We have acquired some very beautiful fabric. ” But you’re always doing that” I hear you say. True enough and our fabric stash is pretty vast, so big that it now takes up two whole shops! The thing is, sometimes a little stash comes along that we just cannot do without and we just have to squeeze it in somewhere.
This month we are bringing you something unique. One offs.
And there they are. Absolutely beautiful hand block printed cottons from India.
Representing the individual nature of handmade, each is a short run of 6 or 8 metres or so and created with Indigo and Rust dyes.
These really are very special and as such we are not selling them in anything smaller than 2 metre pieces. Each run has been individually inspected by us to ensure clean line up of the block print with no overlaps.
Don’t hang about because the best designs will be flying out quickly and once they’re gone they’re gone.
We’ve stumbled upon a pretty cool product that you might like to know about. It’s called stretch bias binding. Of course bias binding already has the stretch in it by the very nature of the way it is cut across the cut of the fabric but this bias binding is REALLY stretchy making it ideal for trimming jersey projects.
Sewing jersey is becoming more and more popular as makers realise that with care and patience, this material can be fashioned into beautiful clothing at a fraction of a shop priced garment. Binding the edges of any garment will always give it a professional look but making your own bias from jersey can be quite a tricky and frustrating excercise. This new stretch binding eliminates all of the angst allowing you to get on with the trimming and at Livingstones we are trialling it in black and in navy at just £1.20 per metre. To help you gain more confidence in using this product, follow the link to this youtube video and learn how to apply it step by step.
It’s time to make that summer dress that you just can’t find anywhere in the shops. Our new Look patterns are at a bargain half price and we have some dreamy summer fabrics in stock that you can check out here.
Don’t forget that you can join our pattern club as well to make the most of your sewing collection. For every four patterns you purchase through Livingstones you receive the fifth one free making it five dress patterns for the price of two full priced ones!
Some sad news today but also some happy news. After many many years of stocking a very old fashioned brand of thread that was once manufactured in the UK we are sad to be saying goodbye to Coats Threads. Last year the Coats distribution centres re-located overseas and since then we have had difficulty with supply so we have made the decision to go over to Gutterman.
Many of you ask for Gutterman now as it’s a known and trusted product and although not everyone will be happy about the change, they make a good strong thread in a great range of colours. All of the Coats threads are still reduced until we clear the old stock so now is the time to pop in and top up your colours.
We have a little treat for you at Livingstone textiles. In both our Yeovil and Bridport shops we have introduced a PERMANENT BARGAINS RACK!
All of the fabrics on this entire rack have at least 20% off the ticket price. Some have only small amounts left on the rolls for cushions and others have lots, certainly enough to make curtains with and lots more besides. There are some real beauties and the only limit is your imagination. Pop in and grab yourself a bargain.
Annually on the First Day of May, various inhabitants of Dorset welcome the dawning of Summer by waking before Dawn and greeting the sun at the top of the Cerne Giant.
Wessex Morris Men along with various fools, animals and co-horts ascend the woods under dark skies and this year the moonlight was bright enough to show the way without torchlight. As the sky lightens, two strong men appear with a barrel of specially brewed ale for the occasion and set it upright. They’ve hauled it all the way up the hill, having brewed it out in the woods under the watchful eye of local herbalist Eleanor Gallia. This gift is shared among the Wessex Morris men who then dance up the sun on the site of an ancient maypole situated within the Trundle.
The Wessex Morris have a tradition of bringing out the Ooser for this great occasion. The Dorset Ooser is a copy of a mythical mask thought once to be common across Dorset, possibly worn as part of a fertility ritual to represent a powerful horned beast. The last Ooser was lost many years ago and so one of the founder members of Wessex carved a copy of the photograph that was kept in the museum in the 1970’s. It is incredibly heavy and worn with a great harness by the tallest man in the Morris while the morris men dance around on the maypole site. The Ooser then descends down the hill into the village to be paraded into the village centre while men and villagers dance and drink.
The copied Ooser was looking a little forlorn at the end of last year having had many outings so it was decided to give him a whole new outfit and as Dorsets biggest fabric shop, Livingstone Textiles was the obvious place to come and hunt for new material. He now has a new fully lined suedette cloak and a sackcloth apron as well as some new fur on his head and beard and as you can see from the photographs, he looks magnificent. Read more about hime here and learn more about the real Mayday celebrations around the UK here. We were lucky enough to have the great story teller Martin Maudsley with us on the day and you can read his spine tingling prose about the event here.
Great news – free lining is back! At both our Bridport and Yeovil stores during April 2018 you can take free polycotton lining (or an equivalent discount on our other linings) with all curtain fabric purchased at full price. This also applies to our competitive made to measure curtains, hand sewn to a really high standard at a very reasonable price. The only limit is that the free lining is limited to the same number of metres as the main fabric, so the more fabric you buy the more you can save on lining!
Why not call into our stores at either St Michaels Lane Bridport DT6 3RR or Manor Stables, Hendford, Yeovil BA20 1UN, and check out our amazing range of fabric roll stock and sample hangers.
We are happy to provide a no obligation quote to your measurements, and all quotes provided during April will be honoured with free lining for one week after the promotion ends.
If you are not able to travel, why not consult Feather Interiors? They work closely with us, and for a very reasonable fee will bring samples to your home and discuss your requirements. Take your home environment to another level with a skilled eye providing suggestions.
Special SALE event at Livingstone Textiles Bridport
We will shortly be changing the brand of sewing threads we stock from Coats to Gutermann, to enable us to more easily keep a full range of quality thread in store. We already sell a small selection of these quality German threads, and are looking forward to stocking the full range. we will also be getting a smart new display – but first we need to empty the old one, so for a limited time our threads will be on sale at 30% off:
100m down from £1.95 to £1.40 200m down from £3.70 to £2.60 500m down from £7.60 to £5.40 1000m down from £10 to £7
Come and grab yourself a bargain at Bridport Livingstones – while stocks last!
With all of us becoming very conscious of throwaway plastics and trying to reduce our use and consumption, one of our Bridport team members decided to make up a bag to put her sandwiches in. Made from less than a fat quarter of fabric, she lined it with a ripstop nylon and popped a velcro closure onto the top and bottom of the first two corners that fold over the sandwiches. She then made a button hole in one corner and stitched a button onto the showside of the remaining corner that make a neat little packet when closed together, keeping her lunch fresh and looking very pretty in the staff fridge. Needless to say that we all want one!
Adorable! Look out for her next experiment with waxed fabrics.
You may already be aware of the sewing machine repairs and maintenance servicing that we offer our customers to help them keep their machines in tip top condition but you may not be aware of what might happen to your machine when its past its best and you decide that its not worth throwing any money at. Many of our customers leave their old machines with us when they’re done with them and we’re very proud to support communities in Africa to help reduce poverty by working with Tools For Self Reliance.
This marvelous organistaion works to enpower communities by providing tools and the training they need in order to earn a living and create a positive impact within their communites. All of your unwanted and broken sewing machines and overlockers are collected by one of their volunteer tool collectors when we have a little herd of them. All of the serviceable parts are then used for refurbishing or repairing other machines by even more volunteers in the UK before being sent out to places like Ghana, Malawi, Sierra Leone, Uganda and Zambia as well as many more. Once the machines are out in Africa, they are used by people like Uma Jalloh as she trains as a tailor and learns the skills that she needs to contribute to her brothers household. Uma escaped an arranged marriage at 14 and had never been to school until she got involved with TFSR. You can read her story and others here.
Livingstone Textiles has worked closely with Tools for Self Reliance in Southampton for many years now. If you would like to get involved with volunteering, you can find out more here You could also share this page to your Facebook Feed and help us to raise their profile in the UK. Alternatively, just hand in your old and broken machines and we’ll make sure they get into hands that will really put them to good use.
There are some beautiful books in the fabric shop at Livingstone Textiles, Bridport. These are some of our favourite doll making books because they are fanciful and appealing to all age groups.
We also stock a helpful bit of kit for dollmakers called a doll needle. This very long needle is great for attaching limbs, hair and facial features as you can pass the fine needle throught the fabrics without distortion. Pop in to the shop and browse our books if you’d like some inspiration for a new project. We stock kapok stuffing, calico, organzas and beautiful buttons for you to style your dream doll.
In the town of Bridport in West Dorset we have a community orchard that was begun in 2009 with the planting of 23 half standard apple trees as part of the Symondsbury Apple Project. In February 2010 this was added to and there are now 58 fruit trees in total, including some old and rare varieties that have stood the test of time. All the trees and the green spaces surrounding them are carefully tended by a group of local volunteers. The Community Orchard is a public space for everyone to enjoy and lies just behind St Marys church off South Street in St Marys Field. It regularly holds community events that have a traditional theme, often with the imbibing of good local Cider from West Milton Cider Company. Around the 18th of January each year a custom known as a Wassail has been revived in the orchard which involves much merriment, mulled cider and hot apple juice.
Wassail gets its name from an Old English greeting “waes hael“, meaning “be well”. Said to be a Saxon custom where at the start of each year, the lord of the manor would shout ‘waes hael’ and the assembled crowd would reply ‘drinc hael‘, meaning ‘drink and be healthy’.
A Wassail Bowl is a great thing, a vessel of carved wood or pottery featuring many handles for shared drinking, it is passed around an orchard amidst singing and shouting and was especially popular in the cider producing counties of the Southwest, primarily Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Dorset.
Wassailing is a traditional ceremony where in the depths of winter, apple tress are sung to and blessed on the eve of twelfth night in anticipation of a heavy yield the following autumn. It normally takes place at night where a Wassail king or queen will lead a procession around the orchard singing loudly and making much noise. The king or queen is then lifted into a tree where he or she will hang toast from the wassail bowl that has been soaked in a hot brew of mead, ale, honey and spices of cinnamon, ginger and roasted crab apples from the previous years crop. The assembled crowd will then shout, yell and bang pans and a shotgun is usually fired into the trees to frighten away evil spirits that would otherwise spoil the crop. The king or queen will then go to the oldest tree in the orchard which harbours the oldest spirit and pour some of the mead around the base of the tree as an offering of respect. The fertility of the entire orchard is said to reside in this spirit, known as the Apple Tree Man in Somerset. It is then customary to sing the wassail song:
Its our Wassail, jolly Wassail, joy come too our jolly Wassail.
How well the May bloom, how well the May bear, so we may have apples and cider next year
Hats full, caps full,
Three bushel bags full, and little heaps under the stairs
The Carhampton Wssail, one of the oldest in the country
In Bridport, our own local troupe of morris dancers will be entertaining the crowds at the Bridport Wassail on Sunday the 21st January from 3pm onwards with traditional folk music and morris dancing with sticks and hankies. Livingstone Textiles are proud to supply Wyld Morris with the bells, ribbons and tatter coat fabrics required for their kit.
Wyld Morris are based at Monkton Wyld Court at the sustainable living community to which they contribute towards funding in return for a practice space in their beautiful pine hall on Wednesday evenings.
Wassailing and family fun at Bridport Community Orchard
An absolutely beautiful range of subtle designs from Bill Beaumont in soft muted colours. The stripe effect is called Jordaan and the leaf spray is called Lars. With a pattern repeat of only 33.5cm and a useable width of 140cm there is plenty of cloth for your money. Contact us for further details and prices.
Livingstones very own gift vouchers make a great gift for the creative person in your life, and make a fantastic partner to one of our range of sewing and craft books. Give the gift of a creative New Year!
Our gift vouchers are available to buy from £10 to £50 in value from Livingstone Textiles, are valid for one year, and can be bought in Bridport and Yeovil, to spend in either shop.
The Knit and Natter Group is a fun and friendly group for those who enjoy knitting and crochet, or for those who would simply love to learn how it’s done!
It is held every Wednesday between 10am and 12pm, at our Yeovil shop. The group is for absolutely anyone, whether you have been knitting or crocheting (maybe even both) for years, or whether you would like to begin learning these crafts. Here you can gather together with other crafty people to share tips and ideas, whilst having a good chat and working on your latest knitting or crochet projects. To keep you all knitting and nattering, refreshments; including tea, coffee and biscuits are also provided.
The group only costs £1 and is a walk-in group, so there is no need to book a place, you can just turn up on the day and join in.
This is a great place to learn more about knitting or crochet from the other members and build on your current skills, it is also an opportunity to share your knowledge with others and exchange tips. A few members have started the group as beginners and worked on smaller projects such as clothes or accessories for babies, by doing this and building up the basics, with help from the other members, they are now able to begin larger projects.
At Livingstones Textiles, Yeovil we stock a variety of yarns in many colours and compositions. We also stock needles, crochet hooks and other knitting and crochet supplies, along with many pattern books so there is lots to choose from and lots to inspire you for your next project, however big or small!
Livingstone Textiles Yeovil have expanded their range of knitting yarns with the wonderful Drops range, including several alpaca yarn blends.
Even better news is that the Drops yarns which include alapaca are all on special offer until the end of December 2017 with an amazing 30% off the already stunning value prices. All the balls of wool in the picture were selected for a highly patterned jumper and cost less than £25 for everything you see here. The yarns which are on offer are the Puna, Nepal and Lima ranges.
Drops supply free patterns to print yourself at home, and you can browse the selection at the Garnstudio website before you visit so you know what to look for and how much you will need. If you need any more information about the Drops yarns or what colours are in stock please telephone on 01935 422631. Don’t miss out on stocking up with these lovely yarns for your winter projects!
It’s your last chanceto grab abargain pattern before Christmas.
Browse the collections online then pop in and pick up in store, you can even ring and reserve. Patterns make a great gift for new sewers with their easy to follow step by step instructions. Or how about treating yourself? once the flurry of Christmas is past you can settle into some ‘Me’ time and make yourself a cheeky little number for New Years Eve
Great News for all of our dressmakers now the weather has changed. New Look patterns are going on half price sale tomorrow, Wednesday 15th November until Tuesday 28th November. This is in addition to the half price sale on Simplicity patterns which is still ongoing. New Look patterns are great value at any time, and especially amazing at half price. So why not stock up your pattern stash and get ready to treat yourself to some new winter clothes with our amazing range of dressmaking fabrics at our stores in Bridport, Dorset and Yeovil, Somerset.
We keep the patterns in stock so you can take them home straight away, and you can also gain up to 4 stamps on your pattern club card at sale prices, which will get you a free pattern either straight away or else on another visit.
Over the summer evenings you may have happened upon an old English Tradition outside of a traditional English pub. Morris Dancing has enjoyed a bit of a revival in recent years and is very much alive and well in West Dorset. During the summer Bridport was very proud to showcase its own Folk Festival (http://www.bridportfolkfestival.com) which featured fabulous traditional folklore and music from the British Isles as well as a wealth of national Morris Dancers.
The earliest known mention of English Morris Dancing dates back to 1448 and relates to the payment of seven shillings to Morris Dancers by the Goldsmiths Company in London. The term Morris probably relates to the exotic nature of the dance and its origins as a colorful ‘Moorish’ or Moresque’ dance style that spread across Europe as a fashion and probably entered our vocabulary via Dutch, German and French influences because they also have a very similar word for it.
A small statue of a “Moriskentänzer” made by Erasmus Grasser in 1480 for Old Townhall in Munich, one of a set of 16, of which only 10 remain. This dancer has an appearance which would be described at the time as “moorish”, but all the other nine surviving carvings are fairer-skinned. All wear bells on their legs. (Wikipedia)
The earliest records we have of Morris Dancing are of it being performed in a court setting and at the Lord Mayors Processions in London. By this time it had taken on the nature of a folk dance and performances were enjoyed in parishes across the land. Morris Dancing continued in this manner until war broke out and our men and boys were lost or maimed probably leading to the demise of the dancing over the next generation.
In England we now have several ‘traditions’ of dance that were collected by Cecil Sharpe and his assistants Mary Neal and Maud Karpeles. Cecil founded the English Folk Dance Society in 1911 and over his lifetime collected over 500 dances and nearly 5000 folk songs, the first of which he saw was ‘Laudanam Bunches’ in Headington, Oxfordshire performed by Headington gone Quarry Morris Men. This became known as the Cotswold Tradition and is danced all over the country, we even have a Cotswold team of dancers local to Bridport called ‘Wyld Morris’.
This team, or ‘side’ wear a colourful kit to dance in, made up of light brown trousers and a white shirt. Like other sides, they wear bells on their legs attached to leather bell pads that are decorated with pieces of coloured ribbon. They also wear ribbons on armbands as well as sporting ‘Baldricks’, traditional weapon belts worn over the shoulder, usually just one but many morris dancers wear a pair joined in the centre by a badge in team colours. Wyld Morris members also wear a hat trimmed with ribbons, buttons stand, badges and flowers both artificial and natural and buy virtually all their kit from us at Livingstone Textiles. We have also supplied kit items to Uplyme Morris and many visiting Morris Dancers on holiday in the area. If you fancy giving this fun hobby a go and also enjoy beer, and/or can play a folk instrument, Wyld Morris ( http://www.bredy.org.uk/wyldmorris/) are are running a taster session at Monkton Wyld Court next Wednesday evening, 15th November 2017, in the Pine Hall starting at 7.30 and would love to see you there.