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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

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?

Posted: Projects, Sewing, Sewing Techniques
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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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Tutorial + Scoop Top Pattern

Hello, Kristin from skirt as top here again! I was really excited to see that Britex is now offering knit fabric online! For this project I picked out a super cool Japanese tissue knit with scribbles all over it. I thought it’d be a great fabric to turn into a simple t-shirt using my favorite J.Crew shirt as a launch point, with plenty of my own modifications to get the perfect fit. And because I want to share the love of my new favorite shirt, I thought I’d offer a free pattern along with the tutorial today!

scoop top pattern & tutorial Click here to read more »

Posted: Guest Blogger, Hand-Crafted Items, Hand-Made with Britex Materials, Projects, Sewing, Sewing Techniques, Tutorial
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Finish Your Seams with a Coordinating Fabric

It is an elegant seam finish twofer! Gigi from Daryl Lancaster, fiber artist and blogger from Weaver Sew put together this simple tutorial on making a Hong Kong seam finish. This finish is one of the easiest couture finishes you will ever learn. And here is another tutorial on this lovely finish; Cenetta from The Mahogany Stylist put together a complimentary tutorial on making your own bias tape. Cut your own bias strips, and at 1.25″ to 1.5″ wide, you should be able to manage most seams without piecing. As a bonus, you don’t have to finish the hidden edge since the bias cut prevents the fabric from fraying! This is perfect for finishing pants side seams, when you’re going for that casual rolled up look, and we’re planning on using it to finish the sleeve seams of our newest Liberty of London shirt; with a contrasting print, it will make rolling up ones shirtsleeves a dapper fashion statement rather than a fashion faux pas!

Posted: Sewing, Sewing Techniques
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Sew a Shirred Knit Dress!

As the all the best dressed tigers know, stripes are the bee’s knees! Kristin from Kijo Designs and Rachel from Family Ever After posted this nifty tutorial on making a striped knit dress using the technique of shirring with elastic thread. Make it with black and white jersey knit from Britex fabrics.
The zebra’s stripes are lacking hues,
So they don’t compare to you-know-whose.
Orange, black, and white is what to wear!
It’s haute couture for those who dare!
It’s camouflage, and stylish, too!
Yes, tigers look the best, it’s true!

(From The Indispensable Calvin and Hobbes)

Posted: Projects, Sewing, Sewing Techniques
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