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How to hang pencil pleat curtains

pencil pleat curtains made to measure

A simple guide on how to hang your pencil pleat curtains – and how to make a great job of it! If you’ve taken time to choose a beautiful fabric to enhance your home, and (hopefully!) chosen to have your curtains made by our expert makers, then you’ll want to hang your curtains properly to make them, and your room, look amazing.

rating beginner

Time needed: 30 minutes.

  1. First, have a look at the header tape

    Before you start to hang your pencil pleat curtains, take a look at the header tape. There are rows of strings on the header tape which are used to gather up the pleats. Our makers will sew these off at one end, which will be the leading edge, where the curtains meet. Your curtains might be different, so if the strings are not sewn in, tie them off at one end and try to have that as the edge where the curtains meet.

  2. Measure up!

    Measure your curtain pole or track and divide the number by two. This is roughly how wide each curtain needs to be; add a little bit extra so that your curtains are a little bit wider than they need to be so that they will close comfortably.

  3. Gather up

    Pull the unknotted strings to gather the curtains until they are just a bit wider than half the track; this is how you give the pencil pleat curtains their nice even gathers. Make sure you pull all the strings evenly so that the header tape gathers up evenly, then tie off the long end to keep your curtains gathered. Don’t cut the cord, just in case you want to move or adjust your curtains; you can bundle up the strings, pop them in a bag, or use a cord tidy if you like.

  4. Now do some maths…

    Count up how many curtain rings or gliders you have on your pole or track. This is the total number of hooks you need. Now divide that number in half. This is the total number of hooks you need on each curtain

  5. Then add your hooks

    Space out your hooks on the header tape before you start to put them in; a nice even spread will make your pencil pleat curtains hang evenly. You’ll see that the tape has several rows of pockets for the hooks; you need to make sure that you use the same row all the way along and on both curtains. For curtains on a pole you can use the top row of pockets, but for a track it’s better to use a lower one so that the top of the curtain hides the track. You’ll need a hook at the outside edge, and one a tiny way in from the inside edge for the best finish. Make sure you put the hooks into pockets.

  6. Ready to hang

    Now you are ready to hang your curtains. Before you start, consider how heavy your curtains are; for large or heavy curtains, it can be really helpful to have an assistant for this bit, to take the weight of the curtains while you hang them. As you already have the right number of hooks atached to your header tape, simply hook each one into a ring or glider, working from the outside edge and making sure that the hook at the outside edge goes into the fixed ring or end glider to keep your curtains in place.

  7. You’re done!

    Pencil pleat curtains are a classic look that suit almost every room. Hanging them properly is the finishing touch to set off your investment in your home.

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How to install a batten for a Roman Blind

This how-to will guide you through how to install a roman blind batten. If you’ve had your roman blinds made by our talented makers, then you’ll be keen to have them up at the windows as soon as possible, but taking a little time to get them hanging straight and firmly fixed is going to keep them looking good for a long time. Remember, if we have made your blinds, we also have a handyperson who is experienced in installing all types of blinds and curtains, so if you’re interested in this service just ask us for a quote.

skill level - confident

Time needed: 30 minutes.

You will need:
Wooden batten approx 1″ square, cut to length.
Metal screw eyes, you need 1 for each line of cord on your blind
Sticky backed hook Velcro
A wood saw
Screws long enough to go through the wood and fix into your window

  1. Decide how to fix your batten

    Deciding on how you are going to fix the roman blind batten will depend on the type of window frame – wood, metal or UPVC – and whether you are happy to fix the blind directly to this. If you cannot fix directly to the window frame (e.g. if you are renting the property or you simply don’t want to mark the frame) you may be able to fix a bracket to the ceiling and attach your batten here. Once you have decided on the fixing position, cut your batten to size.

  2. Prepare your batten

    With your batten is cut to size, lay it across the top of your blind, in line with its final position; this will allow you to see where the cords need to be attached. Make a mark on the batten in line with each cord – this is where you need to place the eyelets. Now drill small pilot holes on the marks ready for the eyelets. Use a 3mm drill bit suitable for wood, and don’t drill too deep – they are just there to start off the screw so that it doesn’t split the wood. Attach the Velcro at this point as well; remove the sticky back from the Velcro and place this along one side of the roman blind batten.

  3. Positioning the blind

    This step is easier with two people
    To make sure you’re fixing the blind in the right place, Attach your blind to the batten by the velcro, fully extend the blind and hold it in front of the window. Make sure it is central to the window and at the correct height (generally the bottom of the blind should hang just above the window sill) it is much easier if one person holds the blind in place while the other stands back to check it is in the correct position!
    Once you are happy, mark the window frame or ceiling to show where the roman blind batten should be fixed.
    If you are using ceiling brackets, then ensure that in this step you are able to line these up with the holes you are about to make.

  4. Drill the batten

    Mark the roman blind batten where the holes need to go. You should mark about 1 inch (2.5cm) in from each end and then evenly space the remaining holes about 12inches (30cm) apart. Make sure your marks are in the centre of the batten. Using a small drill bit, drill each hole all the way through the batten.

  5. Transfer the marks for drilling

    This step is easier with two people
    Now hold your batten back up to the window frame so that it lines up with the marks you made in step 3. if you are fixing directly into the window frame, transfer the position of the holes you have drilled into the batten onto the frame; this can be done by putting the drill back through the hole to mark the frame on the other side. You may find this easier to have someone hold the batten while you make the marks. Now remove the batten and drill a shallow pilot hole into the frame.

  6. Final step!

    You are now ready to fix to the window. Hold the roman blind batten in place and screw through into your pilot holes at your fixing points. Your batten should now be secure and ready to hang your blind. For more information on how to do that, check out our how-to.

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What is…Calico?

cotton plants calico

Calico is a basic cotton cloth which gets its distinctive speckled, natural finish from the way it is made; as it is made from partly processed and unbleached cotton fibres, the fabric usually contains flecks of the cotton seeds which get woven in. The natural fibres are what gives the fabric its versatility allowing it to be used for just about anything. It is durable, cheap and can be easily dyed, painted or printed on.

Calico traces back as far as the 11th century, when it originated in Calicut in southwestern India. It is a plain weave fabric; the warp and weft (the up to down and left to right weave of the fibres) woven equally. This simple weave means it can be made quickly and easily; both on mechanised looms as it is now, and on the non-mechanised looms of the 11th century.

We sell calico as a loomstate fabric, which means it has not been bleached or treated after weaving. Because of this it is liable to shrinkage and should always be washed before being used to make up any item that is likely to be washed in the future.

How to use calico

calico fabric

There are different weights or grades of calico, which can lend themselves to different uses. Calico is great to use for toiles to practice your pattern before setting off with your chosen and generally more expensive fabric. It is also great for bags, aprons and cushions and any craft project; calico can also be painted on and dyed just about any colour you can think of! Calico is also used in traditional upholstery as a lining. It can be used for just about any clothing, accessories or household furnishing and so is one of the most versatile fabrics available.

We have a range of different weights of calico available to buy at both our Bridport and Yeovil shops; to order online click here.

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How to apply roller blind backing

We sell roller blind backing by the metre, so that you can achieve a professional-looking finish at home with the fabric of your choice by just following these simple steps.

If you have a roller blind which needs replacing but your fixings are still perfectly ok, or you want a roller blind to match other window dressings in your room such as curtains, making your own blind will give you more choice, but for your blind to work smoothly you’ll need a specially treated roller blind fabric.

Ready- stiffened fabrics are available but this limits your choice. You could opt for a spray-on stiffener, but these can be messy and tricky to get right. The best solution we’ve found in our workroom is an iron-on roller blind backing. Using this backing you can use most fabrics as roller blind fabric, so long as it can take a hot iron and is not too thick to roll up once it is stiffened. Here’s our top tips to get it right!

If you need help measuring your window and then see our guide on how to measure for a Roman blind.

You will need:

  • Show Fabric (the fabric for the front of your blind)
  • Roller blind backing fabric
  • Steam iron
  • Large clean surface to iron on. You may like to protect the surface with a folded duvet cover or towel)
  • Tailor’s chalk (you can use a pen/pencil instead)
  • Tape measure
  • Set square (or something to ensure corners are right angles)

Time needed: 1 hour.

  1. Before you start:

    Make sure you have enough space to work, and that you have gathered everything you need. When choosing your show fabric, look at fabrics suitable for curtains; they’re heavier than dressmaking fabrics, but lighter and easier to work with than upholstery fabrics. You can use the Find My Fabric search tool on our webshop to guide you; cotton or poly cotton blends work really well, but always check the manufacturer’s care instructions before ironing, or test a piece of the fabric with a medium-hot iron.

  2. Calculating the amount of fabric

    Both the the show fabric and the backing are calculated in the same way. The width of each piece should be a minimum of 2cm (1″) wider than the finished size of your blind. So if your blind is 100cm wide when finished, you need at least 102cm. More overhang than this is fine, don’t cut it back, leave it to trim later. For the length, add 30cm (12″) more to your finished drop, to allow for turning at the bottom and top. Patterned show fabrics may need extra material to get the perfect pattern placement, or if you are doing multiple blinds, pattern matching.

  3. measuring and marking up

    Place your roller blind backing right side (smooth side) down onto a clean, flat surface. Measure out the required size of your blind plus the additional measurements (width +2cm and length +30cm). Draw this onto the wrong (shiny) side of the backing. Use the set square to make sure the corners are at 90 degrees or it won’t roll up smoothly and will look wonky! Once you are happy with the marking out, cut out the backing.

  4. Prepare your show fabric

    You should press your show fabric now to remove any creases or wrinkles before the next step. Take time to examine the pattern, if relevant. This is especially important with a large or bold pattern.

  5. Deciding on pattern placement

    Pattern placement is important for a balanced looking roller blind and a professional finish. If you have a large print consider centering a prominent feature such as a flower or bird. You should check where your pattern will be at the top and bottom of your blind. Remember to allow for turnings at the top (usually 20cm) and at the bottom, (usually 10cm), but this can vary depending on the type of cassette you are using, so check the manufacturer’s recommendations. Mark around the edge of where you would like your blind to sit on the pattern with a few pins.

  6. Postion your backing on the show fabric

    Put your show fabric right side down and position the piece of backing, you cut earlier, onto the fabric lining it up with the pins. You can now mark around it with chalk and remove the pins once you are happy its positioned correctly. If your fabric is plain, then position the backing directly onto the show fabric in the same way, and mark with chalk.

  7. prepare for ironing

    Set up the area you are going to be ironing on. If you are using your kitchen table, protect the surface with a large towel or blanket, make sure it is smooth and flat. Check that your show fabric is right side down, and that you have the wrong sides are together, so the bobbly glue side of the backing is against the back of the fabric.
    With your fabric and roller blind backing lined up and your table is protected, you now can begin ironing! Set your iron to a medium to high temperature.

  8. Iron on the backing

    Begin ironing from the centre of the blind backing, working outwards in circles of increasing size and continuing this process all the way to the outer edges of the backing. You will need to press and hold the iron down firmly and apply steam, being careful not to move too quickly and cause wrinkles. To ensure that all of the backing has stuck down properly, look at the fabric from a low angle in good light; this will 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. Check around the edges and ensue that they are firmly sealed together; you’ll find that having the extra 1cm either side helps to ensure a good seal right to the very edge.

  9. Cut to finished size

    Cut the bonded show fabric and roller blind backing down to the correct size of your finished blind. Trim off 1cm each side leaving the extra 30cm (12″) you allowed on the length. This will be used for the turning on the bottom and for attaching the bind to the cassette. Follow the instructions for your cassette when attaching the stiffened blind fabric to it.

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What is…a Drop on Curtains and Net Curtains

When we’re talking about curtains the word ‘drop’ means the total length of the curtain from top to bottom.

Your curtains hang on a pole or track either inside or outside the window reveal; that is, inside the window recess or across the front, leaving a bigger gap between window and curtains. You usually decide which based on the size and design of your windows and the clearance around them.

How to work out the drop

The drop is the exact finished length of the curtain, but where this should be measured from depends on the type of curtain heading. If you are replacing a set of curtains and having the same heading, you can just measure the length of the existing curtains. Otherwise you will have to measure from your existing track or pole. If your track or pole is not yet up you can estimate the length, but a final measurement will be needed once it is in place. There are more details on our instructions on how to measure for curtains.

What else is a drop?

Confusingly, we also use the word in another way when talking about curtain-making. We often refer to the number of ‘drops’ used to make a curtain. This means the number of widths of fabric used, with the width referring to one full width of fabric. A maker might refer to a pair of curtains with two drops per curtain, meaning four drops or fabric. This is important because he cost of making curtains is based on an amount per drop; if your curtains require 2 drops/widths in each curtain, your quote will be for the drop price x 4.

Net curtains

Net curtains usually hang on a curtain wire or a pole. They are made with a channel at the top for the wire or pole; for cafe nets this will be a series of holes. The net curtains and cafe nets we sell are ready to hang, with the channel already sewn in.

The drop is measured from just above the wire or pole to the window sill, or wherever you want the curtain to finish. Net curtains are usually hung close against the window within the reveal and finish just above the window sill in order to give privacy. Our Net curtains are available a range of standard drops; choose the nearest drop available that is smaller than your measurement to buy. If this is too small, try a larger drop and cut it down, creating a new channel at the top. Our makers can do this for you if required.

You can learn more about how to measure and choose net curtains here; our range of net curtains and curtain fabrics are for sale online:

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How to hang a Roman Blind

Here’s some simple instructions on how to fit the cords and hang a roman blind using the traditional batten and cord system – if you are using a cassette it will be different. You should already have a batten fixed above your window, with the Velcro and eyelets attached; if you need some help on how to do this see our guide on how to fix a batten for a Roman blind. This guide will also help you to replace worn parts in an existing blind.

rating beginner

Time needed: 30 minutes.

  1. Threading the cords

    Lay the roman blind face down on a clean table or surface. Thread the cords though the eyelets from the top of the blind to the bottom and secure them by threading through the safety device. You now need to decide on which side you would like the pull cord, as this will affect the direction the cords are threaded in the next step.

  2. Fixing the blind to the batten

    Secure the blind onto the batten by pressing the Velcro strips together. Threading the cords is easiest if you are able to stand in front of the window but behind your blind, if you can reach the eyelets on the batten from here.

  3. Attach the cords to the batten

    Thread the cords through the corresponding eyelets on the batten. Either work left to right (cord will hang on the left) or right to left (cord will hang on the right). Thread all of the loose ends through your wooden acorn to keep them together and tie a loose knot to stop them slipping back through. Do not cut off the excess at this point.

  4. Adjusting the cord length

    In order to ensure you have the correct length of cord, pull your roman blind up and down a few times to make sure it runs level. To determine where to cut, you should let the blind hang all the way down so that the acorn will be at its highest point. You should have a short distance between the last eyelet on the batten and the acorn. Tie a small knot here to keep the cords together and then cut off the excess, the knot should be hidden inside the acorn when it is pulled down over it.

  5. Adjustment

    If you find that your blind has moved slightly after your adjustments and is no longer level, you can fix this easily by pulling one or more of the cords through the safety devices on the bottom of the blind, adjusting where it hangs longer or shorter.

  6. Fixing the cleat

    The cleat should be secured next to the blind cord at least 1.5m above the floor, this, along with the blind safety devices is to reduce the risk of strangulation in small children. The cleat requires two screws to be screwed through it and into the wall (or other fixing point) in order to secure it.
    Safety note: When the Roman Blind is pulled up the cord must be fully wrapped around the cleat, so that there is no excess hanging down for small children to be able to reach.

  7. Your blind is ready to use!

    Remember, you can also use this guide to replace the parts on a roman blind when they become broken or worn, keeping your blinds in perfect condition for years to come. At Livingstones we believe we should all able to repair our things, so we sell roman blind cord by the metre.

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What is… A Curtain Heading?

The curtain heading you choose for your curtains are just as important as the fabric for the finished look of your curtains. For our bespoke curtains we offer a range of different choices for curtain headings, so that you can get the combination of fabric and heading that is perfect for your home.

Pencil Pleat Curtain Heading

Pencil pleat curtains are the classic curtain header style, giving a polished finish that suits almost every type of home. Pencil pleat header tape with several rows of gathering strings is sewn onto the back of the material and the strings are pulled to gather the curtains for a perfect fit. The amount of gather can be adjusted quite a lot depending on the size of the window – our bespoke curtains are make to fit your windows perfectly, but because you can adjust the fullness very easily, pencil pleat curtains can be easily moved between windows. and adjusted to fit.

When we make pencil pleat curtains, the fullness can vary from 1.5 fullness to 3 times fullness, depending on the amount of fabric you would like on your window, and also depending on your budget. You can also choose from different depths of header tape from 1″ up to 6″, which again gives the option of many different finishes for these versatile curtains; they also work equally well on a curtain pole or a track.

Eyelet Curtain Heading

Eyelet curtains fit to a curtain pole only, as the header is constructed of eyelets or rings which are applied to the top of the curtain creating holes neatly finished with an eyelet ring. This can give a simpler, more contemporary finish to your windows which is perfect for some homes.

Eyelet curtains are threaded onto your curtain pole through the eyelet holes, meaning that the fabric will hang with a slight wave rather than a tight gather. The depth of the wave depends on the clearance between the curtains and your wall; our makers will take account of this and calculate the number of eyelets you’ll need for your window, so it’s important that we have all the measurements before we start.

This style produces a beautiful modern look, however these curtains can only be hung on curtain poles and not tracks. We now make up eyelet curtains with punched metal eyelets as standard, as these create a beautiful and robust curtain header, and are available in a range of finishes to complement your curtain fabric and decor.

Triple Pleat and Double Pleat Curtains

You may decide that double or triple pleat curtains are the right choice for you, especially if you live in a period property. Double or triple pleat curtains, also known as pinch pleat curtains, are a traditional curtain heading style which create a polished, tailored look ideal for more formal room settings.

Our bespoke double or triple pleat curtains are made in the traditional way, using buckram to stiffen the curtain header, and with each pleat sewn in. These curtains have a beautiful finish, and because the pleats are sewn in theyv have a structured, even gather, although this does mean they will be more difficult to move to a different-sized window in the future. They work well hung from a pole or on a traditional curtain track.


Wave Tape Curtain Heading

Wave tape curtains are a contemporary heading finish, created using a special header tape that is sewn to the top of the material. Wave tape is constructed in such a way that the strings can be pulled to create a simple wave gather, giving a finish that is similar to eyelet curtains without the holes. These create a sleek and modern finish to your window.

Tab Top Curtains

We are occasionally asked to make tab top curtains, which hang from a pole by fabric loops, giving a soft, informal finish. For these curtains, the header is created from strips of fabric by our makers, and then sewn into fabric tabs at the top of the curtain. These are then threaded onto your curtain pole. Note that these curtains cannot be hung from a curtain track.


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How to use fuse-a-web

fuse-a-web on the roll

Fuse-a-web is a great way to fix fabric to fabric in applique and crafting. The fine mesh-like material easily bonds two fabric pieces together when heated under a hot iron. It works in much the same way as the hemming web tape we sell, but the fuse-a-web has the advantage of being 45cm/18″ wide, making it more suitable for your craft and applique projects.

rating beginner

You will need:

  • Scissors
  • A hot iron
  • An ironable surface the right size for your project

Fuse-a-web is backed with paper which acts as a protection for the webbing. This gets removed when one side is ironed onto the fabric. Make sure you use a dry iron for the first side and then iron over a damp cloth for the second side, as described below!

  1. First test your fabric

    Before you begin, make sure the iron is set to the right temperature for your fabric, and test-iron an area that will not be seen.

  2. Mark out your project

    Mark out the fuse-a-web on the paper side; roughly draw on the size and shape of the fabric that you want to be bonded.

  3. Get ironing!

    Place your fabric right-side down on an ironable surface. Place the fuse-a-web over the fabric facing down, so that the paper side is facing up and is visible. Iron over the fuse-a-web with a dry iron on a gentle heat suitable for the fabric you are using.

  4. Trim off

    Carefully check that the fuse-a-web has bonded to the fabric then trim the edges of the fuse-a-web to the shape of your project piece. Carefully peel off the paper backing leaving the fuse-a-web bonded to the fabric

  5. Bond the other side

    Place the second side of your project fabric right side down on the ironing surface, then place the fabric with the fuse-a-web attached on top, with the fuse-a-web in the centre like the filling in a fabric sandwich. Cover with a damp cloth and gently iron. Don’t allow the iron to be in one place for more than 10 seconds. Once your project is fully bonded, allow to cool fully before you work on it further.

  6. What can I use it for?

    We’ve used fuse-a-web for all sorts of craft projects, including bags, applique pieces, bunting, and all manner of stash-busting craft projects. The only limit is your imagination!

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How To Cut On the Bias

Learning how to cut on the bias is very important within dressmaking, once you have learnt what it means and how to do it, you will then be able to take on so many more challenges such as piping and more complicated dresses.

To understand the bias, firstly you need to understand some of the other dressmaking terms,

2016-05-18 14.30.10Selvedge- The selvedge is along the side of the fabric.  When buying fabric from a roll or a bolt you will have two sides of the fabric with  raw edges and two sides with a selvedge. The selvedge stops the fabric from fraying or unravelling. Some manufacturers also print onto the selvedge.


The Grain- The fabric grain is the direction that the fabric is knitted or woven together.

The Bias- The bias is a diagonal direction across the grain of the fabric. When cutting and laying out a 2016-05-18 14.30.52pattern it is diagonal to the grain like the ruler demonstrate in the image. This technique is used when making bias binding.

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How to…use hemming Tape

Hemming Tape

hemming tape 2

Hemming Tape is an iron-on tape that is used on a garment when you need a mend a hem, but you don’t want to sew it. Hemming tape is perfect for non-sewers, great for a quick fix for taking up chidren’s school trousers, or if you suddenly notice a drooping hem when you’re in a rush. Make sure you have some handy!

Hemming tape will last and wash well, but it can also be useful for garments that only need to be used for a short period of time, like dressing up costumes or fancy dress. You can also use it for bonding fabric on small craft projects – it’s so useful!

skill level beginner

You will need:

  • A packet of our heavy-duty hemming web
  • A pair of scissors
  • a hot iron

Time needed: 10 minutes.

This hemming tape works by ironing first with a dry iron and then ironing over a damp cloth. It’s important you do this the right way round, or the tape might not work or may stick to your iron.

  1. Get yourself organised

    Find a heat-proof surface to iron on. If you don’t have an ironing board, a folded towel on a table is fine. Set the iron to the correct temperature for your fabric; be careful of artificial fibres; if you’re unsure, it’s best to test the iron on a hidden area before you begin to use the hemming tape.

  2. how much tape?

    Place the garment to be hemmed on the ironing surface and work out where your hem is going to be. Offer the hemming tape against the area to be hemmed and cut roughly to size – a little bigger is better than a bit too short.

  3. Iron it on

    Note that at this stage we’re just ironing the hemming tape onto one surface, so you don’t need to sandwich it between layers of fabric. With the hem unfolded, and working on the inside of the garment, position the tape on the reverse of your garment with the web side onto the fabric and the paper facing up. Iron with a dry heat.

  4. Finish that hem

    Finally, peel off the paper from the tape, leaving a thin layer of hemming tape firmly bonded to your fabric, then fold up the hem so it completely covers the tape. Cover with a damp cloth and iron bit by bit over the hem keeping the heat on one area of no more than 10 seconds.

How to use:
Make sure the iron is set to the correct temperature for your chosen fabric, test the fabric first if you are unsure. Place the web side on the reverse of the item with the paper facing up, iron with a dry heat

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Continuous Zipping- how to add a zip

Continuous zipping can be a really good tool within sewing, being able to have a zip to the exact length that you need but it can also be one of the hardest things to get the zip on. Follow these simple steps and you won’t find it as hard to do.

2016-05-11 12.39.33

Cut your zipping to the length you need, then cut a little of the zip away in the middle leaving a tab either side.


Pull the zip apart a little, like you 2016-05-11 12.41.33can see in the picture.




2016-05-11 12.43.47Next, push the zip onto one side of the zipper teeth.



This next bit is the tricky part 2016-05-11 12.44.14and it can sometimes take a few times to work so keep at it. Slide the other half of the zip onto the teeth them using the taps pull gently and pull gently with the zip. The zip should side onto both sides.

2016-05-11 12.44.25

You should now have your zipper foot attached, don’t worry if your zip slightly doesn’t line up when you pull the zip through before sewing it in that should sort out.




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Continuous Zipping

2016-05-11 12.31.12

Continuous zipping is zipping that is sold by the metre, meaning that you can purchase exactly what you need. We have this in a heavy weight and a light weight and in 3 useful colours, white, black and beige.

2016-05-11 12.35.46

The zip pulls to fit these are sold individually, with the colour to match the zip you need.

Putting the zips onto the zip tape can sometimes be quite tricky but if you are unsure on how to do it follow our easy step by step guide on how to fit the zipper.

These continuous zips are available to buy at our shops. If you would like any more information or a sample of anything you have seen on our web shop please contact us – we’ll be happy to help!

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What is…Osnaburg Fabric?

osnaburg fabric dressmaking

We have some some really interesting and unusual fabrics in stock at Livingstone Textiles; some, like this Osnaburg fabric can look quite unassuming on the shelf, so can be overlooked.

A bit of history

Osnaburg is a natural-coloured fabric, looking rather like a calico with visible seeds within the weave; osnaburg fabric has a softer drape than calico even though it has a coarse weave, and generally comes in a narrower width. Osnaburg gets its name from the city of Osnabruck in Germany, where it originated. Originally it was made from flax yarns and then later cotton was used. Around 1700 it began to be produced and woven in Scotland, from where it was exported into England and then on the the British colonies in America.

What is it used for?

Prior to the abolition of slavery osnaburg was mostly used for working garments, but also for higher-status clothing for underthings, linings and interlinings. Today it has a number of different uses.

Clothing and costumes

Osnaburg is much sought-after for historical costumes, and particularly for clothing made for historical re-enactment groups. As a fabric that was widely used for both working clothing for poorer people and slaves, and also by dressmakers for shirts and petticoats, osnaburg lends authenticity to historical outfits.

Craft uses

Osnaburg is a popular fabric with quilters and stitchers because the loose weave makes for easy hand-stitching and embroidery; the natural colour makes a good background for all sorts of projects, and the fabric is sturdy and long-lasting. As a natural material, It is also popular for dolls and soft toys. As a natural fabric, it can also be painted or dyed as your project requires.

If you would like a sample of our osnaburg fabric please contact us and we will be happy to help.

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New Fabric- Chestnut

chestnut chair New in our shop this month is this beautiful fabric that illustrates chestnuts and other wildlife flowers. Living and working in the heart of the beautiful Dorset countryside we love fabrics that illustrates nature well, and this is certainly one of those fabrics.






Chestnut and Leaf Print
Composition- linen/ polyester
Width- 140cm/ 55″
Pattern repeat- 62cm/ 24″
Available to order

Another fabric we love that is similar to this Chestnut fabric is our very popular  Botanical Fabric with Ferns, Butterflies and Dragonflies. This is not a new fabric but is a regular fabric we have had in for a while now and it is still as popular as ever.Ferns - Marsons

Fabric composition: 100% cotton
Pattern repeat: 61cm/24″
Width: 140cm/54″ or 280cm/110″

STOCK UPDATE : Unfortunately this fabric is now out of stock and no longer available. See below for a selection of our current botanical fabrics



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Customer Makes: a baby sleeping bag

cuddle fleece baby sleeping bag

This beautiful cuddle fleece babies’ sleeping bag was made by one of our customers who is having a new baby in the family. She kindly brought this into show us and we thought it looks so snuggly!

This sleeping bag was made using one of our cuddle fleece fabrics; It’s a whopping 150cm wide, so you won’t need much, and there is always a choice of gorgeous patterns and beautiful plains to choose from.

Our customer used some curtain lining inside the sleeping bag; this is a great economical choice, especially if you have an offcut in your fabric stash! Our curtain lining is 100% cotton, which makes for a soft, breathable lining, but if you wanted something more colourful to complement the cuddle fleece fabric, you’ll find a huge choice in our dressmaking fabrics. To add a beautiful final touch she has added these very sweet teddy bear buttons, but if you want something different you’ll find we have a massive range of buttons to choose from in both of our shops, so you’re bound to find the perfect one for your project.

If you would like a sample of any of the fabrics you have seen on our website please contact us or order your samples online, and we will be happy to send them out to you.

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Customer Makes- Padded Notice Board

customer makes notice board

This beautifully made padded notice board was made by one of our young makers. It features a stag fabric which is now discontinued, but we’ve got some other animal fabric options below to give you inspiration.

Many of our lovely customers have generously shared their creations with us over the years, and we really do love seeing your makes and the wonderful things our fabrics can become! We think this padded notice board is a fab use of a little left-over piece of curtain fabric; you might have just the piece in your fabric stash, or alternatively take a look in our remnants – you might find the perfect piece there to make your own padded notice board – and don’t forget we sell foam cut to size too.

If you want to share your favorite make using fabric from Livingstone Textiles, and you’re happy for us to share it on, please tell us about it (with pictures! ) by email, or via our accounts on Facebook or Instagram.

If you would like a sample of this or any other fabric you have seen on our website please contact us with your details and information on the fabric you require, or order your samples online. We’re always happy to send out samples!

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Customer Make

untitled We love seeing what you have made and we were all very delighted when one of our customers walked into our shop wearing this. We were so excited to see how our fabrics had been transformed into a beautifully made dress. We were so lucky to have been able to photograph this coat so we could show all of you.





The coat was made with a simplicity pattern number 1320, which we sell in our shop at Bridport Dorset. Our customer has chosen to make coat number A with the three buttons, but has chosen to make her coat in two fabric like the coat labeled C. The way she has done this show that with these patterns you can choose what you want to make and you can take the aspects that you like.

DSC_4482The fabric she has chosen were both from us, the woolen woven fabric that she has made the sleeves out of we have now sold out of as it was really popular. The fabric that she has made the middle panels and the collar we still stock in our shop in Bridport Dorset. The composition of this fabric is poly/ viscose, it is 140cm/ 55″ wide and is priced at £12.75 per metre.

If you would like a sample of this or any other fabric you have seen on here please contact us with your details and information on the fabric you require and we will be happy to send you out a sample.


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New Net Curtains

hudsonWith Christmas over and the New Year started Spring will soon be here and you might soon be thinking about net curtains. We stock a larger range of net curtains in different drops and designs from plain nets to the more floral. These net curtains are all available online and in our shops in Bridport Dorset and Yeovil Somerset.

If you are looking to buy a some new net have a look at “how to measure for net” to get an idea about measuring.

We have just got in a new design for the new year this new net curtain is called Hudson and can be seen in the image above, and this time we have chosen a design that is less floral and more plain. This design has simple lines at the bottom so giving the net curtain interest without over powering the window.

We are currently selling this product in four drops, 36″/ 91cm, 45″/ 114cm drop, 54″/137cm and a 72″/ 183cm, more drops will be added as stock comes in.

If you would like a sample of this or any other net curtain you have seen on our web page please do contact us with your details and information on the fabric you require and we will be happy to send you a sample.

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Fancy Dress Cloak

We hope you are all enjoying the festive period and relaxing with family and friends.  Now the party season is upon us, it’s a great excuse to dress up in something a little extraordinary.  New Years Eve in Bridport is an event well worth turning out in your finery for.  Most of the locals get dressed up in some wacky outfits and enjoy the festivities but hiring a costume can be an expensive business so how about making your own this year?  Fancy dress fabric roomOur fancy dress fabrics are very competitively priced and our haberdashery department is rated very highly by young and old alike; where else these days can you buy half a metre of something for 7p?!  In the pictures we have featured a cloak made from cotton velvet available at the shop, or by mail order if you ring 01308 456844 and it’s lined with white cotton poplin.

DSC_4289The fasteners are traditional frogs available in two different designs and in either black or white and can be purchased for only £1.90 per pair in our shop at Livingstone Textiles, Bridport.

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Gift Vouchers

voucher Trying to decide what to get someone for Christmas, birthday or just want to get something to say thank you? We sell a lovely voucher that could do just that. Your special person doesn’t have to be a amazing at sewing to get enjoyment from one of our vouchers.

The vouchers can go toward many things in  our store – they could be put towards a sewing class, or a new pair of curtains. The vouchers can be put towards for anything in our stores in Bridport, Dorset and Yeovil, Somerset.

a4 voucher xmas (Medium)The vouchers are available to purchase in store or by telephone on 01308 456844. If you are far away and would prefer not to have the voucher sent to you and have to send it to the recipient, we also have a gift card option where we will write your message in a card and send the voucher direct by first class post.

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Chelsea Fabric from Fibre Naturelle

Chelsea CurtainHere is a beautiful new curtain fabric we now have available to order from our sample hangers. This fabric is called Chelsea and is a really gorgeous print with incredibly rich colours. Chelsea cushionsThere are three colourways, as you can see from these cushions and the images below. As with all our sample hangers, you can borrow the hanger from our shop to take home and check the colours work for you, all we ask is a small cash deposit.
Chelsea dressIf you are not local to our shop, we can arrange for fabric samples to be sent out to you. Just email us with your address and the details of the fabric, including the colourway. This fabric costs £28.80 per metre to order,  there is an additional carriage charge for small orders. Orders over £80 are carriage free to UK addresses.
Our skilled local seamstresses are also able to make curtains and cushions to your measurements and selected curtain heading to give you a bespoke finish for your room.

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Winter Wrap

Maisie ponchoHere’s the latest make from our super Saturday girl, Maisie. This lovely winter wrap could be made from any of our wool weight fabrics or in one of our warm fleeces. If you’re a confident sewer, you may be able to work out how to create something similar for yourself (see below for the fastening detail)Maisie poncho 2, but if you want a bit more help, why not take advantage of the Simplicity and New Look pattern sale, which is on this week and ends on Wednesday 2nd December? We found this pattern Simplicity 1098 Simplicity 1098which gives you lots of ideas for warm cover-ups, and half price is a real bargain for the patterns. Again you could use a wide variety of winter fabrics to achieve these looks.

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Medieval style Dress

Furnishing cloth makes a great alternative to cotton poplin if you are looking for a luxurious dressmaking fabric.  In this picture it has been used to make a warm, heavyweight evening dress and the maker wore it to a masked ball on a winters evening.  She used curtain lining fabric for the voluminous sleeves, re-purposed from her old curtains.


You could re-create this classic look with fabric from our traditional collection of furnishing materials. berkleyThis lovely embellished swirl is called Berkeley.  We have a huge range of hangers to look through in our shop.DSC_4290




On the left, you can see that Berkeley is available in a range of refined colours and that we also have other suitable fabrics available.  In the centre of the picture is Summer Palace also at £28.50 per metre and on the right is Bess at £29.40 per metre.


DSC_4279The trim is stitched on to the surface of the fabric to create the illusion of a laced bodice.  You can find a large selection of trims like the ones featured below in our shop in Bridport, or ring us on 01308 456844 to request some samples.DSC_4300


Cinderella shall go to the Ball!  Or maybe you have panto costumes to make for the coming season? Step by step instructions are included in this Simplicity pattern making it simple to put this lovely outfit together.  Follow the costumes link above to find out more.










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Pattern Sale and New Pattern Book

New patternsNew releases of patterns are always fun, and it’s exciting to look at the new designs and think how they would work with the fabrics we have in store. The new catalogue for the New Look patterns arrived recently and we are especially pleased to see some great patterns for stretch material. 6412My favourite is pattern 6412, and what is especially amazing is that the garment shown on the envelope is actually a dress! We think it would look great with leggings or thick tights and boots. We have lots of jersey fabrics that would suit these patterns to a T.

Coat patternsThere are also coat patterns which you could make up with our fleeces, children’s dresses and party outfits galore. Our pattern books are now in our end room with a table and chairs so you can sit and browse.

To add extra excitement to the new patterns, Simplicity are having a flash sale on their patterns. For one week only all Simplicity and New Look patterns are half price or better. The sale ends on Wednesday 2nd December 2015, and don’t forget you can fill up your pattern club card at sale prices and then choose a free pattern at your leisure. Pattern club cards give you one free pattern for every 4 patterns you buy. We keep the cards at the shop so there is no worry about losing your card, it’s always here for you.