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Will snow affect us?

Due to the very cold weather and the threat of snow coming in, there is a possibility that this may affect the opening of our Yeovil shop…. that is if the white stuff falls and settles! If this is the case, or you are unsure, then we recommend that you phone the Yeovil shop on 01935 422631 before setting out to ensure that we are open and that you don’t waste a journey.

Our Bridport shop should remain unaffected, however, if the weather is really bad then please do feel free to call 01308 456844 to ensure we are open.

Keep warm and wrapped up everyone!

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Choosing Linings for Curtains and Blinds

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

We stock a wide range of curtain linings and curtain interlinings (also known as curtain bump) to suit your specific requirements when choosing new curtains or blinds for your home.  Curtain linings are used to prolong the life of the more expensive show fabric and offer protection from the sun and other elements that could otherwise cause deterioration of the cloth.  They also enable more of the pattern and colour to be seen inside the room when light is on the otherside, ie; daylight, sunlight and streetlight as these will be shining straight through your fabric. Continue reading Choosing Linings for Curtains and Blinds

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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What is… Nap?

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

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

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

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

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

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What is… Cotton Fabric?

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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What is… Jersey and How Do You Sew It Successfully?

Jersey top
Jersey top

Not knowing what a fabric is can make it seem scary, and means you might not want to sew with it. That is how maany people have come to feel about Jersey and other stretch fabrics. In fact once you know what you are doing, jersey is not scary and has a lot of benefits to being able to sew with it.

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

The benefits of Jersey and stretch fabrics are also the part that people find scary, which is the stretch. People worry that they won’t be able to sew with a stretchy fabric and that it will pucker under the stitches, which can be true if using the wrong stitch. The best way to sew with a stretch fabric is to sew with a small zig zag. This stitch allows the fabric to still move and therefore stops the puckering. Another option is to use a stretch stitch setting if your sewing machine has one. This can be either straight or zig-zag and involves the machine making 3 stitches next to each other very slightly offset, which lets the seam stretch with the fabric. A third tip is to use a walking foot for sewing jersey, this stops the top layer of fabric in the seam ‘creeping’ as you sew.

Once over the fear of sewing with the material, it is then possible to see the benefits of this very versatile fabric. The benefit is that it is stretchy, meaning it can be very flattering to the figure, it will stretch if you have sewn the item a little too tight, and most of the time with jersey garments you don’t need zips! Another top advantage is that most jersey fabric does not fray when cut so all that tiresome oversewing of the cut edges of your garment are done away with, making sewing up of jersey garments really speedy. You can even use this feature to allow you to make designs on the garment by appliqueing on layers and cutting designs in the jersey as in this example.Example of cut jersey design

Stretch fabrics can be made with a range of different fibres, from the synthetic lycras and elastines to the natural cottons and viscoses. Each with different levels of stretch and with different qualities to complement different garments.

Top Tips to sewing with Jersey;

  • Sew with zig-zag stitch or use stretch stitch setting on your machine
  • Pin lots to stop it from slipping, and/or use a walking foot
  • Always use a ball point needle to sew
  • For added extra ease cut with a rotterycutter 
  • Jersey doesn’t fray and hemming is not always necessary

Interested in trying out Jersey or stretch fabrics? Click here to see our range of jersey fabrics we have to offer on our website.

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What is… piping?

2016-05-25 14.21.00In sewing, piping is a type of trim, or embellishment. It is made from a strip of fabric that is folded in half over a piece of piping cord then sewn down the edge. It can then be added to seams of cushions, garments, upholstery pieces to act as decoration, or to define edges. Piping can add those finishing touches to your piece of sewing. The small strip of fabric used in the piping is usually cut on the bias. Cutting fabric on the bias is done as the fabric becomes easier to bend around corners avoiding puckering of the fabric. Click here to learn how to cut on the bias and what it is. Pipings can be made from strips of fabric that have not been cut on the bias but these would only be practical if the pipings are to be used in a straight line. Pipings can be made with smaller or bigger cord depending where the decoration is going, for example, a small piping might be needed to edge the top of the skirt whereas a bigger piping might be needed to edge a sofa cushion. It’s great to know how to make your own so you have the freedom to choose what size piping you want and in which colour. It’s really easy to make your own piping when you know how – if you are interested in making your own follow these easy steps on how to make piping for help and guidance.

If you’re not interested in making your own, we do sell a range of pre-made pipings in a range WIN_20170211_12_40_30_Proof different colours, these are available at both our shops in Bridport Dorset and Yeovil Somerset.

Piped envelope cushion
Piped envelope cushion

See here for how to make a piped envelope cushion with pre-made piping.

If you would like more information on the products we sell you can contact us and we will be happy to help or if you are near one of our stores pop in and see one of our knowledgeable members of staff who will be more than willing to give you help and advice on your sewing projects.

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What is… flame proofing?

What is flameproofing?

Flameproofed, fire retarded, fireproofed, these are common words that you might hear when looking at different fabrics, but what does it mean? It is a process used for treating both natural and synthetic materials and fabrics so they are flame resistant. This is not to say that they will not catch on fire as fire is such a massive force of nature, however, having the fabric treated will slow the effect of the fire.

How is flameproofing achieved?

At Livingstone Textiles there are two ways you can have your materials flame proofed, the first way is to have the materials treated at the manufacturers, this has to be decided at the ordering stage, and the materials are then treated before being made into the product of your choice. This way you know the material has been completely treated to a manufacturers standard. The alternative way to this is to treat the fabric yourself, Livingstone Textiles can supply a fire retarding treatment, which involves spraying the completed project or fabric with a fire retarding liquid. This is not a service we offer it is something the customer has to do.

What and where needs to be flameproofed?

Items such as sofas, curtains, beds, furniture, cushions can be treated and as stated above can really help to reduce the risk of a fire spreading if one was to happen. Within the home curtains and soft furnishings is not something that is a legal requirement to be treated, however, if these items are treated the risk of a fire spreading if one was to happen in your home would be reduced. Within public areas, such as hospitals, care homes, bar, night clubs and many more places, it is a legal requirement to have soft furnishings treated. If you are thinking of having something treated for fire proofing please check with your own legal requirements first.

 

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What is… Curtain Headings?

Once you have picked your fabric the next thing you will need to think about is what heading tape you might like. There are many different types and each different one will effect the final hang and look of the curtain. The style of chosen fabric many also influence the type of heading that is chosen.

Eyelet Curtains

Eyelet curtains are curtains with the fabric hanging through the pole with eyelets or rings. This style of curtains means the fabric will hang with a slight wave rather than a tight gather. This style produces a beautiful modern look, however, the down side is these curtains can only be hung on curtain poles and not tracks.

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Pencil Pleat Curtains

This the most common style of heading tape as they are easier to move from window to window. The tape is sewn onto the back of the material and is pulled tighter and looser depending on the size of the window. The fullness of these curtains varies from 1.5 fullness to 3 times fullness. You can have different thickness of header tape and this gives different finishes.

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Triple Pleat and Double Pleat Curtains

Our triple pleat curtains are made in a tradition way using buckram, each pleat is sewn in. These curtains have a beautiful finish because the pleats are sewn in giving them an even gather. They work well hung on a pole and on a traditional curtain track.

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Wave Tape Curtains

Wave curtains is a modern heading tape that gets sewn to the top of the material, these then pull creating a simple wave gather to the fabric, similar to the eyelet curtains without the holes. These create a modern and sleek look to the window.

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Tab Top Curtains

Tap top curtains can only be used with a pole. Fabric is used to create tabs that loop over the pole.

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Interlined Curtains

 

 

 

 

 

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What is…….an Overlocker?

Owning your first Overlocker is incredibly exciting but it can also be rather daunting.Overlocker technique manual Just learning how to thread the machine can be enough to frighten some owners into leaving it in a cupboard, never to see the light of day, but it doesn’t have to be scary.  This easy to understand book sets out each step of using an overlocker with clear diagrams and plain English.  An overlocker is simply a machine that gives you beautiful and professionally finished seams and edges.  It can be used for hemming, trimming and enclosing seams at the same time and rolled hems.  It can also produce decorative stitches.  An overlocker is a machine for finishing seams and it cuts off excess fabric with a blade that comes up from under the machine.  When threaded with coloured threads to match your project, the seams can be transformed into a decoration and you can even add beads to edges with an attachment.  This book explains everything you need to know and can be bought from Livingstone Textiles, Bridport.

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What is… batting?

BattingBatting or also know as wadding is a material that sandwiches between two pieces of fabric when making a quilt, or where you would like your material to have padding. There are many different types of batting which can also have different weights and at Livingstone Textiles we stock a wide range of these here is an overview of the products that Livingstone Textiles sell and what each is ideally used for.

Polyester Wadding 2oz and 6oz

2oz wadding-  The 2oz wadding refers to the weight of the product, if a metre squared of this product was weighted it would weight 2 oz. This particually wadding is very thin and would only give a very small amount of padding to any sewing. This is weight would be good for if making a light weight bed runner or for padding on small sewing projects but due to the nature of its density would not give much warmth or padding.

6oz wadding- The 6oz wadding is much the same and the 2oz only it is thicker and slightly heavier. When resting it is about 1/2″ thick and this would be better for projects where more padding is needed. This can be used to act as a wadding around foam cushions to give them a softer finish. Both the 2oz and 6oz waddings are 140cm wide.

Needle Punched Polyester

With needle punched wadding the polyester fibres are punched into a strong, thin base material which prevents bunching when quilt making. The fibres will also stay in place after many washes and tumble dried so your quilt will not be left bunched up. The thin base material also holds the fibres in place so when machine sewing it prevents slipping, it is also thin yet dense so you get the warmth without the thickness.

Needle Punched Cotton

Needle punched cotton wadding or batting is much the same as the polyester, however, it is made with 100% cotton. This is idea for if the project is being made with 100% materials as they will all react in the same way with different conditions such as washing and humidity.

Insulated Wadding

This is a polyester needle punched wadding that is punched through a nonwoven substrate and through a reflective film. The needled material breathes and won’t break down with washing. The fibre resists conduction while the reflective metallised film resists radiant energy.   This makes it ideal for many different kitchen craft projects from oven mitts to ironing boards.  This is only 57cm wide.

Fusible Fleece

This is a wadding that is fusible on one side making quilting projects quicker and easier to do, the wadding is ironed to one side of the fabric fusing it meaning that it is stable and won’t move. This makes for quicker projects.

All of these wadding varies in price and widths if you would like further information or samples please contact us with your details and we will be happy to help.

 

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What are Pelmets and Valances?

Pelmets and Valances can really add to a pair of curtains if added correctly, this report outlines the correct proportion required when adding them and how the overall impact would have on the room.

Pelmets

A pelmet is a framework placed above a window which is used to conceal curtain fixtures. A pelmet can be made of plywood, can be painted or covered with fabric. Pelmets are placed 1/5th – 1/6th of the floor to track measurement, and if done right can be used to cause a dramatic effect to the room.

pelmet

Valances

This is much the same as a pelmet and is used in much the same way which is to hide the fixings and fittings of the curtain track. A valance is made from fabric, and can look much like a little curtain, it is attached with velcro to a fitting above the curtain.

 

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Image shows how valance attaches to the fittings with velcro
Image shows how valance attaches to the fittings with velcro

Livingstone Textiles offer a making service where we can advise you on the product that you require and the make to your needs. If you would like any further information on the please contact us and we will be happy to help.

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What Is Curtain Bump?

Cold weather means higher heating costs.  To keep these costs down a bit, why not have your new curtains made with interlining?  Even double glazed windows tend to have cold air circulating them that can create uncomfortable draughts.

Traditionally called ‘Bump’, interlining can stop cold air from entering the room when the curtains or blinds are drawn because it is a dense layer that sits between the show cloth and the curtain lining. We provide two different weights, lightweight for a thin warm layer and heavy weight for a thicker, more luxurious finish.  Adding bump to both Roman Blinds and curtains make them fuller at the window as well acting as an insulator.  It’s certainly a much cheaper option than replacement windows.

Our polyester curtain bump is £3.30 per metre for lightweight and £5.70 for heavyweight.  The natural cotton bump is £4.50 per metre and the heavyweight is £5.90 per metre.  All are 54″/140cm wide and available from both of our shops, as well as by telephone order (01308 456844) and our online shop.

Polyester Curtain Interlining Lightweight

Lightweight polyester

Lightweight Cotton

Heavyweight Cotton

Heavyweight Polyester

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What is…..a Fat Quarter?

Ever wondered what a Fat Quarter is? We have a whole stack of them in our shop and they are often mistakenly referred to as ‘scraps of fabric’ A Fat Quarter is a quarter of a yard of fabric. If we cut strips selvedge to selvedge then we end up with a long thin strip that has a limit to the projects that can be made from it.  These strips are known as border pieces and they can be used to edge panels of patchwork.  What is more useful to the crafter is for us to cut a quarter of a yard of fabric into a rectangle shape.  We lay the fabric out and cut it in half vertically then again horizontally so it looks a bit like a window pane.  This makes the quarter of a yard ‘fat’ not long or ‘thin’  A fat quarter should measure approximately 45cm x 50cm but it might be as big as 45cm x 57cm, it all depends on the width of the cloth as we cut.

All of our fat quarters are cut from our large selection of dress cottons, some plain, some patterned, some floral and some dotty.  We sell them individually so you can select a small piece of material for a little project but we also put bundles of colours and patterns together for you so that you can save time in matching up fabrics.  Buying a bundle makes it easier to buy a larger selection of fabrics in small amounts and to coordinate your projects.These bundles could make coordinating napkins for the Christmas table or maybe a collection of decorations for the tree.  For more inspiration and ideas we sell a great book by Wendy Gardiner that will teach you step by step, how to make lovely gifts and decorations for the home and family.Fun with Fat Quarters book

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What is Triple Pleat Curtain?

DSC_4619Triple pleat curtain is a type of header that is used on the top of curtains, in the same way, there are eyelet curtains and pencil pleat curtains, there are pleated curtains.

The simplest way of thinking about it is the curtains are pinched at the top along the header.

At Livingstone textiles when we make pinch pleat curtains we tend to make them with buckram, buckram is a very stitch interlining that is ironable on one side, this is a more traditional way of making them. The buckram gets sewn between the curtain material and the lining and is used to stiffen the top. The top where the buckram is placed is then pinched and sewn to create a beautiful even pinch at the top. They effect can also be gained with a pinch pleat header tape that is sewn along the top of the curtain in the same way standard header tape is used.

This same process is used to create triple pleat curtains and double pleat curtains.

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What is Acrylic?

What is Acrylic in terms of fabric?

There are many different types of fabric type, from natural cottons to synthetic polyesters. Acrylic material fits into the synthetic range. It is a fibre that is made from polymer. Acrylic fibre is a strong and warm material that is often used in some garments like jumpers and gloves, however it is also used in furnishing fabrics.

Livingstone Textiles best sold acrylic material is the acrylic felt which can be purchased at both our stores in Bridport Dorset and Yeovil Somerset. We also sell acrylic felt on our web shop.

 

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What is fullness in a curtain?

If you are having bespoke curtains made for you one of the questions you might be asked is “what fullness would you like?” If you are completely new to curtain making or even new to having your curtains made you might not know what that means, if so have a quick read of this “what is…” guide for more information.

Fullness-   Fullness of a curtain is how much fabric you have gathered into it when it is pulled. Most people will have a curtain at X2 fullness. This means they have twice as much fabric across the width of the window, to give it beautiful even pleats when pulled and gathered.

Different curtain header tape requires different fullness’s of fabric if you are in any double always ask one of our friendly and helpful members of staff.

 

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What is a Martindale Rub Test?

A Martindale rub test a unit measuring the abrasion resistance of textiles, it is used a lot within upholstery and is something that should be considered when choosing a fabric for an upholstery project.

The Martindale rub test simulates the natural wear of fabric. The textile is rubbed against a standard abrasive surface at a specified force. The test works in intervals of 5000 and carries on until the material is worn to a specified degree.

The higher the value the more resistant the fabric is to wear.

Upholstery fabrics with a high rub test;

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For  more upholstry fabrics vistit our web shop.Buy online via our Webshop

 

 

We offer an extensive upholstery and making serice at Livingstone Textiles, contact us for more information.