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New In…..Dressmakers Curve

 

 

We are so excited to finally be stocking this professional dressmakers curves.  It’s taken a while but we’ve managed to source one of excellent quality from Prym because some things are worth paying a bit more for.

 

 

 

This investment in your sewing apparatus will assist you in altering patterns by transferring your measurements on to a bought pattern because you can then shape it to your waist and out to your hip measurement on the pattern and draw in your own personal shape, ensuring a really professional fit when you finish the garment.  It’s also brilliant for pattern drafting.  This is when you take a block and manipulate it to create your very own dressmaking pattern.  All items of clothing are made by starting with a basic pattern block that is added to.

If you dressmake then you are probably  already making adjustments to the pattern to create a good fit, after all looking good in a handmade garment is firstly about Fit and secondly about wearing what you want to wear.  By creating your own personal pattern block you can always start with a good basic pattern from which you can design in any style you choose.  Using a dressmakers curve you can create sleeve curves, hem curves and armhole openings as well as hip shapes and waist curves.    Its not just for dresses either, you can use your dress block to also design your own skirts, blouses and tops.

What is a block?  Well, a block is a personally tailored pattern for a very very basic dress or pants.  It has no style details at all so it’s a blank page waiting for your design.  Starting with the basic outline shape, you make adjustments to the block using your own measurements to achieve an absolutely perfect fit.  You then use the block as a starting point for every single pattern you create, knowing you won’t have to make any size adjustments at all because you’re starting with your own bespoke shape.  You can add in style and shape by slashing and spreading to create fullness in a skirt, add ruffles, a neckline shape or by adding darts to pull a shape in for a closer fit.  Once you’ve created your block you can let your imagination go free with the creative detail, knowing its totally unique to your figure.

For more information, some great tips and advice on creating your dressform to match your own figure, click here

To buy your dressmakers curve you can either pop in to your nearset branch of Livingstone’s or contact us and we’ll mail one out to you.

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Paintsplash Velvet

This astoundingly beautiful fabric has given all of the staff here at Livingstones a great deal of angst.

We all love its bright coloursand artistic style and are busy plotting ideas on how to use it to its full potential.

One of us wants a skirt and that would be a great priced piece of clothing at £16.40 as it would only need about half a metre.

Another really wants a sixties swing coat which would look so dramatic, luckily her mum is the talented Meg who owns Livingstones so hopefully she’ll get her wish…watch this space.

I think I’d quite like a pop of colour to go with a purchase from Dorset Arts Week so I might buy a piece for a cushion to give my living room a lift. What would you use it for?  Come in to the shop and have a feel, it’s so unbelievably soft.

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Summery seaside dress fabrics

 

Ahoy there, shipmates!

Amongst racks of dress fabrics at Livingstone Textiles, we’ve got some gorgeous boat prints laying at anchor and waiting for you. Perfect for a shirt, a dress, or a skirt, these are just some of the delightful dress-weight seaside themed prints you’ll find in our shops, so sail by and have a browse!

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Toucan Play

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

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

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Unique One Offs

We have acquired some very beautiful fabric. ” But you’re always doing that” I hear you say.  True enough and our fabric stash is pretty vast, so big that it now takes up two whole shops!  The thing is, sometimes a little stash comes along that we just cannot do without and we just have to squeeze it in somewhere.

This month we are bringing you something unique.  One offs.

And there they are.  Absolutely beautiful hand block printed cottons from India.

Representing the individual nature of handmade, each is a short run of 6 or 8 metres or so and created with Indigo and Rust dyes.

These really are very special and as such we are not selling them in anything smaller than 2 metre pieces.  Each run has been individually inspected by us to ensure clean line up of the block print with no overlaps.

Don’t hang about because the best designs will be flying out quickly and once they’re gone they’re gone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Livingstones Summer fabric to be seen with.

 

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Childrens Sun Hats

Love To Sew are a collection of books that contain quick little projects to make, with        small amounts of fabric.  Parents and Grandparents often have a hard time finding a hat that a child will keep on its head so let us introduce you to Childrens Sun Hats by Gill Stratton.  The childrens hats in this book are delightful and really easy to make, even if you only have the very basic sewing skills.  You could make them for your own little ones or as a gift for someone else.

Containing step by step instructions including the measuring of a childs head circumference right through to the top stitching hints for crisp and clean brims, this book is a great way into making hats for the first time.  The photographs showing each stage are clear and the instructions are written in laymans terms making them really easy to follow.  There are some clever cutting tips to limit the fabric waste and a full list of the sewing equipment and fabrics needed for each project.   The designer shows you how and where to use interfacings to give strength to different parts of the hat and shows you how to make some clever and co-ordinating trims and accessories.

 

 

 

 

 

At the back of the book you will find half size templates for all of the hats included with simple enlarging instructions and there are some clever tips on upcycling old clothing into hats and linings if you don’t fancy buying anything new.  This book can be browsed and purchased at Livingstone Textiles in Bridport, Dorset and we highly reccomend it.

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New Stretch Bias Binding

We’ve stumbled upon a pretty cool product that you might like to know about.  It’s called stretch bias binding.  Of course bias binding already has the stretch in it by the very nature of the way it is cut across the cut of the fabric but this bias binding is REALLY stretchy making it ideal for trimming jersey projects.

 

Sewing jersey is becoming more and more popular as makers realise that with care and patience, this material can be fashioned into beautiful clothing at a fraction of a shop priced garment.  Binding the edges of any garment will always give it a professional look but making your own bias from jersey can be quite a tricky and frustrating excercise.  This new stretch binding eliminates all of the angst allowing you to get on with the trimming and at Livingstones we are trialling it in black and in navy at just £1.20 per metre.  To help you gain more confidence in using this product, follow the link to this youtube video and learn how to apply it step by step.

 

 

 

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NEW LOOK PATTERNS ON SALE


It’s time to make that summer dress that you just can’t find anywhere in the shops.  Our new Look patterns are at a bargain half price and we have some dreamy summer fabrics in stock that you can check out here.

 

Don’t forget that you can join our pattern club as well to make the most of your sewing collection.  For every four patterns you purchase through Livingstones you receive the fifth one free making it five dress patterns for the price of two full-priced ones!

 

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Summery fabrics to keep you cool

With summer around the corner and the hint of sunshine teasing us with its warmth, it’s that time of year for light cotton or even linen clothes to help keep cool and looking summery.

We have a lovely range of 100% cottons in many, many designs from plains to florals or batiks to animals and more. We even have Liberty designs and cotton lawns, so there is plenty to choose from when you’re thinking of adding something to your summer wardrobe.

If linen is more your fabric of choice for the fair weather then we have plenty for you as well, with a colourful range of plain pure irish linens to choose from.

Alternatively, we have a range of linen mixed fabrics, some are cotton and linen unions and others are linen viscose mixed fabrics which are in fact underrated and overlooked by many of the purists who see that there is a viscose content to the fabric and run! However, viscose is a man-made fibre that is manufactured from a plant-based material called cellulose and is typically made from woody plants, such as trees and bamboo. It is a low-cost fabric and has many of the desirable qualities of more luxurious fabrics. It is used to make clothing because it is breathable, drapes well, is highly absorbent and does not trap body heat. Because viscose is made from renewable plants, it is frequently cited as an environmentally friendly fabric, particularly when bamboo is its source. So maybe give linen viscose a chance next time and you’ll be surprised at how cool and comfortable it is!

 

 



 

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Spring Florals

 

Spring has sprung and to celebrate, we’re sharing some charming cotton prints with you.

Perfect little designs that are ideal for dressmaking, craft projects and patchwork, these are just a few selected from the huge delivery we’ve had this month.  We’ve a wealth of new fabrics in stock for you, from plush velvets in stunning colours to exotic botanical prints in some really exciting colours so come and pay us a visit over the easter holidays and get a new project going.

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Dreamy two tone Organzas

DSC_2051

 

We have them back!  The glorious two tone organzas that flew out of the shop last year are back and we’re so delighted to have more colours to offer you.  The blue/green colourway is one of the favourites and we expect this to sell really fast but while you’re in the shop, check out the others as well.

 

The grape is delightful.  A combination of deep pink and petrol blue, it shimmers and changes as it moves under the light.  If you can’t get in to see us over the easter Break, remember we can always send out samples in the post and you can order by telephone on 01308456844, email or online at www.livingstonetextiles.com

 

 

 

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Book Review – The Dressmaking Technique Bible

As Lorna Knight rightly points out in the introduction to her book, with cheap clothing so readily available, people no longer make their own clothes to save money; but if you want to get an individual look, use a certain fabric, or enjoy a perfect fit, Then dressmaking is still for you, and this lovely, useful reference book contains all the techniques and guidance you need to achieve perfect results every time.

This practical hardback is spiral-bound to lie open for quick and easy reference, and with chapters covering tools and materials, stitches and textiles, fabric manipulation and techniques, you will probably be referring to it a lot!

As you can see from the pictures, the uncluttered pages are generously illustrated with both drawings and photographs, to give the clearest possible instructions, covering subjects as diverse as how to chose and use a pattern, right through to all sorts of tailoring and finishing techniques to enable you to get the finish you want on the clothes you are making. Come and see this book for yourself in our Bridport store, and take it home and enjoy it!

 

 

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Far From The Madding Crowd

At Livingstone Textiles Bridport we are extremely fortunate to live amongst some of the most beautiful scenery in the British Isles.  As well as fast becoming a very popular  holiday and tourism destination with its crumbling Jurrasic coastline, the West Dorset landscape is increasingly seen in documentaries, television series’ and as an area in which to make evocative films.

For many of us nothing beats a good traditional costume drama and in the newest screen version of the Dorset Author Thomas Hardys’ beautiful novel, Far From The Madding Crowd, the stunning countryside around Bridport is portrayed with all of its rural charm.   While the filming was taking place from various locations around the town and surrounding villages, one film crew pitched camp behind Livingstones and we frequently supplied ribbons, haberdashery, elastic, buttons and various pieces of cloth to the costume department who would regularly pop in to top up their own supplies.

 

Inspired?  Why not host a unique Regency Ball Party?  West Dorset has a wealth of beautiful village halls for hire at ridiculously cheap rates and there is a beautiful Regency inspired venue at The Bull Hotel in the town complete with its own Ballroom.  Local Folk Bands can perform live music for you at really competitive rates and most can arrange a local caller to teach very simple Playford Dance.   For a birthday or wedding, this could be a beautifully immersive experience and at Livingstones we can supply you with authentically styled patterns to sew your own gowns as well as an array of luxury patterns and plains for waistcoats, dress shirts, petticoats and bonnets.  Remeber to ask us about joining our pattern club as well to get free patterns and great price offers unavailable online.

 

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Tools For Self Reliance

You may already be aware of the sewing machine repairs and maintenance servicing that we offer our customers to help them keep their machines in tip top condition but you may not be aware of what might happen to your machine when its past its best and you decide that its not worth throwing any money at.  Many of our customers leave their old machines with us when they’re done with them and we’re very proud to support communities in Africa to help reduce poverty by working with Tools For Self Reliance.

This marvelous organistaion works to enpower communities by providing tools and the training they need in order to earn a living and create a positive impact within their communites.  All of your unwanted and broken sewing machines and overlockers are collected by one of their volunteer tool collectors when we have a little herd of them.  All of the serviceable parts are then used for refurbishing or repairing other machines by even more volunteers in the UK before being sent out to places like Ghana, Malawi, Sierra Leone, Uganda and Zambia as well as many more.  Once the machines are out in Africa, they are used by people like Uma Jalloh as she trains as a tailor and learns the skills that she needs to contribute to her brothers household.  Uma escaped an arranged marriage at 14 and had never been to school until she got involved with TFSR.  You can read her story and others here. 

sierra-leone

Livingstone Textiles has worked closely with Tools for Self Reliance in Southampton for many years now.  If you would like to get involved with volunteering, you can find out more here  You could also share this page to your Facebook Feed and help us to raise their profile in the UK.  Alternatively, just hand in your old and broken machines and we’ll make sure they get into hands that will really put them to good use.

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What is stretch Interlining?

With so many clothes now being made out of stretch fabrics, a stretch interlining is the perfect way to get a great finish and still maintain the little bit of ‘give’ in the fabric. We carry a huge range of patterns, by New Look, and by Simplicity – which are currently on offer with 50% off – with many designed for stretch fabrics, including our stretch demins and drills, like these jeans by Mimi G:

We now stock a medium-weight bi-elastic interfacing by Prym, in 200 x 90 cm pieces, which is perfect for all your stretch fabric projects. The interlining is fusible and can be bonded to even delicate fabrics using a low-temperature iron. The white interlining is 100% polyester, and is machine washable (as long as your chosen fabric is!) at 30 degrees.

 

 

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The Bridport Wassail

In the town of Bridport in West Dorset we have a community orchard that was begun in 2009 with the planting of 23 half standard apple trees as part of the Symondsbury Apple Project.  In February 2010 this was added to and there are now 58 fruit trees in total, including some old and rare varieties that have stood the test of time.  All the trees and the green spaces surrounding them are carefully tended by a group of local volunteers.  The Community Orchard is a public space for everyone to enjoy and lies just behind St Marys church off South Street in St Marys Field.  It regularly holds community events that have a traditional theme, often with the imbibing of good local Cider from West Milton Cider Company.  Around the 18th of January each year a custom known as a Wassail has been revived in the orchard which involves much merriment, mulled cider and hot apple juice.

view from Church tower(photo Sheila Hawkins) http://www.bridportcommunityorchard.org.uk/styled/index.html

Wassailing

twelfthnight

Wassail gets its name from an Old English greeting “waes hael“, meaning “be well”. Said to be a Saxon custom where at the start of each year, the lord of the manor would shout ‘waes hael’ and the assembled crowd would reply ‘drinc hael‘, meaning ‘drink and be healthy’.

A Wassail Bowl is a great thing, a vessel of carved wood or pottery featuring many handles for shared drinking, it is passed around an orchard amidst singing and shouting and was especially popular in the cider producing counties of the Southwest, primarily Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Dorset.

Wassailing is a traditional ceremony where in the depths of winter, apple tress are sung to and blessed on the eve of twelfth night in anticipation of a heavy yield the following autumn.  It normally takes place at night where a Wassail king or queen will lead a procession around the orchard singing loudly and making much noise.  The king or queen is then lifted into a tree where he or she will hang toast from the wassail bowl that has been soaked in a hot brew of mead, ale, honey and spices of cinnamon, ginger and roasted crab apples from the previous years crop.  The assembled crowd will then shout, yell and bang pans and a shotgun is usually fired into the trees to frighten away evil spirits that would otherwise spoil the crop.  The king or queen will then go to the oldest tree in the orchard which harbours the oldest spirit and pour some of the mead around the base of the tree as an offering of respect.  The fertility of the entire orchard is said to reside in this spirit, known as the Apple Tree Man in Somerset.  It is then customary to sing the wassail song:

Its our Wassail, jolly Wassail, joy come too our jolly Wassail.

How well the May bloom, how well the May bear, so we may have apples and cider next year
Hats full, caps full,
Three bushel bags full, and little heaps under the stairs
Hip Hip……HURRAH!

The Carhampton Wssail, one of the oldest in the country

In Bridport, our own local troupe of morris dancers will be entertaining the crowds at the Bridport Wassail on Sunday the 21st January from 3pm onwards with traditional folk music and morris dancing with sticks and hankies.  Livingstone Textiles are proud to supply Wyld Morris with the bells, ribbons and tatter coat fabrics required for their kit.

Wyld Morris are based at Monkton Wyld Court at the sustainable living community to which they contribute towards funding in return for a practice space in their beautiful pine hall on Wednesday evenings.

Wassailing and family fun at Bridport Community Orchard

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Lovely Linens

At Livingstone Textiles we are proud to stock a great selection of linens suitable for dressmaking and curtain making.  We hold beautiful soft linens from Russia, rough and slubby linens from Lithuania and beautiful herringbone weaves as well as traditional Irish linens.  As well as our regular stock lines in natural colours we can also occasionally source limited colours in gentle washed out greens, oranges, yellows and blues.

We sell a lot of our linen as curtain fabric as its weight allows it to drape beautifully but one or two of our staff members have sewn clothing items from the lighter weights as it hangs really well and below we can share with you a lightweight hoodie that was made from a green/blue linen that was in stock last summer.  Sadly this particular colour has not become available again but we still have other colours in stock.  Some of our customers also print on our linens and turn them into unique cushions and tea towels.

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SIMPLICITY PATTERNS ARE STILL HALF PRICE !!

Browse the collection online and just pop into the shop and collect your pattern.  You can HAVE IT TODAY as we stock all of the patterns here in the shop and rarely sell out.

You probably are thinking, ‘Well if I browse online then I may as well buy online and be done with it’.  That’s all well and good but we think you should visit us for three very good reasons

  1.    The P&P cost…………….combine your visit to us with your shopping trip to Bridports historic market, it’s easy to park right outside the building in the Waitrose car park. Or alternatively, visit our Yeovil shop opposite the Octagon theatre with free parking for customers.
  2.    You can join our in-house exclusive pattern club FOR FREE then for every four patterns you buy (yes, even the half price ones) you can have your fifth pattern free.  Quite simply, even if you buy the most expensive patterns from Simplicity and fill your card up before the middle of November you can have FIVE patterns for UNDER £20!!  Bargain.
  3.     You get the opportunity to look at our absolutely massive selection of Dress Fabrics at unbelievably competitive prices. You can feel the quality and see how the fabric will work in your pattern properly.

     

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Happy Halloween Fabric Fiends

halloween

Lots of you have been in this week to buy shimmery, sparkly, witchy fabrics for costumes not only for your little ones but for yourselves as well.  Don’t forget to take extra care with shop bought costumes as many man-made fabrics are highly flammable.

 

If you are at all concerned, it’s not too late to pop in to the Bridport Shop and buy our Flame Retardant Spray, suitable for home application, it makes these synthetic fibres a lot safer when the instructions are followed correctly and we’ll issue you with a fire certificate as well.  It’s also a legal requirement for any fabrics in public buildings to be flame retardant treated, including curtains, stage sets and costumes.  Worth bearing in mind if you’re currently rehearsing for panto season.  We’ve seen evidence of a lot of pumpkin carving going on as we’ve traveled to and from Livingstone Textiles from across West Dorset.  Have a great time tonight and stay safe, whatever your plans.

Flame retardant spray

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Halloween Fabrics

halloween

 

Pop into our magnificent fancy dress section at Livingstone Textiles.  In both our Yeovil and Bridport shops, we have a great selection of cobwebby, spooky and sparkly fabrics as well as fur, all ready to turn you into the scariest werewolf or witch in town.

 

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New Prestigious Textiles Fabrics

A sneak preview into one of the Prestigious Textiles new fabrics that are to be released next week are these beautifully bold, printed designs of animals. DSC_5663These bright colours add a retro feel to the fabrics with the bold yellows and greens. We love the increasingly interesting detail that has been added to the black and white animals, although you might think that subdued colours like black and whiteDSC_5666 on a bright flat colour might sink back and become unnoticeable with this design that doesn’t happen. It’s the monochrome design and detail on the bright colour that works so well because when you look at the same design on the more subdued colour, the monochrome animal doesn’t stand out as much.

The fabric weight that these designs have been printed on is ideal for curtains, cushions, and blinds, however, these are not suitable for upholstery as they are not strong enough for regular rubbing. However asDSC_5667 mentioned above, these would make great house or garden cushions as they are fun and realistic.  You could even jazz up your she shed!   On the left, you can see the many different designs and colourways and they all work beautifully together. They will really add the funky look to your room.

This fabric range comes in 6 different colorways with 6 different animal designs including; ducks, foxes, hedgehogs, deer, owls, and pheasants. Each of these fabrics is 143cm wide although the usable width is only 137cm each pattern repeat does vary depending on the design.  These designs are printed on a 100% cotton base cloth are also available in a splash and shower proof coated base cloth, meaning they would work well for outside cushions and tabling.

We think these are a really lovely collection of fabrics and colours.  They are being released in September, meaning you can bring some late summer sunshine into the home and welcome the first jewels of autumn with these lovely bright colours.

If you would like more information on these fabrics please don’t hesitate to contact us with your details and the information you require and we will be happy to help and obtain FREE SAMPLES for you.