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


The Britex Blog

  • Free Online Corsetry Seminar - The V & A Museum

    January 10, 2011 by Britex Fabrics

    The Victoria and Albert Museum is the epitome of British refinement and decorum. Here, they present a free online educational seminar in corsetry, complete with photographs of corsets, bustles, and crinolines from their collection.
    “No other garment in Western history has assumed such political, social, and sexual significance. What is it about the corset? A mere undergarment, designed to enhance the female figure, has become an icon of all that fascinates about the ambiguous sexual codes of the Victorian era. Was wearing corsets primarily about sexual empowerment or restrictive chastisement? Could the corset explain common female maladies of the Victorian era, from fainting fits to miscarriage? How great was the suffering, for how small a waist? Lucy Johnston, curator at the Fashion Department of The Victoria and Albert Museum, takes us through the history of the corset, from the ascension of Queen Victoria through the first decade of the twentieth century. Most of us are not aware of the many different phases, shapes and fabrics of the corset, as well as the technological innovation involved. Suzanne Lussier, also of the (V & A Museum ) Fashion Department, sees the corset through to contemporary fashion, to reveal how our obsession with the corset has persisted and evolved to incorporate modern sexual and aesthetic tastes.”

  • Giving Through Knitting

    September 15, 2010 by Britex Fabrics

    Kate from Knitty has compiled a handful of non-profit organizations that needs hand-knitted items, and the generous folks at InterweaveKnits have posted another gigantic list of non-profits. This is a great way to help others, work your way through your yarn stash, while further developing your mad knitting skills.

  • Costume Links from the GBACG

    June 3, 2010 by Britex Fabrics

    We are stunned by the Greater Bay Area Costume Enthusiasts links page! They have provided links to everything from Victorian hair work, to inspirational personal blogs featuring amazing sewn costumes, to Steam Punk. And we love their motto: Suo ergo maledico or "I sew, therefore, I swear."

  • Felted Nkisi Workshop – Learn Needle Felting Techniques!

    May 4, 2010 by Britex Fabrics

    Museum of the African Diaspora, 685 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94105. Session I - Sat. May 8, 2010, Session II -Sat. May 15, 2010, Session III - Sat. May 22, 2010. All classes are from 11:00 am - 2:00 pm and in the Education Center. Nkisi literally translates as "sacred medicine in the Kongo language of Central Africa. The term Nkisi is the general name for a variety of objects used throughout the Congo Basin and are thought to contain spiritual powers used for healing and protection. In this 3 day workshop, participants will learn needle felting techniques to create the structure for a felted Nkisi doll, as well as various methods to add decorative elements including healing charms and various African symbols in order to finish the Nkisi. NO PRIOR EXPERIENCE NECESSARY & ALL MATERIALS PROVIDED. Workshop Series: $45/members $55/non-members OR Individual Session: $20/member $30/non-member

  • Craft Bar: Thursday, March 4th between 4pm & 8pm

    February 26, 2010 by Britex Fabrics

    Craft Bar with Etsy Labs at MOCFA SF returns! 2010 launches with an eco-savvy theme for the conscientious consumer. On Thursday, March 4th between 4pm to 8pm craftastic classes and schmoozing begins! One of our crafty Britex employees will teach folks how to crochet with recycled plastic bags, and there will also be guided knitting lessons. Sip locally-brewed refreshments, nibble on homemade baked goods, and visit the new exhibit Rhythm and Hues: Cloth and Culture of Mali for inspiration. All skill levels welcome: materials and instruction will be provided. 51 Yerba Buena Lane. SF 94103.

  • Antique Beaded Coin-Purse (France, 1827)

    February 24, 2010 by Britex Fabrics

    The Museum of Bags and Purse: Tassenmuseum Hendrikje This beaded coin-purse (France, 1827) shows the arrival of Zarafa, the first giraffe to set hoof on French soil. Mehmet Ali Pasha, the Ottoman Viceroy of Egypt sent this lovely lady giraffe to Charles X of France in 1826, and she resided in Paris until her death in 1844.

  • Exhibit: Rhythm and Hues: Cloth and Culture of Mali

    February 22, 2010 by Britex Fabrics

    Rhythm and Hues: Cloth and Culture of Mali - February 5, 2010—May 2, 2010, The Museum of Craft and Folk Art, 51 Yerba Buena Lane, San Francisco, CA 94103. Rhythm and Hues: Cloth and Culture of Mali gives long overdue recognition to contemporary Malian fabric artisans and highlights the enduring significance of textiles as a major form of aesthetic in Mali. Featuring works beyond the mudcloth tradition, this exhibition seeks to showcase contemporary styles and techniques which have yet to be shown in the US. With superb examples of dress, and accompanying photographs, Rhythm and Hues: Cloth and Culture of Mali will document hand-dyed as well as factory-printed cloth. Social issues such as empowerment of women, the status of dress, women’s identity, and current trends in fabric design will be explored.
    Due to the expository role of cloth in daily life, both hand-dyed and factory printed kinds of popular fabrics reveal current and constantly evolving cultural trends. The pictorial nature of the prints allows the wearer to express unique and equally critical messages, such as political attitudes, educational institutions and affiliations, or social views, and public health concerns. Although the shapes of the garments remain fairly constant, the colors, patterns, designs and messages of the cloth are constantly transforming. In addition to the cloth and clothing, Rhythm and Hues: Cloth and Culture of Mali showcases other forms of traditional art and craft from Mali, such as wooden puppets, and the life-sized masked and costumed figures called “marionettes” which act out village legends. Unusual calabashes and baskets are also included to show the wide variety of Malian craft and folk art.

  • Antique Valentine’s Day Lacework: The Arnaldo Caprai Virtual Museum of Textile Arts

    February 8, 2010 by Britex Fabrics

    Antique Valentine’s day lacework from Arnaldo Caprai Gruppo Tessile Spa: this embroidered white linen cloth worked with punto antico and punto riccio, decorated with needle lace settings worked with punto in aria and reticello. The needle lace edging trims the entire perimeter and it is decorated by a chessboard pattern. The square lace insertions reflects 16th century patterns, while the embroidery of the cloth can be dated to the end of the 19th and the beginning of the following century. Among the designs are: a Cupid with a lance, a two-headed eagle, the bride and groom in the house, a fountain, a four-legged animal, a man among some animals, a woman between columns, a pelican (symbol of the Redemption). The setting that creates the internal frame shows a zoomorphic pattern with stylized bird with displayed wings, alternated with squares with geometric motives. Made in Italy between 1580 and 1600.

  • VintageSewing.info: Vintage Sewing Reference Library

    January 7, 2010 by Britex Fabrics

    The folks at VintageSewing.info have graciously gathered an amazing amount of practical information for seamstress’ everywhere. Their searchable Vintage Sewing Reference Library includes works published between 1893 and 1952, with detailed instructions for everything from how to sew evening net gloves, types of laundry bluing, and pattern construction of capes, ties, neckwear and scarves. Using Britex fabrics and resources from the folks at VintageSewing, you can attire yourself in dapper and romantic fashions from the past.

  • Still Crazy: Victorian Crazy Quilts

    November 25, 2009 by Britex Fabrics

    November 17, 2009 – February 7, 2010
    San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles
    520 South First Street, San Jose, California 95113

    Still Crazy explores the crazy quilt with a broad survey of the movement, mostly with examples from the Museum’s permanent collection. Crazy quilt making reached fad proportions during the Victorian period of 1876 – 1900. Made of fine dress fabrics like brocades, silks and velvets, and ribbons they were heavily embellished with areas of decorative embroidery or paint or even photographic images on fabric. They were most often made of irregular shapes and sizes, a kind of collage aesthetic, and they were pieced together with an astounding variety of embroidered stitches, in a multitude of colors. At the same time, crazy quilt designs had Asian influences, believed to be inspired by growing interest in the Far East at that time. They are dark, saturated and luxurious in look and feel, and the embroidered details are often nature inspired or symbolic or personal. This exhibit features an unusual variety of the kinds of textiles that were created such as quilts, wall hangings, table covers, comforters, to a one of-a-kind matching pair of Victorian parlor curtains.

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