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The Britex Blog

  • 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

  • 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 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.

  • We Love Our Customers

    June 30, 2016 by Britex Fabrics

    JOan Burgren

    Today our customer Joan Burgren stopped by wearing an awesome dress that she created with some of our gorgeous cotton fabric. Joan lives locally in Menlo Park and has been sewing for three years. She drafts her own patterns, including the pattern for the dress she is wearing here. She sews for herself, for fun.

  • Insertion Lace on a Curved Seam - Guest Blogger Nicole

    June 30, 2016 by NicoleAtHome

    IMG_4854 I’m so excited to share my method for inserting lace into a curved seam (such as a princess seam).  For my blouse, I used this dusty peach handkerchief-weight linen and floral ivory insertion lace, though there are many, many options for both linens and laces, both online and in-store! After seeing one of the cover shots for the Hayden pattern, and making a couple myself (two versions here), I really wanted to insert lace in the seam lines on the front and along the hem.  The style lines are curved, though, so the typical way of inserting lace had to be tweaked a bit.   IMG_4875 Usually, insertion lace is applied on an uncut, unseamed piece of fabric.  The general steps are: sew along both lengths of the insertion lace, then cut through the fabric on the wrong side and press the fabric open.  On the right side, using a narrow zig-zag stitch, sew along the edge of the lace again (which catches the fabric on the wrong side) and the trim the fabric on the wrong side, close to the stitches.  Insertion lace can also be inserted into an existing seam, before sewing the seam and after taking into consideration the added width of the lace.   IMG_4870 However, for this blouse, the seam in which I wanted to put the lace was a curved princess seam along the front.  Instead of inserting the lace before sewing the seam, I did it a bit differently:

  • A June Wedding in Paris - We Love Our Customers

    June 27, 2016 by Britex Fabrics


    We recently received this message from our customer Denise:

    "Hi - I just wanted to send you a photo of a wedding gown I've just finished for a client, using silk and lace that we purchased at Britex. The bride fell in love with your Chantilly lace, and splurged! There are a few more photos on my page, with more to be added later, especially one of her in the gown. I hope you enjoy!
    Thank you so much! She's getting married in Paris in 2 weeks, I can't wait to get the pro photos of her in the dress, out in the garden! And, just an FYI, we bought 3 yds of the Chantilly fabric, 15 yds of the lace trim and 15 yds of the Thai Silk - we both couldn't be happier with everything from Britex! Douglass helped us with the silk and lace, and I know he isn't online at home, so maybe you could show him the photos? I'd really appreciate it - We can't thank him enough!

    Thanks again,


  • Fabulous 50's Summer Wrap Dress

    June 6, 2016 by VintageOnTap

      Summertime in San Francisco can be fickle, but this year has had more beautiful days than not!   photo 1   Using a Designer Italian stretch cotton, I made Simplicity 8085, a 50s wrap dress which is perfect for running around the City on a sunny day. The fabric has these amazing watercolor swatches on a faux-linen background and the hand is nice and crisp for a midweight cotton. Because of the weave, it doesn’t unravel very easily, which makes this an excellent quick project.   Photo 2   For this dress I used just shy of 3 yards on 60” wide fabric, which is a little bit on the low end for a vintage design with a full skirt (luckily my short stature helps with the skirt length!) Most dresses of this style can push 4 ½” yards, so this is a nice compromise if you’re looking for a vintage-style piece without using too much fabric.   photo 3

  • We Love Our Customers!

    May 25, 2016 by Britex Fabrics

    lace 1

    Our customer Tawny recently purchased some exquisite French lace which will become her wedding dress. Tawny's cousin Jessie Thomason is the person who gets the credit for bringing Tawny's design concept to life.  These photos are of the work in progress of what will eventually become her dress. It is actually a lace romper with a removable chiffon skirt. This concept for a wedding dress is so unique, that we just couldn't resist showing you.

    lace 2

  • Lipstick and Lace Chemise: How to Work with Chantilly Lace

    May 23, 2016 by Orange Lingerie

    Finished_Chemise_2 I love silk chemises. They are so simple and yet so luxurious. I also love working with lace. When Britex Fabrics sent me a black lipstick print silk fabric along with some Chantilly galloon lace and I knew immediately what I wanted to make! Chemise Construction
    I started with my camisole pattern and added 10”to the length. As with all bias garments, I made sure to have full pattern pieces so I could cut the fabric in a single layer. Since the garment is on the bias, I allowed for 2” seam allowances. I also cut some long bias strips to make the straps. I cut a few extra bias strips because it is always good to have options!
    The sewing was straightforward. With a Schmetz Microtex 70 needle and my favorite Gütermann Mara 120 thread (available at Britex Fabrics brick-and-mortar store) I sewed along the side seam lines while lightly stretching the fabric. Since the fabric edges are on the bias and will not fray, I finished the seams by merely pinking the fabric edges, a pretty and lighter weight finish compared to French seams. In the following picture you can see my original thread tracing of the seam lines in orange and the basted seam line in brown, both of which were removed after sewing by machine (the white thread) and finishing the edges.
    I made straps from bias strips that were folded, sewn and turned. I set these aside, planning to attach them as a final step once the lace was sewn to the garment, preserving as much optionality as possible for lace placement.

  • We Love Our Customers

    April 21, 2016 by Britex Fabrics

    Our customer Carla visited us in December and picked out a fabulous Italian Silk Cotton blend fabric. She was looking for fabric for a creation that she wanted to take on her vacation in February. The fabric she decided on screamed "tunic" to her, so she modified the Burda 6935 pattern, which she picked up the same day,  created a hi low hem, and added a pom-pom fringe and neck and shoulder trim to create a fun and breezy feel. The colors went perfectly with the waters of the Caribbean. She had fun wearing it and showing it off on the Island of Mustique.




  • "Make It With Wool" National Contest Winner & First Runner Up!

    April 20, 2016 by Britex Fabrics

    National Make it With Wool winner Meighan is a loyal customer who has entered the Make it With Wool competition seven times, with fabric from Britex. She has had four 1st in state, two Ohio reserve champion outfits, was fifth runner up in the nation when she was in Jr. High. According to her mom Melinda, Meighan was one of those babies who fell asleep on her lap while she was sewing, and did lots of button stringing and hand sewing before her first "outfit" which was a little jumper she created for Make it With Wool in second grade. This year Meighan won National First Runner Up, and will now have to move up to the adult category. Meighan has been sewing for about 20 years and has always loved it. For her winning outfit, she used Vogue Pattern 1320 (Issey Miyake) for her coat, and printed off a paisley coloring sheet for her yoke. Her dress is Vogue pattern 8972. Meighan enjoys playing with color, and as a result of this, the dress does not look like the pattern. IMG_0627 Last year during the national Make it With Wool competition, Meighan and a girl from Utah named Amelia were sizing each other up as potential competition. They didn't really like each other much and they both placed first and second runner up. After the contest, they started talking and realized that they lived only 20 minutes from each other. Now they are best friends and had to compete against each other again in the national competition this year. Amelia won National Champion and Meighan won First Runner Up. Amelia will be getting married in a few weeks, and Meighan is her maid of honor.

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