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Hat’s The Word !

Bridport Hat Festival 2019 is fast approaching, and with that comes the inevitable pressure to create an astounding garb for your head. Well fear not, as out selection of ribbons, trims, feather and more is sure to offer something to anyone looking to spruce up their headwear.

This piece was brought in on Saturday by a customer, and they used our rainbow feathers (£6.45 /m – 60cm used) and rainbow cord (40p /m) to add some colour and life to this vintage top hat!

We have a huge range of different fabrics and accessories you can add to any headpiece to help prepare you for a Saturday of crazy hat-ness.

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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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School’s Out

Summer is well under way with all of the long and hot days we’ve been having and we’re very lucky to have the beach so close to enjoy after work or at weekends with family and friends.

Many of us will probably have a holiday planned and we always see a lot of holiday makers in our Bridport shop at this time of year, stocking up on their fabric stash and buying Christmas Fabrics too – don’t forget that these fabrics have 10% off during July as well.

As we move further in to the holiday period, ideas for childrens activities can start to dry up so we suggest you try our new Craft Packs. A bargain at only £2 they all contain various textures and weaves of fabric from samples we are sent by our suppliers. We also put in small end pieces of trim like lace or pompoms plus a reel of thread and usually some vintage buttons or other haberdashery and each of the packs is based on a colour theme so whatever you decide to use it for, everything will work well together. They are excellent for creating textile pictures and small projects like dolls clothing or patchwork mug mats and can be enjoyed by both children and adults alike. We have a strong recycling and reuse ethic here at Livingstones and for us it proved to be an excellent way to make something out of small pieces of fabric that might otherwise go into the dustbin.

Colour Themed Craft Packs

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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

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.

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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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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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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Vintage Patchwork Quilt

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

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

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

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

 

 

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Fabric Manipulation

We’ve got a great new book in stock.  It shows you how to create some great forms with fabric that appear across textile art pieces.  The techniques are all carefully explained and illustrated with some really original ideas that you can put into practice straight away.

 

Using basic geometric shapes and folds as a starting point, you can learn variations on the basic method and develop different decorative effects.  Many of the techniques have been resourced from historical garments and museum pieces as well as more modern books and resources.  The author explains that most of her knowledge of smocking came from books published in the 1970’s!

 

All of the illustrations clearly show the patterns you can make with cuts and folds, pleats and ruffles and the guide at the beginning of the book lists suitable fabrics, tools, measuring techniques, hand sewing methods, pinning, cutting and pressing methods to help you achieve good results.  Some brilliant designs can be created by folding, stitching and cutting layered fabrics in different ways and the complimentary colours can create some rather explosive effects when they are cut into and folded back.

These pictures show how to achieve the stunning textures that are often used to create arty scarves and interior design projects.  The velvet cushion looks particularly striking and the enclosed stuffing balls give a fabulous bobble effect over the surface so it becomes more like a piece of tactile art.

The instructions for this are very straight forward and the fabric calculations are a lot simpler that you would think.  This is such an exciting book and this is definitely one of the projects that we will be trying ourselves.

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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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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.