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Information and tutorials for folks interested in antique Italian lacework, nouveau fashion, sewing techniques and much much more!

Category Archive: Sewing Techniques

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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Free 1930s Magic Bias Slip Tutorial

By turns slinky….and then elegant, sometimes we just want to go crazy and cut everything on the bias! Here are directions from Fashion Service magazine (August 1931, pg. 14) for a 1930s Magic Bias Slip: “Falling into the lines of each individual figure as if by magic, this slip, ultra modern because of its bias cut, is a perfect foundation under fitted frocks. And it’s as fascinating to work out as a picture puzzle, built up, as it is, from squares and triangles of fabric.” This is brought to us by James, costumier and archivist from Dressmaking Research. He says, “Now I read meticulously for any mention of cut and construction, illustrated or not, to expand the information in my archive.  Over the years I have learned a great deal from primary source materials. For example, images and information on petticoats and understructures fascinate me because I believe they are the “key” to a silhouette. The diagrams I have found pertaining to Capes, Cloaks, Mantles, and similar garments are enthralling in their ingenuity and simplicity.” We greatly admire his dedication to preserving and maintaining this fabulous educational archive for us. Hint: Make one of silk fabric for a chic yet airy summertime frock!

 

Posted: Projects, Sewing, Sewing Techniques
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Free 1920s Vintage Sewing Booklet

Jazz Age novel, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald stars the beautifully glamorous Daisy and the mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby. With the recent release of the film, The Great Gatsby, we’re spending this summer dreaming of silk frocks, twilight lawn parties, dapper tuxedos, and fountains of champagne.  Vintage Sewing Reference Library  has a wonderful collection of sewing books online, including 1926—The New-Way Course in Fashionable Clothes-Making Correspondence course; it is lavishly illustrated and comes with complete instructions for learning the art of clothes-making. Includes 56+ lessons covering everything you could want to know about sewing in the 1920′s from basic stitches to opening your own dress shop.

Posted: Sewing Techniques
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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 »

Posted: Fabrics, Guest Blogger, Hand-Crafted Items, Hand-Made with Britex Materials, Sewing, Sewing Techniques, Tutorial
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Tutorial: Working with Plaid—Man’s Shirt

When I discovered the beautiful and vintage-y modern plaid at Britex, I knew I had found the fabric for which I had been searching.  I had in mind a short sleeve button-up shirt for my husband, but wanted something different than classic dress shirting.  This fab plaid completely fit the bill!   However, once I laid out the fabric and went to cut out my pattern, I realized I had a big challenge ahead of me.  Plaid.  Matching plaid is one issue; deciding in which direction the plaid should be arranged and the overall layout was the other.  Should the plaid on the yoke be diagonal?  If the yoke is on the straight grain, could the pockets be diagonal?  What about the placket??  I was completely paralyzed by indecision for a while, but after looking at some ready-to-wear men’s tops, I opted to go for a straight-laced version with no diagonally arranged plaid pieces.  Really working the 70s vibe of the fabric might look great, but I wanted to be sure my husband would actually wear the shirt!

Click here to read more »

Posted: Guest Blogger, Hand-Crafted Items, Projects, Sewing, Sewing Techniques, Tutorial
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Interfacing, Interlining, Underlining, and Lining—Knowing the Difference

The world of linings and interlinings can sometimes be mysterious, and because of that, can often be an afterthought. That’s why, when our POP-UP Britex sponsor Apparel Arts ran an article explaining the differences between these unique layers, we asked if we could share it on the Britex Blog. Read on and let us know if you found it helpful!

Click here to read more »

Posted: Classes, Events & Shows, Fashion Tips, Organizations, POP-UP Britex, Sewing & Craft Groups, Sewing Techniques
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Silk Organza – The Perfect Addition to Any Sewing Room

Hello everyone!  I am back with a new vintage dress and an underlining tutorial. Along with this yummy fuchsia chenille, I received a length of silk organza for this project.

Silk organza really is a miracle fabric, in my opinion.  It is crisp, lightweight, and can perform so many different functions.  First off, it makes truly beautiful garments, especially when embroidered.  At the other end of the spectrum, it can make an excellent press cloth.  Tear it into strips, and it can help to stabilize a zipper opening.  I even substitute organza for fusible interfacing on facings.  I could go on and on, but perhaps I should get back on point!

Click here to read more »

Posted: Fabrics, Fashion Tips, Guest Blogger, Hand-Crafted Items, Hand-Made with Britex Materials, Projects, Sewing, Sewing Techniques
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Make a Shirt for Your Favorite Dude

Father’s day is June 16th, which we see as an occasion to brush up on our oft neglected sewing-for-dudes skills. Tasia from Vancouver, Canada, and proprietress of the blog, Sewaholic produced this timely tutorial on making a fitting muslin for a men’s shirt, and then goes on to explain the process in which she alters the collar stand for a huskier neck.  Although she used a McCaLLS pattern, we’re enamored with the Negroni Shirt by Colette; a slightly retro shirt with a more modern cut. The Colette instructions and booklet guide you gently through every step of creating a well-crafted casual shirt: felled seams, a lined back yoke, and sleeve plackets on the long sleeve version. Why not make two shirts – one in delicious party mint pink organic cotton , and the other in ride-em-cowboy county fair blue gingham?

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Tutorial: Mitered Corner Napkins, Two Ways by Nicole

At our house, we’ve been exclusively using cloth napkins for a while now.  I typically use quilting cotton for our “regular” napkins, so when I received the cotton and linen yardage from Britex, I almost felt guilty for using such incredible, beautiful fabric essentially for wiping dirty hands and mouths.  But as I worked with the linen in particular, I came to the realization that I wasn’t making a throw-away, disposable item; well-made table linens, from high-quality fabrics are the type of item one might inherit.  That thought made me especially happy since I chose the linen fabric to coordinate with a set of German breakfast dishes handed down to me from my grandmother.  How fitting!

Napkins come in all shapes and sizes, for all occasions.  For more “casual” napkins, I sew a narrow hem and little mitered corners.  For formal, special occasion linen napkins, I use a wider hem and the traditional sewn mitered corner.  This tutorial shows you how to make both! Click here to read more »

Posted: Fabrics, Fashion Tips, Guest Blogger, Hand-Crafted Items, Hand-Made with Britex Materials, Projects, Sewing, Sewing Techniques, Tutorial
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POP-UP Britex: Color Blocking Workshop 5/16

Our next pop-up is right around the corner (rumor is that there are still a few seats left). This workshop will be taught by Jamie Lau, a designer, sewing instructor, fashion editor, and author. Jamie is no stranger to Britex—maybe you’ll remember—in December of last year Britex hosted the SF launch party of BurdaStyle Sewing Vintage Modern, of which she is the co-author. On Thursday, May 16 she’ll teach POP-UP Britex: Color Blocking Workshop at Photobooth in the Mission.

Here is a little color blocking preview…

Click here to read more »

Posted: Britex Fabric Store, Classes, Events & Shows, Fabrics, Hand-Crafted Items, Hand-Made with Britex Materials, POP-UP Britex, Sewing, Sewing Techniques
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