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Slow Fashion Industry : Pattern Sale Ends Today

Today is the last day that you can buy New Look patterns at 40% off.  The offer is valid on all of the designs in the newly launched summer catalogue which features some great new outfit ideas.

Be part of the Slow Fashion movement and invest some time in making yourself something to wear this summer, the time and care you take in making your own garment will lead to an appreciation of the textiles that you use and the resources that goes into producing them for manufacture.  You will be making something to fit your measurements so no more compromising on badly fitting garments either.  By starting to create your own wardrobe you can contribute to reducing the waste and emissions caused by the Fast Fashion industry because after investing your time in sewing things to wear, you will make it to last and think twice before casting it aside.  You will be doing your bit for the planet and your local town by spending money in an actual shop, not online!  This promotes local employment whereas buying patterns online will not.

We also hold stock of all the current New Look patterns so you don’t have to wait or pay for postage either 🙂  We don’t even mind if you choose to upcycle an old garment or textiles with your new pattern instead of buying new fabric from us because we are passionate about sustainability at Livingstone Textiles and have been working to keep our carbon footprint as small as we possibly can for years.  We are now stocking fabric made from waste fibres in the textile industry as well as recycled felt, and are actively demanding more choice from our suppliers.  You will be able to read a lot more about our business ethic and green credentials very soon because we are compiling a whole new page dedicated to it on our website where you will be able to see all of the little and big things we are doing to help make a difference.

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Book review – Make and Mend

Here is one of our new books that we think is absolutely great !

This is about the Japanese Art of Sashiko Embroidery and is a lovely book that will really get you inspired.

With fast fashion and with such a throw away culture because clothing has become so cheap, this make and mend book is a great way to teach you how to repair clothing or other fabric items in a stylish way.  This in itself is a great skill to have, to make your garments last that bit longer and give them a totally new lease of life. The designs in this book are so lovely that even incorporating them into new things you make will add beautiful detail and a unique style.   You can even add them to a bought item to make it your own individual style.

In this book Jessica Marquez starts with an introduction to how much waste we get through with fast fashion and cheap clothing and takes you back to the history of why the Japanese art of Sashiko Embroidery was so important.

The author takes you through all the tools and equipment that you will need and describes in detail what the tools or materials are that you will need to complete the projects throughout the book, this is great for an absolute beginner to mending and the tools are minimal because the author encourages you to use what you already have.

For each project there is a list of materials you will need at the start of it so you can get these ready before you begin. The book contains lots of detailed patterns for stiches that will become your mends and patches so its easy to follow and get right, you just need accuracy and a little patience when stitching the basic running stitch and the book guides you through the rest.

There are great ideas in here for new things to make and also really pretty designs for mends! This would make a great gift for someone or even a treat to yourself as it’s a great skill to have at any age. And as the saying goes a stitch in time saves nine, this is just a really stylish way of doing it.

Make sure you Follow us on Facebook and look out for our Upcoming Book Competition with prizes to be won and details of other exciting Totally Locally special offers that are coming up very soon!

 

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Chambray Now In Stock

We have some rather cool cotton chambray in stock at both our Bridport and Yeovil stores and we think they’ll look really fabulous made into a bag or a denim style jacket.

The cloth is lightweight and has a little stretch in it so would also look great as a jeans style skirt or trousers and you can now buy all three designs  from our online shop by clicking on the links below the videos, but first have a look at how they sparkle!

 

 

 

 

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Bargain Threads from only 50p!

We’ve been talking for many months about re-designing our bottom room to make it safer for everyone as a retail space.  This has historically been our delivery area but we also have some rolls of cloth stored on shelving that our customers enjoy having a look at.  We were sad to see another long established business go in Bridport this year with the closure of ‘This & That’ however the legacy lives on because we now have some of their shelving in our delivery area!

We’ve used the shelving to divide the room off and create a new shop display area with a great new space for us to work in behind it.  We had to relocate one or two things as anyone does when they’re having a shift around so we dismantled our old Coats thread stand.  We’ve been selling off all the old Coats stock at massively reduced prices as we’ve gone over to selling Gutterman threads instead so don’t forget to look at the colours we still have left in stock when you’re next passing, you can top up your thread stocks really cheaply because they are now reduced to 50p per reel for the small size and £1 a reel for the large!!

 

We took the opportunity to have a bit of a play last week and created a colourful fish from old cotton reels and we’ve hung him in the stairwell next to some of our gorgeous new woven tapestry fabrics that are available in these new wave designs and don’t forget that you get FREE LINING with curtains ordered throughout May.  We will be developing this theme over the coming weeks to create a summer carnival feel to the entrance that we hope you enjoy it as much as we do creating it.

 

 

 

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The Wild Wild West

Welcome to the Wild Wild West, home of the fastest drawn scissors at dawn.

Livingstone Textiles has two fabulous fabric outlets in the Westcountry bursting with hundreds of metres of gorgeous material ready to be made into lovely projects.  Did you know that as well as stocking fabric for dressmaking and material for making curtains, blinds and cushions, we also stock a number of wipe clean pvc tablings and oil cloths that are not only used for covering tables?

Here you can see that this vintage design of Cowboys and Indians has been made into a waterproof bag or shopping, books or school/college stuff.  It’s been lined with one of our bright and cheerful childrens fabrics featuring orange dinosaurs and has strong canvas straps stitched firmly between the layers.  The whole bag is robust and we think the design has a vintage vibe cool enough for both adults and kids.  The fabric is 130cm wide and costs £8.50 per metre and can be bought at either of our shops in Yeovil or Bridport.

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Quilted Dressmaking Fabrics

We’ve just taken delivery of two great new quilted fabrics in navy and coffee colours to go with our super shiny silver quilted material.

The navy colourway is available in a traditional diamond quilt pattern as is the silver and the coffee colour is a little bit different because it has a quilted flower pattern.  All three are great for projects like a gillet which having no sleeves is quite quick to make up and the fabric can also be made into a funky picnic rug or an anorak if you fancy a more involved project.

The navy and the coffee designs are available in a 148cm width and cost £7.50 per metre and the silver quilted is 110cm wide and costs £9.80 per metre. They are not yet available on our webshop but you can purchase by mail order over the phone or pop in to one of our shops at either Yeovil or Bridport. Clicke here for our contact details.

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Cushion Covers

 

We had an order in this week for a pair of curtains and two scatter cushions in this fresh spring fabric and they looked gorgeous when they came back from the maker.  We know that our customer will be so pleased with them, the cream piping perfectly compliments the soft white of the flowers.

Remember that we can make up all sorts of soft furnishings for you, from pencil pleat curtains and roman blinds to boxed and piped cushions and our prices are very competitive, just pop in to the shop and ask for details or take a look at our website, our making prices are the most competitive in the area.

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Stripy Spring

 

The light in the evenings and the burst of flowers everywhere tells us that despite the chill wind, Spring has definitely sprung.

We decided to change our downstairs fabric display from Autumn’s Oranges to these fresh and vibrant stripes and greens to bring the outside in.

All of the fabrics shown in the picture can be purchased in store and some are on our online shop.

The sad news is that we can no longer get the lovely grey elephant fabric, however you can pop in and buy one of the cushions if you’re so inclined but first come first served though as stock is very limited.

Meanwhile you will be thrilled to know that the fabulous circus monkeys on the pompom cushion (just seen) are very much available and new in.  We just know that this one is going to fly out because we all love it already.

Remember that we can make up a bespoke Roman Blind for you using either a traditional wooden batten system or the smart new cassette system. We also handmake all of our curtains to your exact requirements and you can choose from a variety of headings including modern eyelets using our new in house press.  We are proud of our team of curtain makers in and around Bridport,Dorset and Yeovil,Somerset and we can provide you with boxed and piped cushions for the home and caravan as well as scatter cushions and are happy to ome out and measure if you’re unsure. Don’t forget that we also have an in house workshop where our skilled upholsterer can breath new life into a favoured chair or settle.

Contact us for more details.

 

 

 

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Ready, Steady, Sew!

 

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.

4] PRACTICE

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

 

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Crazy cacti to crochet!

We’ve got some lovely new books in stock right now, including Crocheted Cactuses by Sarah Abbondio.

 

 

This one particularly appeals appeals to me both as a gardener (the patterns are for botanically correct, named cacti!) and as a beginner at crochet because these gorgeous little cacti are manageably quick makes, and there are useful illustrated guides to stitches and techniques. Also…no watering, ever!

Hardback book, only £6.99 from Livingstone Textiles

 

 

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Our makes – gorgeous monkey cushion

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of our makers has used this gorgeous print to make a cushion for our Bridport shop, and now we all want it! The colourful retro print monkey design is set off perfectly with another shop favorite, an edging of playful teal blue pompoms. Perfect for cushions, stylish yet playful curtains, or a roman blind – and don’t forget we can make them for you.

 

 

 

Retro printed linen, available from stock now from our Yeovil store, or pop in to see us in Bridport and we can have it bought down from Yeovil for you. Heavens, we may even order some for ourselves!

150cm/60″ wide; On sale now at £35.90 per metre

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Bean bag filling

Here at Livingstone Textiles we sell bean bag filling, which are the little polystyrene beads that make bean bags….. bean bags.

To source more of these Tom and Meg went to visit the factory in Birmingham last week to collect some more stock and see where they come from and how they package them up, which is you’ve ever dealt with these tricky little beads you will know is a nightmare. When they were there, they found the most enormous bean bag ever along with huge polystyrene blocks, here are some picture of Meg stood next to these giant things to give you an idea of the scale.

 

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Customer makes – Brilliant Bee Dress!

We love seeing what you all are making with our fabrics, it’s great to see the variety and the creativity that everyone has.

We have been sent these pictures by Debbie who has made this stunning dress from some of the fabrics found in our curtain and furnishings range, showing how versatile fabrics really can be, the limit is your imagination!

The sewing on this dress is so neat and the overall look is really effective so well-done Debbie!

Debbie has also been busy making another dress, from one of our cotton poplins, this dress has lovely summery look to it and again is brilliantly sewn.

 

If you have been busy making something from some of our fabrics and you’d like to share it with us, then please send us an email to people@livingstonetextiles.com with a photo attached. We love writing about the great thing you all get up to with fabrics.

 

 

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New In – Pure Wool

New in stock now, are these pure wools in three great colour ways, they are perfect for making skirts, jackets, bags and even curtains!

The colours are muted and subtle with a soft fade throughout to give a stripe effect. They are of a really high quality with a great feel and lovely drape.

Wool is such a warm and versatile fabric and really can be used to make almost anything and why wouldn’t you with these great colours available!

They are 144cm ( 56″) wide and are on sale at £26.50 per metre.

 

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No Business like ‘Sew’ Business

 

 

Bridport Arts Centre is all ready to kick off its Fashion Week event to celebrate fashion history, costume and the recent upsurge in the popularity of sewing.  Starting on Monday 4th March and running through to Sunday 10th March there is sure to be something to whet your appetite and inspire you to get your sewing machine out.  Livingstone Textiles is very proud to have been able to sponsor this event and during the week we will have a stand in the Arts Centre foyer where you can pick up information about our locations and the products and services we provide as well as a huge selection of fabric and haberdashery to choose from.

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The events consist of talks on pattern drafting, pattern reading, historical fashion and the influences of modern London fashion through the experienced eye of Saville Row tailor, author and tv presenter James Sherwood. Also visiting Bridport to talk about the Royal Wardrobe are the Curators of Bath Museum of Fashion. They will be explaining their current exhibition on modern royal fashion as well as the royal wardrobe of Queen Alexander, Princess Margaret, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother and our current Queen Elizabeth. Continuing the fashion history theme, Bridport museum will be giving a unique insight into their textile and costume collection dating back 150 years and Arts Centre Director Curtis Fulcher will be giving an informed talk on Tudors and Historical costume. Curtis is an experienced costume designer and maker and has made a couple of recreations to demonstrate his talk with questions. There are also a great range of films to watch about some of the greatest fashion designers that have ever lived and you can find more information about the whole weeks events here

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Stretch Velvet Evening Dress

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.

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Elegant Linen Voiles

Laura, one of our curtain makers and Lynne our track and pole fitter have just finished dressing the patio doors in this elegant dining room.

The Rennaisance mini professional track is excellent as a discreet wall mounted curtain track and can also be used as a ceiling mounted track.  The curtain hook fittings glide effortlessly along and it is extremely strong, making it suitable for heavierweight curtains, even with thermal and blackout linings.  It is also available in other colours to match in with your decor should you wish it.

The unbleached Russian linen chosen by the customer was made into unlined curtains to act as a screen against brilliant sunshine and to protect a collection of beautiful old maps and pictures.

We think you’ll agree that the effect is clean and natural and will look even better in the daytime with light filtering through the weave.

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Practical, stylish ticking stripes

Ticking never goes out of fashion, especially as we have it in so many colourways. Whether you’re minimalist, rustic, or going for a maritime theme; whether it’s for blinds, curtains or cushions ticking fabric will fit right in.

For some creative inspiration, follow the link to see how Laura, one of our curtain makers, used ticking to line some charming curtains for a shepherd’s hut. It contrasted perfectly with the scandi trees show fabric, and the curtains look gorgeous! So if you feel you have a great home furnishing idea but don’t feel confident to make it yourself, at Livingstones you can have curtains, cushions, blinds and more hand made and hand finished by our makers, who can be as creative as you want them to be.

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Thermal Door Curtain

We had to make a door curtain to cover a rear door that was situated at the bottom of a staircase and creating a cold draught in the main living room of this home. A number of fabrics had been mixed by the customer to create a comfortable country living look so we had to find a fabric that didn’t fight with the rest of the colour scheme.  After careful consideration of fabric books and several swatches the customer settled on this fabic by Isles.  The Dove grey colour really softens that corner of the room while complimenting the colour scheme of blues and being made of wool it has thermal qualities that keep the room warmer.  The customer also decided on a thermal lining to eliminate any cold air passing through the cloth and this has made it look very thick and luxurious whilst doing exactly the job intended.  Isles Harris can be purchased from Livingstone Textiles and we can send out samples of any colour in the series.

 

 

 

 

 

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Winter Hares

One of the staff from Livingstone Textiles in Bridport saw a hare in a field on the Dorset Coast Road this morning.  It was very still but its brown colour and long ears stood out against the drab green of the field and it was just quietly watching.  We like to have that morning chat when we all come in to work while we go about opening up and making a brew and it got us to thinking about some of the really special faabrics we’ve had in over the past couple of years.  Being a shop in a rural town we notice that our customers seem to like hares as much as we do so we thought we’d share a couple of really special fabrics that we’ve had in recently.

All of these are still available in our shops and we also have a couple available to order from our website.