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Work Experience

Every year at Livingstones we are lucky enough to have the opportunity to share a little bit of our business workings with a work experience student from a local school.

This year we had the lovely May, from Woodroffe and she was a quick learner, embracing all of the tasks we presented her with. She had some fresh and interesting ideas and will definitely be one to watch in the fashion industry over the coming years. In the meantime we’d like to share a couple of the outfits she created for our manequins, entirely from our remnants baskets.

Miss Haversham sporting a midnight blue evening gown


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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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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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Book Review: Boho bags

 

This lovely book by Beate Schmitz is full of ideas for making a variety of useful bags, perfect for using up the small pieces of fabric we all have at home, or for treating yourself to a half metre of something gorgeous from the huge range of furnishing fabrics here at Livingstone Textiles!

There are detailed, illustrated instructions  for a range of bags from small bags for keys and change through to large tote bags and striking messenger bags. Also included are full-size patterns in a storage pocket in the back of the book; all in all a useful and well thought out addition to your bookshelf, and a bargain at only £8.99!

Most curtain fabrics can be used for making bags, and also many craft fabrics are suitable for smaller bags, or larger ones with use of a heavier interfacing. Browse our online selection by clicking on the pictures below, or visit our stores in Bridport Dorset or Yeovil Somerset to see a larger range.

 

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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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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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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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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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The Complete Measurement Guide For Dress Making

Simplicity-Complete-Measurement-Guide

One of the things about dressing making that can be quite scary is the sizing of the garment.  The idea of spending hours making a beautiful dress, or trousers and putting them on for the first time and then them not fitting can be incredibly soul destroying.  Fit is so important and completely the point of making your own garments so when they end up miles too big or worse too tight, all that effect you have put in has gone to waste!  sometimes you can buy a dress pattern and, particularly if you buy it discounted online, you won’t be getting the free expert advice that benefits our in store customers.  When it arrives you may realize that you don’t understand what the sizing means and that your dress size on the pattern doesn’t even match the garment size! All this can be very confusing and put you off you starting the project at all.  When you purchase from us in house, we are able to give you sound advice on size and fabric requirements, including suitability.  We can open the patterns out on our cutting tables and help you to understand terms, abbreviations and phrases and we’re always here to help and advice as you progress your project.   It may also benefit you to read the Simplicity-Complete-Measurement Guide

This guide adds to the quick fit guide on a pattern with a complete range of sizes for all ages, both male and female  plus measuring tips, home decor, and more. This guide will really assist you with confidence in making.

Livingstone Textiles in Bridport, Dorset and in Yeovil, Somerset both sell Newlook and Simplicity dress patterns. We usually have all of them in stock in order for you to start your project taht very day.  Very occasionally we may have just sold the pattern you wanted and will get it ordered in for you and if it’s on sale. you still get the sale price.  Another great advantage of buying from us and not online discounted shops is that you can join our pattern club for free.  This benefits you hugely because when you have bought four patterns from us, your fifth one will be free.  Thats ANY pattern as well, from either of our catalogues.  Browse online and buy in store, no postage,no waiting, immediate sewing, help and advice in person, and a pattern club, what are you waiting for?

If you would like more information on the fabrics and services of Livingstone Textiles at either of our stores then please contact us and we will be really happy to help you.

 

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Then And Now

The staff here at Livingstone Textiles have a weak spot for dressmaking patterns and whilst one of them was having a sort through hers, she found the lovely vintage one on the right.  This style has been re issued by Simplicity this season in their Vintage Collection.  If you take a closer look at the neckline and waist of this ‘frock’ you can see that they are virtually identical. Pattern 1587 is in stock at both our Bridport abd Yeovil stores if you fancy going vintage in the spring.