspired by the natural things in her surroundings.

 

It is set out into the following chapters to allow you to easily browse through the different designs and styles of each category: 1- curtains, 2- shades, 3- pillows, 4- covers, 5-accessories, 6-basic techniques. Each item included in the book is set out clearly on the page with a stunning picture of the final make, set up in a room, to help visualise the most suitable designs for you. The instructions include a list of materials and tools you will need, a guide on how to work out how much fabric you will need for the project and top tips to help you before you begin. The step by step instructions are clearly illustrated throughout with coloured drawings for each step.

Overall the book has a very homely feel in the projects it has, and is simple to follow for the beginner, so it’s easy when reading this and refering to it, to imagine making these things and putting them in your home to add that personal touch. This book is available to by from our Bridport shop, why not come and have a look at it for yourself.

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New In…..Dressmakers Curve

 

 

We are so excited to finally be stocking this professional dressmakers curves.  It’s taken a while but we’ve managed to source one of excellent quality from Prym because some things are worth paying a bit more for.

 

 

 

This investment in your sewing apparatus will assist you in altering patterns by transferring your measurements on to a bought pattern because you can then shape it to your waist and out to your hip measurement on the pattern and draw in your own personal shape, ensuring a really professional fit when you finish the garment.  It’s also brilliant for pattern drafting.  This is when you take a block and manipulate it to create your very own dressmaking pattern.  All items of clothing are made by starting with a basic pattern block that is added to.

If you dressmake then you are probably  already making adjustments to the pattern to create a good fit, after all looking good in a handmade garment is firstly about Fit and secondly about wearing what you want to wear.  By creating your own personal pattern block you can always start with a good basic pattern from which you can design in any style you choose.  Using a dressmakers curve you can create sleeve curves, hem curves and armhole openings as well as hip shapes and waist curves.    Its not just for dresses either, you can use your dress block to also design your own skirts, blouses and tops.

What is a block?  Well, a block is a personally tailored pattern for a very very basic dress or pants.  It has no style details at all so it’s a blank page waiting for your design.  Starting with the basic outline shape, you make adjustments to the block using your own measurements to achieve an absolutely perfect fit.  You then use the block as a starting point for every single pattern you create, knowing you won’t have to make any size adjustments at all because you’re starting with your own bespoke shape.  You can add in style and shape by slashing and spreading to create fullness in a skirt, add ruffles, a neckline shape or by adding darts to pull a shape in for a closer fit.  Once you’ve created your block you can let your imagination go free with the creative detail, knowing its totally unique to your figure.

For more information, some great tips and advice on creating your dressform to match your own figure, click here

To buy your dressmakers curve you can either pop in to your nearset branch of Livingstone’s or contact us and we’ll mail one out to you.

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New In ——-V Cushions

 

 

These cushions are new in and are a good way to add extra support where it’s needed.

They can be used as extra padding when reading in bed or in a chair and can also be used help to make a sick or elderly relative much more comfortable when eating if they are prone to slipping sideways.  It eliminates the need for lots of pillow stuffing to keep them upright.   Made from our top quality polyester wadding by our man in Devon, this locally made product can also be laundered in the washing machine.  The V shape makes it ideal as a sleep support as it fits easily between the knees and can help if you suffer from aching legs at night as well as being invalubleif you are pregnant and struggling to get comfortable.  When baby is born, it makes an excellent support for breastfeeding mums as you can prop baby at excatly the right height and angle to latch on properly.  And when baby get bigger you can use the V cushion to support him while you play together.

We tried the V cushions at work and found them so super comfy that we’ve named them the Livingstones Zen Cushion.

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

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Beach hut bunting strips

Our popular beach hut bunting strips are back in stock, so come and get some and get creative!

In the shop we’ve used some of the fabric to make some lovely bunting, with the beach huts alternating with cute little triangle flags that pick out the red. What will you do with yours? we’d love to see pictures of your bunting project!

Beach hut bunting strips are £1.60 for a half strip or £3.20 for a full strip; you can also buy this fabric off the roll for your bigger projects or for curtains and blinds.

 

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New Ribbons

Delightful country gent (and lady) style ribbons are now in stock.  Featuring some really great designs of cows, pheasants and lovely stags, all on vintage coloured satin ribbons, this collection is sure to reflect a flavour of the rural westcountry on your gift or project.

 

We’ve got cheeky little foxes to raise a smile and as we launch into a season of rural and farming shows, these pretty cows would grace a gift of hand made local cheese.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The more exotic sounds of india can be heard echoing in these gorgeous peacock ribbons and could be used to wrap a gift of spices from your travels this summer.  Come into Livingstone Textiles and see one of the largest ribbon resources in the region.

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How to hang a Roman Blind

Livingstone Textiles Guide:

Note: your batten should already be in place and should also have the Velcro and eyelets attached at this point.

Step 1: Threading the cords

If you have had your blind made by us then your it should already be threaded with cord. However, if you find you need to thread the cords then follow these instructions.

Lay the blind down on a clean table/surface face down. Next thread the cords though the eyelets from the top of the blind to the bottom and secure them by threading through the safety device. You now need to decide on which side of the blind you would like the pull cord to be on for opening and shutting the blind as this will affect the direction the cords.

Secure the blind onto the batten by pressing the Velcro together. You should now thread the cords through the eyelets on the batten starting with the corresponding eyelet for each line of cord, either work left to right (cord will hang on the left) or right to left (cord will hang on the right). Thread all of the loose cords through your wooden acorn to keep them together and tie a loose knot to stop them slipping back through. Do not cut the excess cord off at this point.

Safety Device 1 - Roman Blind
Safety device

 

 

 

 

 

 

Acorn
Acorn

 

 

Step 2: Adjusting the cord length

In order to ensure you have the correct length of cord pull the blind up and down a few times to make sure it runs level. To determine where to cut the cord you should let the blind hang all the way down so that the acorn will be at its highest point you should have a short distance between the last eyelet on the batten and the acorn. Tie a small knot here to keep the cords together and then cut off the excess, the knot should be hidden inside the acorn when it is pulled down over it.

If you have found that your blind has moved slightly after doing this and is no longer level, you can fix this easily by tweaking the length of the cord, by pulling it through the safety devices on the bottom of the blind, making where it hangs longer or shorter.

Step 3: Fixing the cleat

The cleat should be secured next to the blind cord at least 1.5m above the floor, this is to reduce the risk of small children getting the cord caught around their necks which could lead to strangulation. The cleat requires two screws to be screwed through it and into the wall (or other fixing point) in order to secure it.

Safety note: When the Roman Blind is pulled up the cord must be fully wrapped around the cleat, so that there is no excess cord hanging down for small children to be able to reach.

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Prym Fray Check

20180202_151536Look out for this useful stuff in our shops! Fray Check is a colourless liquid that stops fraying by reinforcing the fibres.It can be used to prolong the life of garments by reinforcing stressed areas like button holes, seams, collars and cuffs against the wear of day-to-day use.  For more creative projects, Fray Check can be used when sewing curves to seal the edges, to give rolled seams a stable finish, or to seal the edges of fabric for craft projects like motifs. The finish is washable, and can be repeated if needed. Find out on this video.

 

 

 

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How to Make a Bottle Carrier Bag

Bottle carrier completeIf you are looking for a last minute present, or would like to jazz up some bottles you are giving, why not make one of these useful bottle carriers, which will go on to be used for carrying bottles back from the shops for years to come.

I have made mine from water resistant fabric to give a longer life, but it could equally be made from any heavy canvas fabric. This bag took half a metre of fabric, 1.8 metres of bag strapping and 2.5 metres of bias binding. The advantage of using water resistant fabric is that it does not fray, so I did not have to neaten any edges, the disadvantage is that I did not want any extra pin holes so had to be very careful where I put my pins.

Bottle Carrier PiecesFirst I cut out my pieces – 2 of 26cm wide by 32cm high for the front and back, 1 of 16cm wide by 90cm long for the gusset and 2 of 18cm wide by 20cm high plus 1 of 21cm wide by 20cm high. These last 3 pieces form the inside of the bag which keeps the 6 bottles separate.

The first stage is to turn over 1.5cm on the top edge of the front and back, and both ends of the long gusset piece, and sew to form a simple hem. Now move on to making the inside pieces of your bag.

Inside piecesCut and stitch on bias binding on the top edge of all 3 inside pieces. These inside pieces then need to be ironed to form creases as shown – at the centre of the two smaller pieces and to divide the wider piece roughly into thirds, allowing a small seam allowance on the two ends. With the water resistant fabric you will need to use a cloth when ironing to avoid melting the water resistant coating onto your iron!Bottle carrier inside

Sew the inside pieces together at the folds you have ironed to that you make this shape. You should now have 6 flaps that can be sewn onto your bag. You are now ready to attach the handles and the inside to the main bag pieces.

Bottle carrier handle frontCut the bag strapping into two pieces and pin the first one to one side of the bag AT THE SAME TIME pinning through the edges of the first two flaps of the bag inside. Bottle carrier handle backThe flap will be attached to the front when you sew through the inner edge of your bag handle. Be careful when you sew to keep all the other flaps out of the way, and sew all the way up both edges of the bag strapping. Repeat for the second side of the bag with the two back flaps of the bag inside. This should then leave the two edge flaps ready to attach to the gusset. Bottle carrier gussetPin each flap to the middle of one side of the gusset and sew. You now have all the pieces attached together and all that is left is to sew the edges with the bias binding to finish the bag.

Bottle carrier edgesPin the binding round, attaching the gusset to the front and back of the bag. You will need to make a small snip in the gusset at the corners to help this work. Sew the bias binding on, making sure you have trapped both sides of the binding, especially at the corners. Bottle carrier edge finishedI did two rows of stitching to make sure and it was a bit fiddly! My bag is finished and I have a hand made present to fill with lovely fruit juices from the local farm shop.

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Choosing Linings for Curtains and Blinds

At Livingstone Textiles we are proud to offer you a great selection of Curtain Linings.

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 Linings for Curtains and Blinds

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What is a pattern repeat…and why does it matter?

 

Looking at a piece of fabric, the pattern is the design that you can see woven or printed into the fabric and repeated at intervals along the length. When making curtains with a patterned fabric, for a professional finish you really need all the curtains and joined pieces to start at the same point in the pattern, so that they match across the whole width of the window, or throughout the whole room.

In order to work out how much fabric you need to do this, you’ll need to know the pattern repeat. This measurement is taken from a point on the fabric (usually on the selvedge) where an obvious part of the pattern begins, down the length of the fabric to where the identical point on the pattern next occurs. Measuring the distance between the two points gives you the pattern repeat. Sometimes the pattern repeat will be obvious, and sometimes you might need to look a bit harder, but when you buy your fabric at Livingstone, we’ll always help you with that. Once you have the pattern repeat, and know how to measure up for curtains, you can use it in your calculations to work out exactly how much fabric you need to buy for your project.

Sometimes you’ll find that a fabric has a different kind of repeat which means that when you need to join two lengths of fabric, you can’t simply line up the pieces and have the pattern match across the width. This is because, viewed across the width of the fabric, every other pattern is dropped halfway down the previous one. This is called a half-drop repeat, a half repeat or a half drop pattern. When working with a half-drop pattern you’ll need a little more material to allow for this, and this post will help with the calculations.

 

Calculating the pattern repeat and knowing how to use it when cutting out allows you to buy sufficient fabric, and be confident about producing a professional piece of work. At Livingstone textiles we’ll always help you work out how much of our fabric you’ll need to get the very best results.

 

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Elastic Adjustable Belt

 

We decided to make some new belts for holding our scissor pouches as well as show off this gorgeous new coloured elastic that we now have in the shop.  We were so pleased with how they looked that we decided to share it with you with step by step instructions.

All of the components are available from both of our outlets in Yeovil and Bridport and we think they would make great presents for Christmas.

belt finished

Snake Hips shows off the belt! Why don’t you try making your own?  It’s a great functional belt and works well as a gardening tool belt, scissor pouch or just a great fashion accessory.  You can choose from some of these gorgeous new elastics in several widths including a fabulous sparkly one!

belt - elastics

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What is… Nap?

Understanding fabric terms cans sometimes be a bit of a headache, there are so many different terms and words that you might have heard of with different meanings. For example, a nap, for me my first thoughts on the word nap is “having a little sleep” but then in regards to sewing that doesn’t really make any sense.   Some fabrics have a pile, like velvet, velour, and corduroy, the hairs are not quite vertical but lie in a particular direction, known as “nap”. You can feel the nap when you lightly run your hand long-ways over the right side of the fabric.

Understanding the nap and which direction it runs is very important in dressmaking, soft furnishings and with upholstery, for example if you were making a velvet jacket with no design on the fabric you might think you could cut the pieces out however you wanted… well when it comes to fabric with a nap that is not something you can do. It is important to cut the pieces so when the garment is put together the nap runs in the same direction. Now you might be thinking ” how am I meant to be able to tell which direction each piece will be going when I’m cutting them out?” well the simple answer to that is the pattern will tell you. On a dress pattern such as new look or simplicity, there will be different marks on the pattern telling you which angle to place the pattern, there will also be a drawing showing you how to lay out your patterns on your fabric.

Thinking about the nap when curtain making is a little easier as all you really have to think about is how you want the nap to run when your curtains are complete, although you may want to think about the nap when joining fabrics.

Understanding different terms within sewing make sewing feel less scary as you are more aware of what each word means.

If you need any additional information please feel free to contact us where we will do our best to help.

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The Complete Measurement Guide For Dress Making

Simplicity-Complete-Measurement-Guide

One of the things about dressing making that can be quite scary is the sizing of the garment.  The idea of spending hours making a beautiful dress, or trousers and putting them on for the first time and then them not fitting can be incredibly soul destroying.  Fit is so important and completely the point of making your own garments so when they end up miles too big or worse too tight, all that effect you have put in has gone to waste!  sometimes you can buy a dress pattern and, particularly if you buy it discounted online, you won’t be getting the free expert advice that benefits our in store customers.  When it arrives you may realize that you don’t understand what the sizing means and that your dress size on the pattern doesn’t even match the garment size! All this can be very confusing and put you off you starting the project at all.  When you purchase from us in house, we are able to give you sound advice on size and fabric requirements, including suitability.  We can open the patterns out on our cutting tables and help you to understand terms, abbreviations and phrases and we’re always here to help and advice as you progress your project.   It may also benefit you to read the Simplicity-Complete-Measurement Guide

This guide adds to the quick fit guide on a pattern with a complete range of sizes for all ages, both male and female  plus measuring tips, home decor, and more. This guide will really assist you with confidence in making.

Livingstone Textiles in Bridport, Dorset and in Yeovil, Somerset both sell Newlook and Simplicity dress patterns. We usually have all of them in stock in order for you to start your project taht very day.  Very occasionally we may have just sold the pattern you wanted and will get it ordered in for you and if it’s on sale. you still get the sale price.  Another great advantage of buying from us and not online discounted shops is that you can join our pattern club for free.  This benefits you hugely because when you have bought four patterns from us, your fifth one will be free.  Thats ANY pattern as well, from either of our catalogues.  Browse online and buy in store, no postage,no waiting, immediate sewing, help and advice in person, and a pattern club, what are you waiting for?

If you would like more information on the fabrics and services of Livingstone Textiles at either of our stores then please contact us and we will be really happy to help you.

 

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How To……put Wadding & Stockinette on to Foam

We supply foam to renew all kinds of seats, cushions ,beds and campervans.  The foam we supply can be made super comfy by adding a layer of thick quilters wadding.  This softens the edges and corners of the foam and gives a more rounded appearance to the cushion when the covers are back on.  We often do this in house for our customers and we then cover the wadding with a layer of thin stockinette to help ease the cushions back into their covers . Foam has a tendency to grip the underside of many fabric covers and it can be a bit of a battle getting them back on to the foam, sometimes it takes three of us to do it in the shop and it can be quite entertaining to watch as well!

Here we will set out step by step a guide to covering your own foam cushions.  All of the materials used in the photographs can be bought from our shop and we can also send them by mail order. Contact us to place your order over the phone.

Firstly, lay your foam out on the stockinette and cut out pieces for the top, bottom and side

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Next you need to put the foam on some newspaper and spray with contact adhesive.  Remeber to do this in a well ventilated area.  Once you have sprayed on the glue, carefully line up your wadding pieces and lay gently in place, you only get one shot at this so take your time as it sheds if you try to pull it off and start again.  Press down firmly.  We do the top and bottom first then cut a long strip, spray glue it then roll the edges along it in one piece.

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Once all the wadding is in place, cut a generous piece of stockinette.  It stretches to unbelievable sizes!  Open one end of the stockinette and slide the cushion inside then neatly roll the edges into little seams that sit along the edges of the cushion and pin in place with long quilters pins.  This way you don’t end up with big lumps on the sides.  Carefully whip stitch along the seam, catching the rolled seam to the cushion using a long darner needle and a good quality thread.  Repeat the whole process the other end.

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Your foam is now ready to be put back inside the cover and sat on.  If you have any further questions on how to do this, you can contact the team at Livingstones Bridport on 01308456844

 

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What are… Cotton Fabrics?

I know what you are all thinking, ” I know what cotton fabric is. ” but did you know that there are so many different types and that is because of the way the cotton has been woven and treated, read on further if you want to find out more.

Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber that grows in a boll, or protective case, around the seeds of the cotton plants of the genus Gossypium in the mallow family Malvaceae. The fiber is most often spun into yarn or thread and used to make a soft, breathable textile. When woven it can be woven into different finishes listed below is a few of the dress weight cotton weaves, however there are many more upholstery weaves. 

Cotton Poplin- Poplin is a durable, tightly woven cotton fabric, primarily intended for making clothes, but also suitable for other crafting too. It uses a plain weave and is actually very similar to quilting cotton, but with a tighter, less distinctive weave, less prone to wrinkling, and much easier to iron.

Cotton Lawn- Lawn cloth or lawn is a plain weave textile, originally of linen but now chiefly cotton. Lawn is designed using fine, high count yarns, which results in a silky, untextured feel. The fabric is made using either combed or carded yarns.

Jersey- Jersey is a knit fabric used predominantly for clothing manufacture. It was originally made of wool, but is now made of wool, cotton, and synthetic fibres.  The fabric can be a very stretchy single knitting, usually light-weight, jersey with one flat side and one piled side.

Flannel/ Wynette- Flannel is a soft woven fabric, of various fineness. Flannel was originally made from carded wool or worsted yarn, but is now often made from either wool, cotton, or synthetic fiber. Flannel may be brushed to create extra softness or remain unbrushed. Brushing is a mechanical process wherein a fine metal brush rubs the fabric to raise fine fibres from the loosely spun yarns to form a nap. Typically, flannel has a nap on either one side or both sides. If the flannel is not napped, it gains its softness through the loosely spun yarn in its woven form. Flannel is commonly used to make tartan clothing, blankets, bed sheets, and sleepwear. The term “flannel shirt” is often used incorrectly to mean any shirt with a plaid or tartan pattern.