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

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  • OwlAlwaysBeThereForYou

    September 30, 2016 by Britex Fabrics

    owlbethereforyou4

    Our customer Elizabeth Michelle who is a regular customer at Britex Fabrics seems to always be on the lookout for vibrant colors and amazing prints at our brick-and-mortar store. She always gives us a shout out on her Instagram page when she creates something cute or fun from our fabric. Recently, she found a lipstick print that she transformed into a fabulous garment. Pictured below, she is modeling a dress that she created partially from our signature I Left My Heart in San Francisco fabric, found exclusively at Britex Fabrics. It is a 100% mid-weight cotton, 44" wide and only $15.99 / yard. The dress looks so great, and we love her styling too.

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    For more information about Elizabeth or her projects, follow her on Instagram.


  • Silk Necktie and Cocktail Dress by Andrea

    September 14, 2016 by Britex Fabrics

    Andrea Kneilands a Britex Fabrics customer from Port Hope, Canada ordered a lovely stretch silk print fabric online, and created a lovely dress and silk tie. Britex Fabrics ships internationally, to almost everywhere! Check out this silk print fabric and others here.
    "Hello, I was so happy with my silk fabric I ordered from you I thought I would share a picture of the finished dress and tie. Thank you for the great customer service." - Andrea Kneilands
    CUSTOMER FEATURE 9 2016 Andrea has been sewing since she was about 7 or 8 years old. Her Mother and Nanny sewed. They taught her how to sew. She made dolls and doll clothes. In High School she took Home Economics and private sewing lessons. This is when she started to make clothes for people, and she has been making them ever since. She had a small business when her children were little, where she made children’s  clothes and some ladies wear. She has always sewn her own dress up clothing. Continue Reading

  • Yum Yum Couture

    August 31, 2016 by Britex Fabrics

    header   Britex Fabrics customer and YumYum couture fashion designer Miriam Shepard from Chevy Chase Maryland designs and handcrafts contemporary haute couture garments in her studio. She drafts her own original patterns, and has been sewing for 15 years. At first glance you might think that youa re looking at a life sized mannequin wearing a gown, but each design is created for fashion dolls ranging 15 - 17 inches in height. Each design is a one of kind or one of a limited edition. Miriam's creates the outfits to fit very specific types of dolls from various doll manufacturers such as Tonner Doll Company and Integrity Toys. She does this so that each design will exactly fit the doll it is created for. Each design is for sale, and many of them end up in the hands of doll collectors who have commissioned work from Miriam. YumYum provides a wide variety of garments, including gowns, dresses, blouses, jackets, coats, skirts, pants, and accessories. Below is a couture dress which Miriam created from a limited edition 100% silk Georgette floral print which she purchased at Britex Fabrics. Although Miriam purchased the last of this particular silk fabric, we have over 200 other silk fabrics online to choose from. Now is an excellent time to order Silk fabric since all online silk category fabrics are on sale now through September 5th.  

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    Continue Reading

  • Designer Masks for PROJKT Maiden Lane

    August 18, 2016 by Britex Fabrics

    IMG_3427 Lance Victor Moore and Emily Payne, wearing masks designed by Lance for Emily's fashion line Leathertongue. These masks will be worn by models for PROJKT MAIDEN LANE, a Britex Fabrics event on September 23, 2016.

     

    As September approaches, we're gearing up for the Britex Fabrics fashion show, PROJKT MAIDEN LANE, featuring Project Runway designers Kini Zamora, Richard Hallmarq and Emily Payne (our own Britex alumna and Project Runway All Star) and Under the Gunn designer Rey Ortiz. Showing new pieces for her edgy Leathertongue line, Emily's focus is a loose-lined, non-gender-specific look featuring painted fabrics by designer Mary Rosenberger.

    Emily also commissioned a series of unique masks created by artist Lance Victor Moore, (L.V.M.) who utilized a different organic material in each exquisite piece. Emily's mask in the picture above, for example, features gilded branches gathered in Golden Gate Park, while Lance's look sports gilded starfish arm tips. Lance explains, "Emily contacted me in July asking if I'd be interested in making some masks for her runway show–her line is very ungendered, and the masks are designed to give the models an anonymous, androgynous look." Enhanced with trims and hardware (most of which can be found in our Third Floor notions department), the masks are crafted from leather, animal bones, tusks, shells, wood and even porcupine quills: anything  that "had a sharp, spiky feel," as Lance puts it.

     

    IMG_4251 Lance holds one of the masks he made. He used a variety of materials such as chain, open work metal, studs, and thorns that he covered in chrome powder coat. The mask is attached to the head with an elastic band across the back of the head.

     

    Lance and Emily's collaboration is unforgettable–we're so proud to feature their work in PROJKT MAIDEN LANE! We'll be posting photos as soon as we can after the event.

     

    IMG_4256 Lance poses with two of his creations.

    Lance describes the materials he used as things like "leather, stamped metal, beads, chain, horn, shell, wood, glass, crystal, antler, etc., along with airbrushing, hand painting, sculpting and burnishing metal."

    We asked him what his favorite mask is. "My favorite three masks are the wood one, the antlers, and the gold shell one. "

    Check out Lance Victor Moore's new website coming soon.

    Britex will be hosting the PROJKT MAIDEN LANE on Friday, September 23rd. Limited tickets available through Eventbrite.


  • Couture Researcher and Britex Fabrics Enthusiast - Dolly McFadden

    August 4, 2016 by Kristin D

    DOLLY HEADER FOR BLOG   Long time Britex Fabrics customer, custom clothing designer, and couture documentarian Dolly McFadden has been sewing couture fashions since her mother taught her to hand sew. "I spent more time ripping things out and pressing them than working with the sewing machine,” she said in the 1990 October/November issue of Threads magazine.   mcfadden_0018 FOR BLOG   Her research and cataloging of the "Theatre de la Mode" fashion exhibit won the documentary of the same name an Emmy. The exhibit was made up of over 200 one-third scale French mannequins and garments. The Theatre de la Mode was created in 1946 and toured all over the world to raise money for post-war France economic recovery. It was also designed to highlight the French fashion industry. It kept the Paris fashions on the map as the world recovered from the Second World War. Designers such as Lanvin, Balenciaga, Balmain, Sciaparelli, Patou, and others were represented in the Theatre. Extreme care was taken in the making of each mini-garment, down to trim, buttons, hats and accessories. The result was a true reproduction of the designer's creations. The collection has been housed at the Maryhill Museum of Art in Goldendale, Washington, since its last exhibition at the De Young Museum in San Francisco in 1946. McFadden says she feels "So fortunate and grateful to be part of some of these projects."   mcfadden_0003 FOR BLOG   McFadden has been shopping at Britex Fabrics over the years, and is considered one of our regular customers. She creates custom clothing designs and teaches couture techniques. Special occasion gowns she has designed over the years include wedding gowns and headpieces, after five dresses, and a variety of one-of-a-kind fashions. Continue Reading

  • Social Justice Sewing Academy (SJSA) Quilts Made With Fabric From Britex

    July 18, 2016 by Britex Fabrics

    header for blog Much like the stitch that is sewn into the fabric (fabric provided by Britex Fabrics) of each quilt, the binding force that gives fabric meaning and life, each student has a history upon which their reality is vested.   IMG_3276   However, history as it is taught in our public education system is not inclusive, ostracizing hundreds of thousands of Black and Brown people whose history lies outside of the dominant American narrative. A history that only hints at the endless suffrage, exploitation and violence incurred by minority populations; today’s social, educational and economic inequality remnants of that history. - Sara Trail IMG_3275   SJSA is an opportunity for students to see themselves reflected in a curriculum that values the stories of their ancestors and the legacy they have yet to realize. The curriculum itself is multidisciplinary drawing on concepts taught in ethnic studies, gender/women studies, education and sociology. The main objective of SJSA is to give young people a safe space and tools to develop a critical lens allowing understanding of the social issues that plague their communities.   IMG_3280   SJSA is a social process using art as both a learning environment and a sewing studio for young people. While sewing has become a gendered activity that is often thought of as outdated or exclusively female, the hope is that in introducing young women to the practice of sewing, they will see just how powerful it is to breath life into a simple piece of fabric. Quilting is more than just a hobby; it is a revolutionary practice of resistance.   IMG_3274   The Social Justice Sewing Academy (SJSA) is an opportunity for students to see themselves reflected in a curriculum that values the stories of their ancestors and the legacy they have yet to realize. The curriculum itself is draws on concepts taught in ethnic studies, gender/women studies, education and sociology.   IMG_3269 Continue Reading

  • Reversible 7-Gore Skirt

    July 18, 2016 by Communing with Fabric

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      Hey! It's Shams of Communing with Fabric with another garment made from a beautiful Britex fabric! For this project, my assignment was to choose a fabric from the Knits category. I quickly settled on this beautiful double-sided ponte made from cotton, polyester, and lycra.
    Reversible Black and Cardinal Red Cotton Blend Knit Fabric Click the image to see this fabric on the Britex site. It's also available in sky blue (Note that some of the photos show this fabric as a bright red, but it's actually a heathered red in real life)
     
    This fabric is wonderful! It has more drape than some of its stiffer ponte cousins. It feels like a rayon and I was surprised to learn that it contains cotton, but no rayon. It is beefy, so it hangs nicely, but it's also a bit "sproingy". It presses beautifully. I threw it into the washer and dryer before cutting and it looked just the same afterwards. I didn't measure to determine the amount of shrinkage, but I suspect that it shrank a bit. Because it's a double knit, it's very easy to sew. If you are afraid of sewing knits, a ponte (double knit) fabric is a good way to get started. It doesn't curl at the edges due to it's double-sided construction. This ponte stretches in both directions, but it's also fairly stable. I wanted to feature both sides of the fabric and I seriously dithered about how to use it. I was torn between a top and a skirt and I knew exactly how I wanted to make each but, in the end, the skirt won out. I drafted a 7-gore skirt. Why 7 gores? I find the asymmetry of an uneven number of gores aesthetically pleasing. In order to use both sides of the fabric, I drafted the pattern with 1" seam allowances and a 1" hem. The only exception was the waist seam, which has a 1/2" seam allowance. I sewed the 1" seams with the black side facing the black side. I decided to funk it up by constructing it in a car wash style so I sewed each gore 15" down from the waist, and left the rest of the seam unsewn. I turned each seam allowance and hem segment to the red side and folded it under, turning the 1" seam allowance into a 1/2" trim. I secured each seam allowance, individually, to the red side by hand. You could do this by machine, but I like the effect of hand sewing—I have more control.
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      As part of this process, I mitered all 14 corners at the hemline. Mitering is important to manage the bulk that would result if you merely turned up the trim on each edge.
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      An advantage of such a clean finish is that the skirt is fully reversible! The red side features black trim, and the black side is solid black.
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    It might be summer elsewhere, but when I took these pics this morning it was 50°F, windy, foggy, wet, drippy, and misty. In short, it was COLD and more like winter weather than summer weather!
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    I didn't include a pic of the waistband, and I never tuck a top, but I attached a casing for elastic using the black side of the fabric. Because of the car wash effect, both sides flash the reverse color as I move. This skirt is a lot of fun to wear! Continue Reading

  • Millinery: How to Make a Decorative Removable Ribbon Hat Band

    July 13, 2016 by Chuleenan of CSews

    How to Make a Decorative Removable Ribbon Hat Band (Part III) For my second hat band, I had two yards of two ribbons: A striped 1.25″ Petersham ribbon and a 5/8″ solid black Petersham to go on top of the striped ribbon, which adds a thick stripe. The extra yard was for the embellishment that covers where the hat band pieces join. (To read about my other hat band, see Part II.) Ribbon 2B   I cut a 25-inch length of the striped and black ribbons for the crown and gently stretched and pressed them. The striped ribbon wasn't as pliable as the black ribbon so I required a little more tugging to get it to curve. Ribbon 15For more information on pressing and stretching Petersham ribbon, see Part II. Next I pinned the solid black Petersham ribbon to the striped ribbon and used a ladder stitch to baste it in place. Ribbon 16 It's called a ladder stitch because the other side looks like a ladder. Ribbon 17 Then I folded over each end of the ribbon twice, about 1/4 inch - just enough so that that the length was a little less than the crown circumference of 23 inches. The elastic would bridge the gap. I machine stitched the ends and then attached a 2-inch piece of wide elastic, securing it with a double row of stitches. one row of stitches follows the stitch line I made from sewing the ends of the ribbons. I used a longer piece than I needed because it makes it easier to sew. Then I just trimmed the excess after it was sewn. Ribbon 18 The elastic looks like this. Ribbon 19 Continue Reading

  • Millinery: How to Make a Removable Ribbon Hat Band

    July 12, 2016 by Chuleenan of CSews

    How to Make a Removable Ribbon Hat Band (Millinery Part II) I've had this hat for years and then the hat band began to show some unfortunate discoloration. It turns out the manufacturer used a double-sided adhesive to attach the hat band to the hat. The adhesive became greasy and leaked through the ribbon. A high quality hat would not use adhesive of any kind. I got it because I liked the shape and the small brim. It goes with a lot of my wardrobe. My solution was to remove the old hat band and the adhesive and make a removable replacement hat band. I decided to make two. This is the first one. To see my striped removable hat band using two ribbons, see Part III.   Ribbon 1 My first step was to choose my Petersham ribbon. Petersham is a type of ribbon that has little notches on the edges that enables it to go around a curve. It has some flexibility to it, which lets you manipulate it so it can go around a curve and lay flat against the crown of the hat (the part that covers the head). Britex has a huge selection of Petersham in solid colors and even striped Petersham, which isn't as common as the solids. Here’s the ribbon I selected for the first hat band: A solid gray, 1.5 inch width Ribbon 2A First I measured the crown of the hat at the widest part - about 23 inches there. Make sure your tape measure is at the same level around the widest part of the crown, where the ribbon will go. I moved it slightly up so you could see the measurement. Cut a length of ribbon the circumference of the crown plus two inches. You won't need more than an inch or so extra but you can always trim the excess. I like to have a little extra for safety. Ribbon 3 When you put the ribbon around the crown, it won't lay flat because the crown is wider at the bottom. You will have a slight gap at the top of the ribbon, like this photo. Ribbon 4 To make your ribbon lie flat, you gently stretch the bottom edge of the ribbon as you press it with your steam iron. Start at the center and pull it to one side and then repeat on the other side in the opposite direction. You just want it to be slightly wider at the bottom, about 1/8 inch on each side of the ribbon. Don't forget to use a press cloth to protect the ribbon. If you don't it could get shiny. I used a scrap of organza as my press cloth. Ribbon 5 Now the ribbon will lay flat against the crown because of the slight stretch you gave it. Ribbon 6 Continue Reading

  • Millinery: Making a Lace Hat

    July 11, 2016 by Chuleenan of CSews

    Part I: Making a lace hat The first part of this tutorial is about making a lace hat using milliner Patricia Underwood’s Vogue pattern (V8891). I made version D – a small-brimmed hat – and trimmed it with Petersham ribbon. Hat 1The materials (Available at britexfabrics.com and / or at the Britex Fabrics brick-and-mortar store in San Francisco) Hat 2 The lace, tulle and millinery wire can all be purchased at Britex Fabrics. I chose a navy lace because it’s versatile and can go with a dress or jeans. But this lace has some stretch to it and the tulle has no stretch, which is not ideal but I didn’t really have any problems sewing them together. The tulle is a contrasting color so you can see the lace. If you get a matching color, the lace will just blend in and you won’t see the design of the lace. I’ll be using a couple of hat terms: 1. The crown, the part of a hat that covers the head. 2. The brim, which attaches to the crown. Brims can be small like the version D or wide, such as version E of this pattern. The millinery wire is inserted in the edge of the brim and that’s what makes it stand out from the crown. There are only three pattern pieces for this hat – two pieces make up the crown and then there’s the brim. The tulle is the lining and interfacing for this hat. Because tulle is semi-transparent and not very stiff, the pattern has you cut each two of each pattern piece. I traced size L rather than cutting out the pattern pieces. This means that if I want to make a hat for a friend with a smaller head, I can trace that size from the original pattern pieces. You can use pins or pattern weights to hold the pattern pieces in place. This is a synthetic lace so I wasn’t worried about the pins damaging the lace. If you use a delicate lace, you probably want to use pattern weights. I used scissors to cut this piece because I have more control on the curve.   Hat 3 And here’s the side of the crown – cut on the fold. Hat 4 The brim is also cut on the fold. I used pattern weights on these two pieces and cut them with my rotary cutter. The curve of these pattern pieces is easier to handle with a rotary cutter. You can use scissors or a rotary cutter to cut lace; it all depends on your personal preference and what you need to cut. Hat 5 I cut two pieces of the three pattern pieces from the tulle. For the crown, one piece of tulle acts as the interfacing and the other is the lining. The brim uses both pieces of tulle on the inside. Warning: There’s a LOT of pinning and basting for this pattern. You pin the tulle pattern piece to the lace piece for the crown (top and side) and baste them together before you sew. You pin and baste each pattern piece together. I used a safety pin to mark the center front of the crown. The seam is in the center back. I used a universal Schmetz needle 70/10 and a stitch length of 2. I didn’t have any experience machine sewing lace – only hand sewing it – but this was easy to sew. I didn’t use a special needle and it was fine.   Hat 6 I won’t go into every step because you can just follow the pattern instructions. But there was one part that was tricky to figure out, even with the instructions. After you’ve stitched the crown together and sewn the tulle lining (steps 1-8), you pin the lining of the crown to the lace crown wrong sides together. It looks like this. Hat 7 The you turn it right side out and you’re ready to attach the brim. Continue Reading

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