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Dragon Toy Make & Toy Making Resources

Making toys as gifts is enormously satisfying and one of our staff recently got bitten by the bug with this fantastic dragon pattern by Simplicity – number 8715. We hope you like the results!

This pattern is designed to be made with lightweight minke fleece, but we wanted to use a delicious raspberry plush fabric we have in store to make it even more cuddly. This meant a few extra things we had to think about in the making up

  • The cutting layout. We had to think about what direction we wanted the nap to lie on every piece, which meant we couldn’t use the cutting layout in the pattern. (You have to be able to stroke your dragon just like a cat!)
  • Transferring markings. It was not easy to transfer markings from the pattern pieces as the plush fabric did not take markings well (probably also true with fleece). We ended up using tailors tacks to mark the position of the horns and eyes on the head.
  • Securing fabric for sewing. The plush fabric has a tendency to move around when you are sewing because of the pile. The seam allowances on this pattern were pretty small so this mattered more than ever. We solved this by choosing to tack every seam before sewing.

If you are thinking about making some toys yourself to give as gifts or just to have at home, we have lots of items here at Livingstone Textiles. The Simplicity catalogue has a whole section devoted to toys and accessories (patterns are kept in stock), and we also have a good range of books containing toys to sew, knit or crochet. We also stock the following:

  • Hollowfibre toy stuffing in 3 different sizes of bags
  • Pompoms and bells
  • Toy safety eyes in black and amber in various sizes
  • Yarn for knitting and crochet at our Yeovil store
  • Knitting and crochet patterns at Yeovil
  • Felt in a wide range of colours by the metre and as 9″/23cm squares
  • Ribbons and other trims
  • Extra long doll making needles
  • And of course a massive range of fabrics
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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.

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Remembrance Poppies & Digital Textile Printing

Time marches on and as we come to remember the fallen at war on November the 11th, a poppy is worn in remembrance.  Fabric has essentially remained unchanged across millenia, being a woven cloth of fine threads but the decoration techniques have come and gone as fashion dictated.  The printing process on all mediums has changed dramatically over the centuries and the newest technologies are now employed to create fabrics that more closely resemble works of art.  Digital Textile Printing is an exciting new way of designing and creating all kinds of fabrics.  It is the technology of printing designs onto fabric directly from a computer with no other steps involved in the process.

* A Design is Created

* Design is placed in Repeat

* Design is Printed directly onto fabric

The processes involved in digital printing are far cleaner, faster and more cost effective than conventional screen printing.  Cloth is normally pre-treated to hold the dye fast, to enable quality control and to achieve truer colours.  Some of the inks used may also need a post treatment such as steaming or heating to set the ink and keep it from fading or bleaching out in sunlight.

The concept of digital printing opens up many new opportunities for designers, artists, merchandisers and sales personnel because it is fast, efficient and cost effective.  Without the need to create a fresh screen for every new artwork, a designer can print:

* Small pieces or large rolls

* Garments & Apparell

* Flags & Banners

* Samples

* Interior Design Fabrics

To create a digital fabric, a designer will create sample tiles with a graphics tablet or another software programme such as Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop.  They design by selecting available digital inks to create swatches in a digital library.  They will then use a drawing programme to sketch out a design and then infill colour using the selected swatches from their colour library.  The drawn and coloured design tile is then placed in repeat and saved as a pdf.  This resolution is then set to the designers preferred printers requirements using another programme, leaving the designer with a print ready file of their artwork that can be uploaded directly to their printing company, printed onto a fabric and then posted back in a matter of days.

We have some really beautiful digital prints at Livingstones, we all love this new technology because it can convey the delicate washes of watercolour as well as heavier art techniques like oils and acrylics.

The Poppy design featured above has proved very popular as has the vibrant Hummingbird.  See below for more digital fabrics that are currently available to purchase on our website.

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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.

For these curtains we have used a lightweight polyester lining and we also stock polyester in a heavy weight as well.

If you prefer a natural fabric, we can supply and/or make interlinings in both lightweight and heavyweight cotton bumps as shown below.

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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.

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Bonfire Nights

We are still loving this stunning fabric from Chess and named Grassland, it sums up misty autumn mornings, foxes out hunting for food and and smoky bonfires. The pigments in this Paprika colourway are particularly seasonal with its orangey hues and a Roman Blind from this teamed with luxurious velvet curtains will create a super cosy space to relax out of the wind and rain.

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Winter Woolies

A few frosty mornings have left us reaching for thicker layers in the wardrobe. If you’re discovering a gap in your winter clothing supplies you might consider sewing yourself a colourful new pair of slacks or cords, maybe a thick, warm maxi skirt or a smart tweed pencil skirt to wear for work with a pair of thick tights. You could also consider making a pair of thick jumbo cords for the eccentric gentleman in your life, the colours we have to choose from are bright & cheerful for the cold grey days of winter. Don’t forget that we have a great choice of patterns available in our New Look and Simplicity pattern books and if you are a novice, pick up a copy of the brilliant dressmaking techniques book from our shop. Its clear, step by step instructions will guide you through many shortcuts and techniques to get your finished projects looking neat and completed efficiently. Find out more here

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10% Discount on Xmas Books

Throughout November we are offering a discount of 10% on every book that we stock on Christmas Crafts. This offer is available in both of our shops and includes all of our knitting books from King Cole as well. With the weather turning colder and the evenings becoming darker, now is the perfect time to make gifts for your friends and family and get ahead of the Christmas Crazy shopping. Handmade gifts mean so much more to those who receive them and it takes the pressure off your bank balance as well. Our books have so many lovely projects in that you will be able to use them for many seasons and if you’re not the kind of person who creates handmade gifts or hasn’t discovered knitting or sewing then you might like to give a book as a present to someone who just can’t get enough of it.

The Debbie Shore advent calendars book has some lovely original ideas for making a stylish festive treat that will also look great as a decoration. There are also a few copies of these great Festive decoration books as well, all with 10% discount throughout November.

Here are a selection of the Christmas knitting and crochet books:

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Which Tartan can I wear?

We sell a lot of beautiful tartans at Livingstone Textiles and one question that seems to come up again and again is ‘which tartan am I allowed to wear if I’m not Scottish? Well the answer to that is quite simply that you can wear any tartan that you like, the only exception to this rule is the Balmoral tartan which by royal decree should only be worn by the Royal Family. Many people think that they can only wear the Black Watch or the Stewart so you’ll be pleased to learn that you can buy and wear any of the tartans in our shop in complete confidence.

Here’s a small selection of what we currently have in stock. We also sell gorgeously snuggly tartan fleece as well and it makes great pyjama trousers 🙂

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Socks From Norway

Book Review

We have some lovely craft books at Livingstone Textiles and occasionally time allows us to have a quick flick through our favourites and now the evenings are drawing in again, thoughts turn to cosy lap projects.

The lovely book ‘Socks From Norway’ is a current favourite with the knitters in Bridport. Featuring bright glossy colour photographs and clear instructions on A4 pages, it is a pleasure to read and to work from. It features over 40 sock patterns suitable for all of the family, mostly womens but also included are designs for Baby and Grandpa and each of the designs is inspired by traditional Norwegian designs that have been preserved in private collections and museums. The author has designed easy to use pattern charts along with detailed drawings to demonstrate the different techniques involved with sock knitting as well as a list of all the abbreviations. Every sock pattern has an interesting story behind it and pictures of the original textiles and makers that have inspired the pattern design so even if you don’t knit or have never tried knitting socks, the book is a thoroughly interesting read. You can buy knitting wool and needles from our Yeovil branch and wool will soon be available to buy at our Bridport shop.

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Panther Velvet

Stunning New Textured Velvets

This glorious new range of crushed heavy weight velvets from Fibre Naturelle are made from 100% polyester and measure 140cm wide. The fabric has no pattern repeat, making it very simple to create heavy and glossy curtains from and is available to order at £41.80 per metre. The weight and feel of this beautiful cloth is as you might imagine the fur of a seal to be and the hardwearing Martindale test of 40,000 rubs allows it to be used as an upholstery fabric that will transform any piece of furniture into a luxury item. Find out more about the Martindale test here

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Blind Cassette Repairs

Detached Strings wound inside the cassette

Very occasionally strings on a Roman Blind pull out of the safety toggle at the bottom of the blind, particularly if it is a very heavy or long blind and has been subject to force. It can seem quite an impossible task to work out how to get the cords out of the cassette and threaded back through the blind. Fortunately because we assemble these blinds we are able to help and advise you on how to get it working correctly again and if you don’t feel confident about doing it yourself, you can leave it with us and we’ll take it apart and get it going. There is usually a small fee for this which also covers any other minor repairs that need doing such as loose rings or missing safety devices and we can replace any worn strings as well. Give us a call or just pop in to the Bridport shop with the blind and we’ll see to it for you.

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Day of The Dead

Funky House Trousers

These groovy trousers were made by Laura at Livingstone Textiles, Bridport and are perfect for slipping into after work and lounging about. They are made from 100% cotton poplin in a simple pull on style and feature a comfy sewn on waistband with a channel for the elastic so it doesn’t spin round. The channel also adds a decorative frill effect at the top of the trousers, creating a feminine touch. There’s a single pocket for your phone at the front and openings in the leg hems so that cord can be added for a tied up effect.

We have lots of this great material in stock at both of our stores and it’s available in three different coulourway; black, pink and yellow. It’s 112cm / 44″ wide and at only £7.50 per metre the cost of making these trousers was under £15, what a bargain!

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Is it time for Christmas Makes Yet?

We’ve been selling Christmas fabric, fat quarters and trimmings for a few weeks now, so you might enjoy a look this lovely book full of advent calendar ideas for some Christmassy inspiration!

It has everything from traditional pocket-type wall hanging calendars to bunting, trains, and scandi chic felt creations – something for every home. Pair this up with our Christmas fabrics and trims, and our range of acrylic and vintage felts, and you will have everything you need for a beautiful handmade countdown to Christmas!

Only £9.99

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Swedish Blind

We are introducing an exciting new style of blind to our make-up service!

The Swedish blind is ideal for windows where a roman blind doesn’t work and a roller blind is just too dull, or just for a slightly more adventurous splash of colour at your window. This introduces a great soft furnishing to your window with the freedom to choose two complimentary fabrics, meaning the blind looks great from both the inside and from the outside.

This blind works by using a similar system to a tradition roman blind, in which a top wooden baton is used with eyelets to guide the cords. These cords loop around the fabric to pull it up from the bottom this creates a roll that travels up the blind. This way of rolling up allows the lining fabric to be seen from the inside of the room giving this blind its unique look.

Love this blind but would like black out material to stop the light coming in? We can also make these with black out material inside so that you still get two fabrics and a black out blind!

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Pattern Hacking

What is pattern hacking? If you make clothes at home, you’ve probably done this already; taking a dress pattern and adapting it by changing the length, or swopping the type of fabric, or even by mixing two patterns to produce a completely unique garment.

Simplicity are running a pattern hacking competition at the moment, based on nine of their current patterns, so get your creative head on for a chance to win a new sewing machine!

There’s a Simplicity Youtube video to give you some inspiration, or just let your imagination run wild – we’ve got all the fabrics and trims you need! The competition runs until 31 january 2020, so you’ve plenty of time to plan and make, but don’t forget that our Simplicity patterns (including the pattern hacking ones) are on sale right now.

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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!

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Bags of Choice!

One of our fabulous project books and a handful of remnants is a match made in heaven!

We’ve been busy bundling up more of our lovely furnishing fabric remnants, giving you the chance to grab a piece of beautiful fabric which is just the right size for a craft project, like a bag.

Take a look at our book range next time you’re in the shop, and you may just see the perfect project for that perfect remnant!

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Eyelet Curtains

Did you know that we make high quality professional eyelet curtains with pressed rings? This superior method uses an industrial press, which ensures that all of the fabric layers are sealed together in the heading. This method means the eyelets are an integral part of the curtain making them much stronger.

What are the benefits of eyelets? Having eyelets that are pressed into the fabric not only makes the finished curtain more robust, but also means they are also smooth and easy to slide when opening and closing your curtains. They give a great modern finish and there is no need for curtain hooks and rings for you pole!

With our eyelet curtain make up service, you can choose from a range of colours for the eyelets, so you can have the finished look you desire. Why not come and have a look at our range? We can give you a free no obligation quote and talk you through the options we offer.

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The Sale Rack

We’ve added many new rolls of cloth to our sale rack in order to make room for our new autumn/winter 2019 collection of dress and furnishing fabrics. With a minimum of 25% off our original retail prices and many rolls of several metres you are sure to find your next project requirements here.

If you’re struggling to find anything suitable then have a look at our remanant baskets around the store where we put all of our workroom offcuts and end pieces from the roll stock. There are some fabulous bargains to be had and some good size pieces in there ready to mix and match as cushions or create cool and original bags from.

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Totally Locally Bridport Returns October 2019

We know our customers are loyal and love to spend locally, so we hope you will join us in encouraging new visitors to our store. At the same time we would like to reward our existing customers with a lovely deal. This time we are offering a super Fat Quarter mini bundle. You can get 2 patterned fat quarters and one plain fat quarter for only £5 (normal price £7.20) – your choice of any from our stocks. There is no limit to how many bundles you can buy at this price, but it is only available at our Bridport store as the Totally Locally Fiver Fest is run on a town by town basis. This offer is only available during the Fiver Fest, which runs from 5th to 12th October. (The prepacked Christmas fat quarter bundles are not included in this offer)

You can also pick up a pair of these beautiful ornate scissors in antique gold finish for only £5, a perfect gift or stocking filler. We have limited stocks of these scissors so this offer is only available while stocks last.

So please pop in between 5th and 12th of October and please share with any friends who have not discovered us yet!