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May’s Steampunk costume

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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Happy Halloween

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.

 

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New Look New Catalogue

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.

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What is…………Interfacing

How to choose and use Interfacing

 

If you have never purchased interfacing for dressmaking it can be a rather confusing subject.

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.

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Simplicity Patterns still on Sale

 

 

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.

 

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New Autumn Dressmaking 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.

Add to this the fact that the patterns are still on sale at 25% off until Tuesday 2nd October 2018 and it’s a perfect time to plan your autumn makes.

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Lace for a Bralette

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.

 

 

 

 

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Subtle NEW stretch fabrics

These are just gorgeous!

With so many tempting patterns in our pattern books now using stretch fabrics,  we are hunting far and wide to source delicious new fabrics to add to our range.

These two beauties are both soft, heavy knit fabrics with a beautiful feel and drape – and look at those lovely  prints!

With so many of these patterns in the books now, we also stock stretch bias and stretch interlining; everything you need to make sewing stretch fabrics easy. With fabrics this good and the clothes so comfortable and stylish – why not give it a try?

 

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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.

 

 

 

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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.