Hand-Made with Britex Materials
The Britex Blog
August 4, 2016 by Kristin DLong 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. 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 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.
July 18, 2016 by Britex FabricsMuch 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. 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 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. 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. 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.
July 18, 2016 by Communing with Fabric
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. 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. 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. 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! 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!
July 13, 2016 by Chuleenan of CSewsHow 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.) 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. For 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. It's called a ladder stitch because the other side looks like a ladder. 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. The elastic looks like this.
July 12, 2016 by Chuleenan of CSewsHow 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. 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 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. 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. 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. Now the ribbon will lay flat against the crown because of the slight stretch you gave it.
July 11, 2016 by Chuleenan of CSewsPart 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. The materials (Available at britexfabrics.com and / or at the Britex Fabrics brick-and-mortar store in San Francisco)
- Millinery wire
- Lace fabric
- Petersham Ribbon (not pictured)
- Pins or pattern weights
- Press cloth
- Fray Check
June 30, 2016 by Britex Fabrics
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.
June 30, 2016 by NicoleAtHomeI’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. 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. 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:
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!
June 6, 2016 by VintageOnTap
Summertime in San Francisco can be fickle, but this year has had more beautiful days than not! 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. 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.