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Thermal Door Curtain

We had to make a door curtain to cover a rear door that was situated at the bottom of a staircase and creating a cold draught in the main living room of this home. A number of fabrics had been mixed by the customer to create a comfortable country living look so we had to find a fabric that didn’t fight with the rest of the colour scheme.  After careful consideration of fabric books and several swatches the customer settled on this fabic by Isles.  The Dove grey colour really softens that corner of the room while complimenting the colour scheme of blues and being made of wool it has thermal qualities that keep the room warmer.  The customer also decided on a thermal lining to eliminate any cold air passing through the cloth and this has made it look very thick and luxurious whilst doing exactly the job intended.  Isles Harris can be purchased from Livingstone Textiles and we can send out samples of any colour in the series.

 

 

 

 

 

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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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Norman the Nordic Gnome

We’ve been making some cute decorations to hang up in the shop and we thought we’d share them with you, along with some simple step by step instructions on how we did them.

All you need is a square of red felt, a giant white pom pom and two little pompoms.  We used a pink 1/2 inch one for the nose and a white 1 inch one for the top of his hat.  From the sewing box you’ll need scissors, a needle, some pins and some red thread.

 

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7 Simple Eco friendly makes

With the climate change, burning of fossil fuels and the mountains of plastic we are using and discarding daily, sometimes without knowing (it’s in everything even tea bags!) the planet is really suffering and is in desperate need of a helping hand from us! With changes from everyone needed now more than ever here are a few simple makes that are easy to do and will go towards helping out planet earth. Most of these makes will also save you money as you wont need to keep buying new items just to throw them away after use.

Single-use has recently been named the word of the year by Collins dictionary, which indicates how relevant this has become this year.

via GIPHY

1 – Waxed cotton food wraps

No more need for cling film or plastic bags , these are easy to make at home and can be made out of most cotton fabrics. We have a huge range of dress and craft weight cottons which are perfect for making these with so you can choose from almost any design or style you can think of!

We have even helped out Damers first school in making these back in July, for more details on these wraps and how to use them check out their great work here!

2 – Sandwich keeper

Cut out the need for single use plastic sandwich bags and plastic packaging (if you cheat and get a shop bought sandwich), instead take your lunch with you in style! What’s even better about this is that it doubles up as a place mat when opened so you can eat your lunch anywhere out and about and know you’ve got a clean surface to eat from and also a handy crumb catcher! It is machine washable for when the outside gets grubby but for day to day use you can wipe clean the inside with soapy damp cloth, then rinse.

I made this one earlier in the year and I haven’t needed to buy sandwich bags since, saving money and cutting out a little more plastic.

3 – Shopping bags

We have nearly all got used to the idea of carrying around a shopping bag with us to avoid using plastic bags. I find that you can almost never have enough of these as they always come in handy for something. Simple tote bags that fold up to nearly nothing so that they fit neatly into your pocket or handbag or even just to live in the boot of your car or around the house for that time when you need them.

We have a huge range of sturdy fabrics in stock with lots of colours and designs to choose from to make these handy bags. The best thing about making these bags yourself is that you can make these bags big or small, simple and straight forward or you can add pockets and compartments to keep things separate, decorate the outside with embroidery or motifs to jazz it up a bit, the possibilities are endless! Also, in stock we have cotton, polyester or acrylic webbing available which is perfect for making the handles of these bags and makes it super simple.

4 – Fruit and veg bags

These can be simple draw string bags to keep your fruit and veg separate from other shopping, muslin or net fabrics are great for these. These can also help keep your fruit and veg good for longer as they don’t sweat and stay damp like they do in plastic.

5 – Using string/ twine or ribbon instead of sticky-tape for wrapping Christmas presents

Why not use decorative ribbon or even some hessian twine to secure your presents this year. These will give your presents a whole different look and add something special, while at the same time reducing the amount of single use plastic being used this Christmas as you won’t need to use sticky-tape.

6 – Baby/wet wipe alternatives- terry towelling, fluffy fleece, cotton

Baby wipes get used in their hundreds of thousands each day and the majority of these are, again, plastic based which means they just stay like they are for years and years after their single use. There are loads of reusable alternatives that you can try making, including using fluffy fleece, terry towelling or just simple cottons as the base for the wipes these are used along with your chosen cleaning mix, which is usually a simple mix of skin friendly liquids not harsh chemicals (e.g. baby oil, tea tree oil etc) but there are lots of others to choose from. This might take a little research to perfect the best ones but will reduce the amount of single-use wipes used and so will be more friendly to the environment and your baby’s bum.

7 – Sanitary towel alternatives

Sanitary pads can be replaced with reusable cotton pads, with no nasty plastics in sight. We are happy to supply Cosy pads with the fabric to create their own version of reusable sanitary towels click here to check them out. Or you can come in and see us to choose your own fabrics and give making your own a go.

 

 

 

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Felt With Love

We have a few copies of this fabulous, bright and colourful new felt project book in stock at Livingstone Textiles and we thought we’d create one of the flowers in the book as a hanging christmas decoration for the shop.
This book is a delight to look at with its bright colours and inspiring designs and there are so many projects that we want to try. The book would make an ideal gift or you can make a whole load of presents from its pages.

 

Hold the 4 felt flowers together and sitch throught the centres to hold.

Place a button either side and stitch through the layers to secure the buttons.

 

Tie a piece of thread around the centre of the     

flowers and tie up like a pompom.

The poinsettia can now be hung up as a seasonal

decoration.

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Roman Blinds in Autumn

This beautiful new fabric from one of our regular suppliers is a celebration of autumn depicting leaves and berries in vibrant jewel colours.  Made up into a pair of Roman blinds they will compliment our client’s dining room windows and tell a story of the seasons swinging from an English summer into autumn.

This cotton fabric in the featured Rust colourway can be purchased in our shops for only £20.90 per metre, or see below to order online.  We also offer a full make up service with our skilled seamstresses.

 

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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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Advent calender packs

With the start of advent, and Christmas, fast approaching there is just enough time to get your advent calendar kits and make your very own calendar.

We have a choice of two lovely festive designs available. We have made these up into packs for you with everything you need to make your own, including simple step by step instructions. We also have these available as just the panels of fabric if you would like to use different bindings and backings etc.

 

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May’s Steampunk costume

 

 

 

 

 

 

This fabulous steampunk costume has been made by 14-year-old May Robinson. May loves costume design and is just starting her GSCE’s including textiles.

The fabrics May has used can be found here at Livingstone Textiles, and the pattern, 1819 from Simplicity, was available last season, however there are plenty more to choose from in Simplicity’s new Autumn/ Winter catalogue. If her make has inspired you to get your machine up and running and start your own project why not come in and have a look at the other patterns available.

We’d like to say a big well done to May for this great costume, keep up the good work! We hope to see you back in the shop soon for your next project.

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Christmas Fabric

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The time for Christmas makes is well and truly upon us, and we’re ready for it!

We’ve got a fantastic array of Christmas fabric waiting for you at Livingstones, and with traditional prints, christmassy patterns and rustic scandi to choose from, you’re bound to find exactly what you’re looking for.

See you in store!

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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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Zebra Fabric Transforms Junk Shop Chair

One of our customers has had our upholstery department transform this lovely junk shop chair using our delicious zebra pattern chenille fabric. We think the finish is just fantastic, and you can see how the upholsterer has centred the fabric carefully so the zebra pattern looks just right. This quirky low slung no-leg chair is now updated with an equally quirky fabric, giving a totally individual finish which will look amazing in the customer’s home.

Even better, a project like this will not take much fabric – a single metre of fabric is often enough depending on the pattern. If you are inspired to try a project like this yourself you can now purchase the fabric directly on our website by mail order, by clicking on the picture below.

See also our full range of online upholstery fabrics here

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Interlined Curtains

Curtains made with interlining or ‘bump’ are much fuller and more luxurious than those made with just lining alone.
The bump literally ‘bumps up’ the fabric making it thicker and has the added quality of providing a layer of insulation against cold windows.
Interlined curtains are an especially popular choice in a house with older windows and those with listed building status but are also used in more modern homes where an appearance of luxury is required.
The window size must be taken into account when considering interlining because they can easily swamp a room with too much volume. The fullness of the finished curtain also has to be taken into account but don’t worry because all of the staff working across Livingstone Textiles are trained to advise you in the appropriate way. Find out more here.

 

 

When we make your interlined curtains we use a more involved method of making where the interlining is first locked into place with Herringbone stitch under the side turns of the fabric and along the seams of any joins.

A picked hem is then worked through both the interlining and into the show fabric where a tiny line of equally spaced stitches will be barely visible.

 

Finally, the pencil pleat heading tape is sewn into position making the curtains look really plump and luxurious.

You can buy this elegant grey bird fabric in our shops and throughout September you will receive free curtain lining* with any curtain or blind order.

 

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Book Review: Boho bags

 

This lovely book by Beate Schmitz is full of ideas for making a variety of useful bags, perfect for using up the small pieces of fabric we all have at home, or for treating yourself to a half metre of something gorgeous from the huge range of furnishing fabrics here at Livingstone Textiles!

There are detailed, illustrated instructions  for a range of bags from small bags for keys and change through to large tote bags and striking messenger bags. Also included are full-size patterns in a storage pocket in the back of the book; all in all a useful and well thought out addition to your bookshelf, and a bargain at only £8.99!

Most curtain fabrics can be used for making bags, and also many craft fabrics are suitable for smaller bags, or larger ones with use of a heavier interfacing. Browse our online selection by clicking on the pictures below, or visit our stores in Bridport Dorset or Yeovil Somerset to see a larger range.

 

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Scandi Shepherd’s Hut

 

 

Down here in the Westcountry there is a fast growing trend for Shepherds Huts as a place of retreat and sanctuary.

Folks with a little bit of land or a large enough garden are choosing them as an option to rent as holiday accomodation too, cosying them up with little wood burners and simple living essentials .

At Livingstone Textiles we have furnished some unusual dwellings with our cloth, most memorably a tree house in a secluded valley not far from our front door.  This week we’ve been working on a shepherds hut where a simplistic approach was requested.

Our client opted for a scandinavian inspired design of lollipop trees on a white background and an unusual lining.  Choosing a ticking stripe for the reverse means that the little hut will look just as lovely from the outside as from the in and we think the effect is beautifully rustic.

 

 

To find out more about this fabric and others that are suitable for curtains and soft furnishings click here.

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Bridport Lighting lampshades

Bridport Lighting has been creating some wonderful lampshades using fabrics from Livingstone Textiles.

From seaside themed fabrics to floral or animal designs they have been creating wonderful peices to suit any room in your home. With lovely lamps to accompany the shades there is plenty to choose from there! The lampshades come in a variety of sizes in each design to fit small desk lamps up to larger floor standing lamps or even to hang from the ceiling in the centre of you room.

If you are thinking you would like to have a go yourself , there are lampshade making kits available to purchase here at Livingstone Textiles and a huge range of fabrics to choose from to customise your very own lampshade.

 

 

 

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Waxtastic Beeswax Wraps from Damers First School Eco Enforcers

We have a strong ethos about waste at Livingstone Textiles. Wherever possible we reuse plastic and we recycle almost everything! So we were happy to be approached by Damers First School when they were looking to source fabric for their Eco Enforcers newest project. They have developed a product called Waxtastic No Plastic, which is cotton dipped in beeswax to make a natural antibacterial alternative to cling film for wrapping or covering food other than meat. The wraps can be washed and last for up to a year.

Sales are going well and you can pick up your own Waxtastic wraps at  Poundbury Farmers Market on Saturday 7th July from 9am to 12pm, getting into the spirit of Plastic Free July. The Eco Enforcers will also be attending Dorset Food and Arts Festival on 4th August in Poundbury and both days of the Dorset County Show on 1st and 2nd September.

We congratulate Damers First School on their fantastic product.

If you want to reduce your own use of plastic still further, don’t forget our new Waste Not Want Not shop on South Street in Bridport, and you can also make yourself a stylish sandwich holder using our instructions.

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Toucan Play

This rather special bag was made by one of our very talented Bridport customers who from time to time pops into the shop to share her latest creations.

This time she has been working on a stunning little satchel to wear whilst riding her bike.  She has used our vivid toucan fabric with bright orange twill as a contrast on the sides.  We adore the fuschia pink lining that picks out the colours in the parrot on the front.  She has also made a matching hat and definitely adds a bright splash of colour when she cycles around the town. Thank you for sharing this with us, we love to see anything you’ve made 🙂

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Beeswax wraps

The children at Damers first school, Poundbury, Dorchester have been taking part in the National Young Enterprise Fiver Challenge. They have come up with the great idea to make Beeswax wraps, which are 100% cotton material covered in bees wax, dried, then they can be used as an alternative to cling film to wrap or cover food except meat.

The school came to us for some donations of dots/spots or plain fabric made of 100% cotton, which we have provided to help them with their project. They have also managed to source local Dorset beeswax to make these.

We have been sent a picture of the finished product all packaged up and looking very professional!

 

These wraps will be on sale at the Dorset Food and Arts Festival on 4th August on Poundbury. Also, the school will be at both days of the Dorset County Show on 1st and 2nd September.

These wraps are great for the environment and are easy to make, so if you can’t make it to either of the above events then why not give making them yourself a go! We have plenty of fun and bright fabrics in 100% cotton to choose from here at Livingstone Textiles, this would be great for something to do with your childeren over the summer holidays.

 

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Summer Sun Loungers

One of the staff at Livingstone Textiles has transformed a pair of 1970’s Deckchairs with some new foam and a smart striped canvas weave.

She upcycled an old pair of curtains as the backing and made a slip on cover to fit over the ends of the chairs. We think the orange fabric gives a nod to the seventies without the overpowering Flower Power Man

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Make an easy Easter Bunny

Rabbit familyThis lovely Easter bunny is really easy to make. We made ours by simply knitting a square with super chunky yarn, available from our Yeovil store, in garter stitch. Our square was made by casting on 30 stitches but you can make yours any size you like. You will want to vary the weight of the yarn if you are making a smaller bunny. Alternatively if you are not a knitter, why not try using the same principle with fabric? How about a hessian bunny for instance? (You can see at the end of the post how this turned out.)

Checking squareSimply knit in garter stitch until your piece is square (you can check by folding into a triangle as shown) then cast off. Now you are going to create your rabbit shape. Fold down cornersFind the middle of the top of your knitting and fold over both corners as shown. this shows where your stitching needs to go.

 

 

Stitch linesLeaving a tail, sew a running stitch along the lines shown in black in the picture, using one length of wool.

Pulled up stitchesPull on both ends of the wool to form the ears and the head. Your bunny will look a bit sad at this stage, so put some toy stuffing into the head to give a good shape and sew it closed at the back.

 

Sew back closedNext sew the back together down to the bottom edge. Fill the body with toy stuffing, then use a running stitch around the bottom edge and pull up to gather the base closed. Fasten off and sew in any loose ends.

Embroider eyes and noseNow use some black wool to embroider eyes and a nose, then give him a ribbon around his neck. Lastly make a pompom for his tail, or use one of our large white pompoms, sew this on and your rabbit is ready for Easter.

 

 

Here’s how our hessian experiment turned out, let us know if you tried anything else!

Hessian bunny

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Dolls clothing

This is Barbra, the doll, she belongs to Bev Taylor of Taylor Made who is one of our regular customers. Barbra has popped into visit us to show off her great new outfit which has been made for her by Bev using our fabrics and trims.

She has used mainly 100% cotton fabric, which is the red with cream leaf/ floral design that you can see, this particular fabric we have in stock in many different colour ways. She has also included red fleece on the bonnet which you can visit one of our shops to purchase, again we have this fabric in a range of colours. The trims used around the edges of the dress are also in stock, why not have a quick look at our range here, we also have plenty more designs in stock for every occasion. To finish this garment off Bev has used our 3D ribbon roses, follow this link to have a look at our range.

Why not have a go at making your own dolls clothing, this would be great for a small project to keep you busy and indoors during this cold weather!

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Classic Corduroys

Our selection of corduroy fabrics in a range of fun colours and designs is enough to get anyone inspired to sew, giving you endless options for your corduroy project. All of our corduroys are 100% cotton, is known for being warm and hard wearing which is perfect for this chilly weather, we have a range of different sized wales (sizes between the ridges) including needle cords.

DSC_1734One of our regular customers has been busy making this fabulous, yet simple dress, from our teal cord and has worn it into the Bridport shop to show off her hard work!