Posted on Leave a comment


This popular 3″ band of European folk style flowers sells out regularly in our red, green and black colourway and in the white, green and cerise so we’re bringing you this new addition of classic red and green on a linen coloured band. Its just gorgeous and is going to add a bit of something special to anything you sew it to.

Posted on Leave a comment

Tartan Sashes

It’s burns night tonight and it’s not too late to grab a bit of tartan. A couple of metres of these extra wide woven ribbons can be quickly made into a sash to wear over your outfit and the narrower ones can be used in your hair or around a hat.

Embrace your inner Celt, celebrate the poetry and read more about Burns Night here.

Posted on Leave a comment

Ease the Squeeze

Flexi Buttons & Bra Extenders

After the festive holiday you may well be heading back out to work in something other than your PJ’s and it’s quite possible that your waistband is a teeny bit squeezier than it was in November. Cash is a little thin on the ground at this time of year and gym memberships can prove quite costly so it might be an idea to look at the alternatives. We think these might come in handy if you don’t fancy splashing out on a new bra and the flexi buttons are brilliant for gently expanding waistlines whether due to pregnancy or general Christmas munching, simpl loop on to your existing button and fasten up as normal. Besides, the next few weeks will see winter setting in deeply and a little extra insulation is not such a terrible thing.

Happy New Year 🙂

Posted on Leave a comment

What is…..Loom Elastic

Picture from

Elastic is so common that we barely think about it, like paper clips and zips, we just expect it to work without wondering how it’s doing its job, how it’s made or how clothing was held up before it existed. On an elastic waistband in your underwear you can see the familiar stretch of the band when you pull on your pantsand it’s followed by the springing action as it returns to its original shape. In fact it’s not that dissimilar to a rubber band except that you are holding elastic made from fabric wheras a rubber band is made from the raw rubber material.

Elastic waistbands weren’t invented until the 1930s and 40’s so before then folks had to find other ways of holding their undergarments in place and this usually consisted of tying undergarments to the waist and/or legs with cotton laces. Some simple cotton and linen undergarments were made using buttons on the front to ‘access’ certain areas and indeed the buttoned flap on the rear of a garment was known as the “access hatch”! It wasn’t until the 1940’s that an American company named Hanes began to replace cinch ties and button yokes with elastic waistbands in underwear using an industrial process, they had started their underwear company in 1902. Textile manufacturers used a loom with the warp (lengthways thread) and the weft (widthways thread) made up of normal strands of cotton or wool laced together with thin strands of rubber.

Elastic finds its way into so many aspects of our lives, from boxers and briefs, bra’s and belts to shock cords and bungees and all of them start off life on a loom, hence the term loom elastic. The UK still weaves loom elastic and it is manufactured on automated looms by companys like the Lincolnshire business HSeal who were founded in 1898. However, going back further than that we find the English inventor Thomas Hancock who founded the British rubber industry. He invented the masticator, a machine that shredded rubber scraps, allowing rubber to be recycled after being formed into blocks or rolled into sheets. In 1820, Hancock patented elastic fastenings for gloves, suspenders, shoes and stockings. In the process of creating the first elastic fabrics, Hancock found himself wasting considerable rubber so he invented the masticator to help conserve rubber. The first masticator was a wooden machine that used a hollow cylinder studded with teeth and inside the cylinder was a studded core that was hand cranked. In 1821, Hancock joined forces with the Scottish chemist and inventor of waterproof fabrics, Charles Macintosh. Together they produced Macintosh coats, or Mackintoshes, named after Charles Macintosh. You can buy loom elastic and cord elastic in a range of widths in quantities of half a metre upwards from Livingstone Textiles and we also stock beautiful patterned and coloured elastics that are soft enough to be worn next to the skin.

Posted on Leave a comment

Big Coat Weather

The weather is definitely a challenge this winter, what with the rain and the wind and a few hailstorms and frosty mornings thrown in to the mix. If you haven’t already got it out from the back of the cupboard then it’s definitely time you dragged your big coat into the light. Forget all the drama’s and scare mongering weather headlines, stoic Brits grab their big winter coats and get on with it. If yours is found wanting of a closure to keep the wind out then come into livingstone Textiles and see our range of frogs, fasteners and toggles. We have big chunky buttons as well that would vamp up a charity shop find and reflect your own personal style.

Posted on Leave a comment

What is passementerie?


Passementerie (or passementarie) is a French term for all the ribbons, tassels, bullion fringes, beads, trims, braids, gimp and other gorgeousness that add the perfect finishing touch to your curtains, clothes, bags, upholstery. In fact, unless you’re embracing a very mimimalist lifestyle, almost anything, made or bought, can be improved and embellished with some of our passementerie.

In the 16th century, passementerie specifically meant a trim of gold or silver lace using metallic thread; the term was revived in the 19th century to cover a wider range of fringes, gimps, braids and ribbons, often used on military uniformsm, divided into point ornaments like tassels and pompoms, and linear, which is everything else.

Here at Livingstone Textiles we pride ourselves on carrying a huge range of passementerie, from our massive selection of ribbons and trims, to pompoms, fringing, upholstery braids and gimps. We’re constantly adding new and gorgeous items to our range, and our skilled staff are always happy to help you search out or match the perfect trim. We also have further items available to order from our suppliers, so if you still can’t find the perfect shade or design, we’ll do our best to source it for you.

Whatever your requirements for passementerie, we’re sure you’ll find something to suit in our huge and ever-changing collection of trimmings.

Posted on Leave a comment

Christmas Trimmings

We’ve been getting creative with the display shelf at our Bridport fabric shop to show you all of the lovely new trims that we’ve had in from our haberdashery suppliers. There are a wealth of craft trims now in stock plus bells, motifs and the usual ribbons and braids and don’t forget that we always stock a huge selection of lovely books, all hand picked by the staff to give you some fresh ideas.

And remember that we have a 10% discount on all of our Christmas books throughout November!

Posted on Leave a comment

Purse and Bag Snap Handles

Look at these gorgeous little snap fasteners for small purses and evening bags! We’ve got two different sizes in stock at our Bridport shop for you budding bag makers and they would like delightful made up into accessories with these luxury velvet fabrics. The small silver purse designs are £5.50 each and the larger gold frames are £5.90 each so pop in to the shop and grab a couple, one for you and one to make in to a gift for a special friend.

Posted on Leave a comment


You may be pulling out some of last years winter clothes and finding them in want of a few repairs or alterations before they are ready to wear again. Instead of taking them to the charity shop and investing in new clothes, you could save yourself some money by getting handy with a needle & thread and fixing them. You’ve maybe lost a few pounds over the summer and need to do some adjustments in order to make a waistband fit snugly again, or as in the pictures below, the bar from a hook and bar fastening set up has just sheered off the trousers. A simple repair can be made by purchasing a Trouser Hook and Bar kit from our Haberdashery department and along with a needle and thread, the trousers are wearable again in a matter of minutes. This same set can be used when making new garments as well and is a lot easier to do than making button holes, plus it has the advantage of being invisible once fastened.

Posted on Leave a comment

Yes, We Sell Comfortable Thimbles!

Traditional metal thimbles are useful,but not terribly comfortable and prone to falling off at inconvenient moments. If you like using them,don’t worry, we still stock them, but we now also sell these lovely things by Prym, an award winning ergonomic design combining protection with high wearing comfort.

Prym says: Solving the age old problem of the thimble slipping of the finger during sewing, this ‘Soft Comfort’ Ergonomic Thimble from Prym is innovative and ultra useful. The shaft of soft plastic offers impeccable comfort in sizes S, M and L. There are four side vents to prevent sweating when stitching for longer periods. The top of the “Soft Comfort” thimble is made of hard white plastic with dot shaped notches to ensure perfect needle guidance even with heavier fabrics and when sewing multiple layers.

We have them in three sizes which are in three hard-to-lose colours – orange (small) pink (medium) and green (large). At just £4.60 each, one of these will be the perfect fit for your sewing kit!

Posted on Leave a comment

New Bias Binding

We have a new range of bias binding coming in with a new colour range and wider fold these new bindings will be replacing the old style. The new range will be phased in as the older ones sell out so we don’t yet have the full range of the new style but we’ve got a good selection to start us off.

The colour choices we have in this new range are lovely and are more in keeping with our fabric stock, so you’ll nearly always find a match. The fold over on the new range is also much wider and meets in the middle of the tape.

Posted on Leave a comment

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!

Posted on Leave a comment

Bra Forms

We now have bra forms back in stock on the haberdashery wall. These are just what you need for making (or repairing) bras, swimwear, sundresses etc, and would be a good match for the swimwear fabric we stock now. Availalbe in black and white.

As all the packs currently out are a 34″ cup size, I’d like to know what sizes would you like to see us stock?

Posted on Leave a comment

Miss Haversham has butterflies!

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

Posted on Leave a comment

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.

Posted on Leave a comment

Rain Mac and Tent Repair Patches

Although it is summer and we are in June the weather is never guaranteed, meaning that rain mac is still important and if you’re planning on camping out so it that tent. Any rips and tears are always a pain but we have the solution!

These patches are great for feather jackets with holes, rain macs, tents, awninigs, bags and much more.

This repair patch can simply be stuck onto the fabric or for tougher fabric that won’t melt it can be ironed on, making it great for most repairs and can make a neat and quick fix, without even gettting the sewing machine out.

It comes in a range of colours so you can choose the one that will blend in the most. If you can’t quite find the colour that will blend in it can be cut out into any shape you like so you could even have a feature flower shaped repair patch (or any other shape you can make).

Posted on Leave a comment

Bargain Threads from only 50p!

We’ve been talking for many months about re-designing our bottom room to make it safer for everyone as a retail space.  This has historically been our delivery area but we also have some rolls of cloth stored on shelving that our customers enjoy having a look at.  We were sad to see another long established business go in Bridport this year with the closure of ‘This & That’ however the legacy lives on because we now have some of their shelving in our delivery area!

We’ve used the shelving to divide the room off and create a new shop display area with a great new space for us to work in behind it.  We had to relocate one or two things as anyone does when they’re having a shift around so we dismantled our old Coats thread stand.  We’ve been selling off all the old Coats stock at massively reduced prices as we’ve gone over to selling Gutterman threads instead so don’t forget to look at the colours we still have left in stock when you’re next passing, you can top up your thread stocks really cheaply because they are now reduced to 50p per reel for the small size and £1 a reel for the large!!


We took the opportunity to have a bit of a play last week and created a colourful fish from old cotton reels and we’ve hung him in the stairwell next to some of our gorgeous new woven tapestry fabrics that are available in these new wave designs and don’t forget that you get FREE LINING with curtains ordered throughout May.  We will be developing this theme over the coming weeks to create a summer carnival feel to the entrance that we hope you enjoy it as much as we do creating it.




Posted on Leave a comment

did you know…?






Did you know we stock a range of bra extenders at Livingstone Textiles? These useful little things can help to make a new bra feel like an old friend until it’s worn in, or to keep you comfortable if you’ve gained some temporary weight. Easy to use, they simply hook on to your bra, so no sewing is required.







We stock a range of sizes to fit all widths of bras, in black, white or nude. You’ll find them on the wall by the till, along with lots of other useful haberdashery items, so pop in and get one to keep for when you need it!

Posted on Leave a comment

No Business like ‘Sew’ Business



Bridport Arts Centre is all ready to kick off its Fashion Week event to celebrate fashion history, costume and the recent upsurge in the popularity of sewing.  Starting on Monday 4th March and running through to Sunday 10th March there is sure to be something to whet your appetite and inspire you to get your sewing machine out.  Livingstone Textiles is very proud to have been able to sponsor this event and during the week we will have a stand in the Arts Centre foyer where you can pick up information about our locations and the products and services we provide as well as a huge selection of fabric and haberdashery to choose from.


The events consist of talks on pattern drafting, pattern reading, historical fashion and the influences of modern London fashion through the experienced eye of Saville Row tailor, author and tv presenter James Sherwood. Also visiting Bridport to talk about the Royal Wardrobe are the Curators of Bath Museum of Fashion. They will be explaining their current exhibition on modern royal fashion as well as the royal wardrobe of Queen Alexander, Princess Margaret, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother and our current Queen Elizabeth. Continuing the fashion history theme, Bridport museum will be giving a unique insight into their textile and costume collection dating back 150 years and Arts Centre Director Curtis Fulcher will be giving an informed talk on Tudors and Historical costume. Curtis is an experienced costume designer and maker and has made a couple of recreations to demonstrate his talk with questions. There are also a great range of films to watch about some of the greatest fashion designers that have ever lived and you can find more information about the whole weeks events here

Posted on Leave a comment

What happens on Burns Night?

Burns Night is annualy celebrated in Scotland on the 25th of January and celebrates the works of the great poet Robert Burns.  It is also now frequently observed in other parts of the United Kingdom by native Scots and those who appreciate the heritage of Scotland.   Robert Burns was born on January 25th 1759 which is why Burns night is celebrated on this day.  He died in 1796 and his best known work is probably “Auld Lang Syne” which is traditionally sung at midnight on New Years Eve or Hogmanny. He is known in Scotland as “The Bard”

Many families and friends enjoy getting together on Burns Night to share a supper of Haggis, Neeps and Tatties with Whisky as the preferred tipple.  You can find out more about Haggis here.  During the evening poetry written by Robert Burns is recited, sometimes Scottish songs are sung and then the Haggis is traditionally ‘piped in’ by a Bagpipe player in full Scottish dress where it is toasted on arrival at the table.  At Burns night events many men choose to wear kilts and women might wear a shawl, skirt, sash or dress made from their family tartan.  A tartan is a cloth made of wool woven in a distinctive check pattern using different colours across the warp and the weft and clans have their own distinct patterns that have been replicated over centuries, often nowadays in more modern blends of viscose and polyester as well as in wool.

If you are attending a Burns Night event you can choose from the range of bright new tartans at Livingstone Textiles to create a sash or shawl over your evening attire, we don’t have much online but their are lots to choose from in house.  We also stock some colourful tartan ribbons to dress your hair or add interest to a plain dress, pop in to either of our shops to browse our collections.  We also think that it’s a great idea to host a kids Burns Night event where you can get them involved with the reading of poetry and maybe using a recorder to pipe in a haggis that they’ve helped to prepare.  They could make a Scottish flag to hang up or could colour in place settings using some of the words in the poems of Burns.  For more inspiration and ideas for a special childrens event visit

Posted on Leave a comment

We Are Haberdashers


Here at Livingstone Textiles we like to supply you with the best quality products at the most competitive prices we can find.  We know that many of you love the Prym range and there are hundreds of haberdashery products available from this company, all beautifully packaged and presented.

We also stock an excellent range of products by a UK based company called Whitecroft.  The Whitecroft Essentials range is a collection of products that we stock for knitting and sewing.  We concentrate on basic stock lines such as sewing needles, pins, machine needles, poppers, fur fasteners and hook & eyes.  We also keep embroidery hoops, knitting pins and crochet hooks in stock having seen a great revival in wool based crafts over the past decade.

Whitecroft have been supplying wholesalers for over a century and as a retailer working in the textiles trade for over 47 years in the same premises, we know that we can rely on the quality, the supply and the price of Whitecroft Essentials to all be consistant.   Many of our customers are now coming in with third generation sewers and knitters which is a wonderful thing.  We also have customers who tell us that they remember coming into the shop with a parent or aunt and they love how we haven’t changed very much over the years.  Like Whitecroft, we focus on the basics, good quality products at affordable prices and above all else, in an increasingly competitive online environment we pride ourselves on customer care and satisfaction.

The New Year and cold winter evenings are an ideal time for sitting down and sorting out your sewing tin or box.  Pop in and top up on your basics the next time you’re in Yeovil or Bridport, we’d love to see you and help you re-stock.