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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

  • 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.

  • Vintage Sewing Reference Library

    January 7, 2010 by Britex Fabrics

    The folks at 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.

  • Conquistador Fabric

    November 10, 2009 by Britex Fabrics

    The Minneapolis Institute of Arts features the archive of the Jack Lenor Larsen textile company, including collection selections available online. The Larsen Design Studio created modern, artistic fabrics for interior use, yet their innovations with handwovens, batiks and fabrics in scale with modern architecture have changed the industry. Here is Conquistador (1966, cotton), a particularly successful upholstery fabric that soon became one of the signature cloths of the company. In a note in the company archive Larsen writes that “Conquistador is my concept of how an Inca might handle a baroque motif. That is, flatly and without the robust movement typical in Europe. More like the stone walls of Peru.”
    Conquistador (1966, cotton)

  • The Embroiderers' Guild of America

    October 19, 2009 by Britex Fabrics

    The Embroiderers' Guild of America

    San Francisco Chapters

  • Lincoln Park Presbyterian Church, 31st & Clement, SF CA 94121, 3rd Tuesday, 10am, Sep – Jun. No meeting December.
  • St John’s Church of Christ, 501 Laguna Honda Blvd, SF CA 94127, 2nd Monday, 7:30pm Sep – June.
  • The Embroiderers' Guild of America has a diverse membership from beginners to professionals. Their commonality is an appreciation of the art of stitchery and an insatiable desire to learn and share with fellow stitchers. Chapters offer educational programs and resources such as an informative newsletter, embroidery libraries, embroidery workshops, shorter projects and informal gatherings. See their website for further details.
    Emb. guild logo

  • The British Button Society

    September 11, 2009 by Britex Fabrics

    Button du Jour is head over heels for The British Button Society. Founded in 1976, members receive their quarterly magazine, Button Lines. They also have a page of links to other button collecting sites, including the California State Button Society.

    Jenny & Eric provided the Society with an amazing photo page of antique button images. There are buttons with green glass ducks, brass owls, swooning Victorian women clasping dogs to their bosom, Satsuma scenes, pirate ships, railroad buttons and more!

  • The Antique & Vintage Sewing Machine Virtual Museum

    September 11, 2009 by Britex Fabrics

    Here is the Antique & Vintage Sewing Machine Virtual Museum with a gallery of over 130 machines in order of country! I am 'specially enthralled with the toy sewing machines & sock knitters. The toy Vulcan machines are totally cute in either vibrant robins egg blue or poppy red. I wish there machines for grown-ups like these! *sigh*
    vulcan senior

  • The National Button Society Beginners Booklet

    September 2, 2009 by Britex Fabrics

    The National Button Society Beginners Booklet for collectors: how to measure, mount, identify, clean, store your button collection, and more! Written and compiled by Jocelyn Howells of the National Button Society.

    National Button Society

    National Button Society

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