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Category Archive: Fabrics

Part 2: Beautiful Bound Buttonholes by Laura Mae

Our retro queen Guest Blogger Laura Mae of Lilacs & Lace has a fabulous new project in store for us. There are so many details to this gala outfit that we have decided to break down the process into many fabulous technique-rich posts. Part 1 offers tons of pattern handling tips. Part 3? You’ll just have to wait and see.

[Britex has generously provided the fabric and sewing supplies for a dress I will be wearing to a formal event in October.  I will be sharing some of the steps and construction techniques with you as I work on this project over the next couple of months. All materials were selected in-store.]

 

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I am an avid fan of the bound buttonhole.  There are quite a few variations, but today I will focus on one of my personal favorites.

Click here to read more »

Posted: Fabrics, Guest Blogger, Projects, Sewing, Sewing Techniques, Tutorial
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New Liberty of London Cotton Lawns

liberty copyWe’re pleased to present two new Liberty of London luxurious cotton lawns in our online store. Liberty of London is a distinguished English designer, producing fine cottons since 1875. The first is a fabulous digital design called Volcanism, which is inspired by Iceland’s active volcanoes. The second is called Kussman; inspired by Icelandic horses, which are born and reared from species dating back to the 9th and 10th Centuries. Both were influenced by William Morris’ poem; ‘Iceland First Seen’. Liberty cottons are durable, and nearly wrinkle-free when taken directly from the dryer. This fabric makes delicious pajamas, dandy tailored shirts, dapper bow ties, and is a joy for hand-smocking. 54″ wide. 100% cotton. Imported from England.
“Lo from our loitering ship a new land at last to be seen;
Toothed rocks down the side of the firth on the east guard a weary wide lea,
And black slope the hillsides above, striped adown with their desolate green:
And a peak rises up on the west from the meeting of cloud and of sea,
Foursquare from base unto point like the building of Gods that have been,
The last of that waste of the mountains all cloud-wreathed and snow-flecked and grey,
And bright with the dawn that began just now at the ending of day.
” William Morris (1891)

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Tutorial + Free Oversized Tee Pattern

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It seems like tissue knits are everywhere lately, and with good reason, they’re amazing for summer layering. They make a nice light layer for cool evenings or, if you’re in Chicago like I am, all these cool days we’re having lately. Tissue knits can be a bit intimidating, they’re so thin, wispy, and roll like crazy, so I’m here to show you how I work with them.

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I was lucky enough to be able to make two tees in this amazing Japanese tissue knit, the first I went with these classic tomato and cream stripes and in the second I did a bit of color-blocking with this amazing neon yellow and charcoal grey. These knits are so light and airy, I couldn’t believe it. Serious dream town. In this tutorial I’m using my Hemlock Tee pattern which I created just for these tissue knits. You can download the pattern for free here at Grainline Studios.

Click here to read more »

Posted: Fabrics, Fashion Tips, Guest Blogger, Hand-Crafted Items, Hand-Made with Britex Materials, Sewing, Sewing Techniques, Tutorial
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Tips: Vintage Pattern Primer

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Hello fellow sewing enthusiasts! I’m Laura Mae from Lilacs & Lace. It will probably come as no surprise that I am a huge fan of vintage patterns.  I adore reproductions, which are generally a little more forgiving because of the added markings and updated instructions, free of damage and strange smells.  But there is something wonderful about working with a vintage pattern that is decades old.  Some have written notes or postmarks, and even contain newspaper clippings, or facing pieces cut from newsprint.  I love to imagine what the original purchaser had in mind when she picked out her pattern!

I chose a beautiful lightweight navy wool for this mail order pattern from the late 1940s.  A classic fabric for a classic silhouette!

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 If the idea of working with a vintage pattern intimidates you, here are a few hints. Click here to read more »

Posted: Britex Announcements & Sales, Fabrics, Fashion Tips, Guest Blogger, Hand-Crafted Items, Hand-Made with Britex Materials, Sewing, Tutorial
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Free Newsboy Cap Pattern

silk cap copyIt is sullenly overcast with brief bursts of uncertain sunlight – perfect San Francisco summertime weather. I’m off to meander in North Beach. My plan and my attire are meticulously laid out; worn jeans, a white shirt, a caramel vintage cardigan, red suede desert boots, a café au lait, then a long satisfying prowl through the narrow aisles of City Lights bookstore, a Luciano Special sandwich and an Orangina from Molinari Delicatessen, a Napoleon from Stella’s, and then a languorous mid-day picnic in Washington Square Park. Later, I’ll tip my two-tone caramel and baby blue silk newsboy cap over my eyes and do a little cloud watching, interspersed with reading The Edges of Time from Kay Ryan’s book The Best of It, New and Selected Poems.
It is at the edges
that time thins.
Time which had been
dense and viscous
as amber suspending
intentions like bees
unseizes them. A
humming begins,
apparently coming
from stacks of
put-off things or
just in back. A
racket of claims now,
as time flattens. A
glittering fan of things
competing to happen,
brilliant and urgent
as fish when seas
retreat.

(Kay Ryan)

Posted: Fabrics, Projects, Sewing
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Tutorial: Ristretto Dress with Lining

Hi, I’m Britex Guest Blogger Kristin from skirt as top, and today I’m back to share a dress I made using Britex’s Smoke & Coffee Stretch Cotton, which I reeeally loved working with.

This dress is actually a remix of my favorite dress pattern, Made by Rae’s Washi Dress, and though as I sewed it I was calling it “Frankenwashi,” I came up with a prettier moniker now that it’s all done.  Named after one of our favorite coffee shops and alluding to the rich and complex color of the fabric—I’m calling it the Ristretto Dress!

ristretto dress tutorial

My favorite sewing challenge is to take a proven, great-fitting, well-written pattern and modify it into something new.  I do it when I sew for my kids all the time, but haven’t ventured into doing it for myself too often yet.

ristretto dress tutorial

Click here to read more »

Posted: Fabrics, Guest Blogger, Hand-Crafted Items, Projects, Sewing, Sewing Techniques, Tutorial
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Tips: Successful Sewing with Silks – Draped Cocoon Dress

I’m excited to join Britex Fabrics as a guest blogger starting this summer. As a San Francisco native, I’ve been shopping at Britex ever since middle school – even before I could sew – and I also had my West Coast book launch party there last December.

In addition to being a fashion designer, I also teach sewing, patternmaking, and draping classes in New York and beyond. I often run across students who are intimidated to sew with silk (and I don’t blame them!). In my inaugural post, I’m going to share some tips on working with silk as I walk you through the process of creating one of my dress designs – a lightweight draped cocoon dress that works great for hot New York summers, but that can also be paired with opaque tights when the temperature drops. Click here to read more »

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Liberty of London + The Urbane Grandmother + Britex Fabrics!

Karletta, San Francisco’s urbane grandmother and blogger supreme from The Urbane Grandmother, combined Liberty of London cotton lawn, little girls, and a McCalls sundress pattern.  Liberty of London cotton lawn is ideal for so many garments, including heirloom quality children’s clothing, men’s dress shirts, pajamas, vintage-style frocks, and more. Liberty is great for travel, as it can be easily washed out in the sink, and dries quickly and nearly wrinkle-free! Britex carries a generous selection of Liberty of London cottons in our SF store; if you can’t make it into the store, utilize our handy Customized Swatch Service so that you can fondle and drool over these luscious fabrics for yourself!

Posted: Fabrics, Hand-Made with Britex Materials, Made by You
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Kristin & the Washi Summer Frock

Wow! Our fabulous Guest Blogger, Kristin from SkirtAsTop made a simple summer sundress from Britex Fabrics’ cotton. The simple lines and full skirt really play up the abstract print and rich colors of the fabric, and the pattern is the Washi, a downloadable pattern from MadeByRae. No zippers or closures are needed due to the lovely back shirring. The fabric is 100% cotton, 57″ wide and $22.99/yard. It is available in-store and can be bought by emailing us at service@britexfabrics.com.

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Japanese Indigo Cotton

I set the phonograph needle down carefully, and Etta James’ husky voice pours into my living room like wild honey, sweetening the night and my soul in equal measures. Wrapping my cotton dressing gown tightly around me, I admire the hand-stamped wheat sheaves print and the deep indigo color . Despite the fact that it is May, the fog has rolled in bringing a chill. As Mark Twain supposedly said, “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco”…and he is correct. Etta, a steaming bath, Earl Grey tea, the full moon, and a cat upon my lap keep me warm.
Oh, it’s so good
On a cold night
To have a fire
Burnin’ warm and bright
” (R. Newman)
Monsieur Dandy Du Jour

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