At least once a week at Livingstone Textiles we have someone new through our doors who is just starting out on their sewing adventure.
They are usually rather bewildered at the array of fabrics, haberdashery and techniques and have many questions for us so we have devised a little step by step guide to help rookie stitchers through their first sewing project.
1] GET A SEWING MACHINE
Beg or borrow a machine that does a straight stitch, a zig zag and goes forward and back. Anything else will be of no use for quite a while so arm yourself with a basic machine for sewing garments. You can try before you buy in many fabric shops (including livingstone textiles) or order one on line at a reasonable price.
2] GET BASIC TOOLS
To start with any basic sewing pattern you need a basic set of tools. Needles (hand & machine) pins, large scissors, a seam ripper, marking chalk and a tape measure. You will also find an iron and ironing board very helpful.
3] PICK A PROJECT
Decide on a pattern that you want to wear or use, it’s important to really want what you will be making as that is what will motivate you to finish it. A garment should be a basic shape with simple features like short sleeves and little shaping. A bag should be unfussy with simple lines and few pockets or fancy features.
Grab a cup of tea, a piece of cake and a fabric remanant and settle down comfortably with your sewing machine manual. Have a quick read through then practice lifting and dropping the presser foot, threading up the machine and sewing backwards and forwards until you feel a bit more confident with the pedal. Practice stitching a straight line at various speeds and practice a zigzag stitch that runs parallel to the edge of your remnant
5] BUY FABRIC!
This is the one area that you will get very good at very quickly. Buy a fabric that is recommended on your pattern for the project you wish to create along with a matching thread and any other bits and pieces that are mentioned.
6] START SEWING….
Read your pattern carefully, lay it out on your fabric and cut out your pieces. Label them and copy on any lines or markings from the pattern. Thread the machine up and off you go! Remember, it doesn’t matter if you make a mistake, just unpick it and try again. Remember that there are many helpful tuition videos on Youtube and lots of hints and tips can be found here on our website
We have an exquisite array of new trims now in stock at Livingstone Textiles that we picked up on our recent visit to the Stitches show in Birmingham.
Imported from India, they have an exotic feel about them and combine sumptuous velvets twisted with metallic threads to create a trim that can also be seperated out top use as individual motifs.
One of our favourites is the embroidered 3″ wide trim seen here in the top of the picture. It has a distinctly Eastern European folk feel to it and would look authentic adorning any dance or national costume. You can see more Boho trims that we have available here.
Please message us through the website if you would like samples of any of our trims, we have a vast range in stock.
One of our members of staff had a special date earlier this month that required something a little more dressier than her usual attire. It’s quite rare to get the glad rags on and dine out at a proper dinner dance these days so it was no surprise that nothing suitable could be found in the wardrobe.
Out came the sewing machine and some beautiful stretch velvet that was purchased about two years ago. All that was needed was a pattern that would make the most of the way the light shone off the fabic, making it appear to be more than one flat colour.
Pattern 6577 in the New Look pattern book shows a top in a similar fabric to the one proposed and the drape on the cowl neckline would be perfect for an evening dress so Laura set about a few alterations to the pattern to take it from a tunic to an evening dress with a slit up the side.
She also measured her own key statistics and marked them on the pattern at the bust, waist and hipline and then carefully drew in the lines to create her own personal pattern. Finally she decided on the length of the gown and split the pattern where indicated in order to add in another section of pattern paper and create a full length pattern.
Careful pinning and cutting ensued, the fabric was quite thick and so needed to be treated carefully as it was inclined to slip as well. Three pleats at the shoulders formed the drape for the cowlwhich also pulled the shoulder back to the correct position for sleeves.
Little cap sleeves were decided on in order to give the dress a 1930’s feel and a fur stole was quickly run up on the machine from a textured swirly fur in a pale coffee colour from Livingstones.
White velvet bag and sparkly shoes were the finishing touches , hpefully it wont be too long before another opportunity arises to wear it again.
The sun is out and it feels like time to start planning those summery dressmaking projects, so come and choose a pattern and maybe one of these fresh new batik fabrics; beautiful colours, 100% cotton, and at only £7.05 per metre, the perfect choice for your light summer clothing makes!
All of our gorgeous Simplicity patterns will now have a massive 50% off until the middle of March and we stock the entire range in our shops at Bridport and Yeovil so you can have it TODAY with NO postage and packing charges.
Miss Haversham is looking rather spectacular in her Burns attire. Draping a couple of metres of tartan as a shash will add elegance and authenticity to any evening dress you are sporting for the occasion.
Miss Havershams outfit is inspired by Simplicity pattern number 8285.
We also love pattern 2172 and this video shows you how to make this magnificent coat. There is also a fabulous skirt that can be worn with it. Follow the link for more information on making these patterns. We stock the whole range of Simplicity patterns at our shops and you can select some stunning damasks and velvets from our soft furnishing cloths. We have an entire room dedicated to fancy dress fabrics, ranging from dreamy two tone organzas to bi stretch copper lurex so you can create a totally individual look. Follow our pinterest board for more ideas.
Burns Night is annualy celebrated in Scotland on the 25th of January and celebrates the works of the great poet Robert Burns. It is also now frequently observed in other parts of the United Kingdom by native Scots and those who appreciate the heritage of Scotland. Robert Burns was born on January 25th 1759 which is why Burns night is celebrated on this day. He died in 1796 and his best known work is probably “Auld Lang Syne” which is traditionally sung at midnight on New Years Eve or Hogmanny. He is known in Scotland as “The Bard”
Many families and friends enjoy getting together on Burns Night to share a supper of Haggis, Neeps and Tatties with Whisky as the preferred tipple. You can find out more about Haggis here. During the evening poetry written by Robert Burns is recited, sometimes Scottish songs are sung and then the Haggis is traditionally ‘piped in’ by a Bagpipe player in full Scottish dress where it is toasted on arrival at the table. At Burns night events many men choose to wear kilts and women might wear a shawl, skirt, sash or dress made from their family tartan. A tartan is a cloth made of wool woven in a distinctive check pattern using different colours across the warp and the weft and clans have their own distinct patterns that have been replicated over centuries, often nowadays in more modern blends of viscose and polyester as well as in wool.
If you are attending a Burns Night event you can choose from the range of bright new tartans at Livingstone Textiles to create a sash or shawl over your evening attire, we don’t have much online but their are lots to choose from in house. We also stock some colourful tartan ribbons to dress your hair or add interest to a plain dress, pop in to either of our shops to browse our collections. We also think that it’s a great idea to host a kids Burns Night event where you can get them involved with the reading of poetry and maybe using a recorder to pipe in a haggis that they’ve helped to prepare. They could make a Scottish flag to hang up or could colour in place settings using some of the words in the poems of Burns. For more inspiration and ideas for a special childrens event visit https://www.activityvillage.co.uk/burns-night
We’re very excited to offer our customers a 10% discount across all of our Christmas fabrics until the end of January 2019.
We still have some beautiful timeless designs in stock that you can now pick up at a great price and squirrel away ready for next autumns projects. Now is also the time to come and browse our extensive collection of craft books too. You can spend a little time with yourself and get acquainted with a new project for the cold months ahead.
Whether you’re just starting out on your sewing journey, have just moved to the Bridport area and are hunting down new soft furnishings or need some advice on a current project we are looking forward to seeing old and new faces in 2019. Our normal shop opening hours are now resumed: Mon-Sat 9-5. Closed Sundays.
The challenging weather of autumn and winter days can leave you feeling a little less than smart as you bundle up in thicker clothing.
At Livingstones we love these easy to follow videos to sew along to. The following Simplicity video will show you step by step, how to make a tailored jacket of any length that you choose and can wear to add a little class to your winter outfits. It will look equally good dressed up with a skirt and heels or dressed down with jeans and trainers. Having your own you tube tutor video will mean you are able to get the project done quickly as you won’t be trying to interpret the instructions while cutting or making.
The jacket is made from Simplicity pattern number 8749
This fabulous steampunk costume has been made by 14-year-old May Robinson. May loves costume design and is just starting her GSCE’s including textiles.
The fabrics May has used can be found here at Livingstone Textiles, and the pattern, 1819 from Simplicity, was available last season, however there are plenty more to choose from in Simplicity’s new Autumn/ Winter catalogue. If her make has inspired you to get your machine up and running and start your own project why not come in and have a look at the other patterns available.
We’d like to say a big well done to May for this great costume, keep up the good work! We hope to see you back in the shop soon for your next project.
It still is really not too late to get yourself kitted out for………………………………………………..
H A P P Y H A L L O W E E N !
Get yourself along to Livingstone Textiles this half term and bring the kids too. We’ve dozens of delicious sparkle, stars and spooky stuff to drape yourself in and for decorating the house. Whether its shiny holographic stretchy stuff or gossamer net with metallic rainbow cobwebs (and it’s reversible too!), we’ve got lots to choose from and starting at only £3.50 per metre you can afford to make some great costumes this Halloween.
It’s time to make new outfits in time for the array of party opportunities over the next few months, plus cosy leisure wear and smart workwear for the colder months ahead.
Take a good look through the ‘New Look’ pattern book that’s just been put out in the shop, or browse online and pop in for your pattern. We stock the whole range and if we’re out of one we can normally order it within a few days.
Interfacing is an extra layer of fabric applied to the inside of a garment in order to give it some strength and stability. It is normally used on cuffs, collars, shoulder areas and waistbands to add structure and stop the fabric from being floppy.
You can buy interfacing specifically for your fabric and it comes as either iron on or no-iron on. Iron on interfacing is especially good for beginner dressmakers as once ironed into place it doesnt shift about when sewing the layers under your sewing machine. It is suitable for most fabrics made from natural materials, ie cotton and linen. Iron on (or fusible) interfacing is not suitable for any fabrics with a knapp, like velvet, cordurouy or fur because it will crush them. It’s also unsuitable for sequinned fabric, vinyls and metallics because they are not designed to have direct heat applied to them or for lace or scrim because the nature of the open weave fabric means that glue will always seep out through the other side. These fabrics are far more suited to a sew in interfacing as it will not affect the drape nearly as much. Sew in interfacings are only normally used by professional dressmakers, along with linen interfacings that are used by tailors to add structure to coats and jackets.
Once you have decided on sew in or press in interfacing, you need to make a decision on the type. Most popular is a non woven interfacing because it has no grain and is therefore suited to virtually any fabric. However if you are sewing jersey, you will need a stretch fabric so that the garment retains its flexibility. The basic rule is to match the interfacing so that its qualities are almost identical to the fabric that you are working with. Indeed very lightweight summer cottons can get by with another piece of the fabric used as the structure layer. Interfacing also comes in a dark, charcoal shade and a creamy white and again, you need to match the colour, as far as possible to the colour of the cloth you are cutting.
To use iron on interfacing, first do a test on a scrap of fabric to see how it behaves, ie wrinkles, shrinks etc.
Lay the cut fabric wrong side up on an ironing board then place the interfacing shiny side down on top of it. The shiny side has the glue on it. Lay a damp pressing cloth over the top and gently lay on the iron, just using the weight and a pressing action. Don’t move the iron around as this may disturb the layers of fabric. Allow the everything to cool slightly then check to see if it’s adhered by trying to lift a corner. Once in place it is not repositionable so make sure everything is accurate before you start. Always use a wool setting for pressing unless it’s a really lightweight fabric in which case you can turn the iron up a little higher and never skip using a pressing cloth as it diffuses the direct heat and protects the fabric as well as the iron.
Don’t forget that you can still get 25 % off your patterns for a little while longer, with the offer ending on Tuesday 2nd October.
It’s the perfect opportunity to try out a new style for the autumn and maybe even go for the new pocket trend in skirts. We have the new autumn release of patterns so it’s the perfect time to treat yourself to the latest patterns.
We know many of you wait eagerly for the new Simplicity Pattern Book at this time of the year, and we are pleased to let you know that it is here.
Many people are thinking about costumes during the autumn and here are a selection of costume patterns available.
The children are not forgotten with some super new costume ideas for them as well.
One of our favourite new patterns in this issue is this delightful tunic, which we can just imagine curling up in at home on a cool evening.
We have a vast range of fancy dress and dress fabrics in our two stores in Bridport Dorset and Yeovil Somerset, and you can browse a small selection available online below, use the drop down category menu or visit the online shop.
Quite a few young and older women are discovering the liberating comfort of the Bralette.
Many of them are made from supersoft polymide and elastane and are just unbelievably comfortable to wear however some of the really pretty ones can be fairly pricey, especially if you have a love for lace or back detail.
We came up with a little idea to give you the expensive look without the price tag. Go and grab yourself a couple of bralettes from any of the discounted clothing shops and add some of our stretchy lace to the bottom panel. You only need around 80cm for one bra and at 145mm it is good and wide to extend as a sheer panel over your rib cage. It’s priced at £2.75 a metre and we stock it in both white and black.
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.
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.
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!
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 🙂