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

Category Archive: Projects

Make an Spiffy Ironing Board Cover

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Don’t suffer the doldrums of ironing day needlessly! The talented Christina from The DIY Mommy blog in Canada has a tutorial for making a spiffy new ironing board cover to make this chore a little more easy on the eyes. This easy-to-sew home project only takes 1 1/2 yards of cotton fabric. We want to make it with this Italian print of Gerber daisies on a navy blue background — so moderne (and on sale online as of September 6th.)

 

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Silk Clover Dress With French Seam Tutorial – By Guest Blogger Christine Haynes

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When Britex offered me some midnight navy spotted silk to sew with, I thought I might make a kimono robe or another lounge item. But when the silk showed up, it was just too gorgeous to only wear at home, so I decided to sew the Clover Dress from Paper Cut Patterns, and it was a perfect match.

 

When sewing with silk, especially one that is semi-transparent, having gorgeous seams is key since there’s a good chance that they will be visible through the garment. This is when using a French Seam is a perfect choice, and if you don’t know how to sew one, here’s a handy tutorial for you!

 

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Note: the tutorial is sewn using a scrap piece of the silk, not on the garment itself.

 

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Step 1: After you have cut all your pieces according to the pattern instructions, the key is sewing them in a reverse order from how they instruct you to sew a regular seam. So instead of right sides together, we will be putting wrong sides together. Pin in place.

 

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Step 2: Sew the seam at 3/8” seam allowance. Trim the seam allowance down to 1/8”.

 

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Step 3: Press the seam allowance to one side.

 

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Step 4: Fold the fabric so right sides are together and the seam sewn in step 1 is right at the top of the fold. Press the seam.

 

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Step 5: Pin the fabric together and stitch at 1/4” seam allowance. The 1/4” and 3/8” will equal a 5/8” seam allowance. Should your project have a different sized seam allowance, these two amounts added up will need to match the total seam allowance and adjust accordingly.

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

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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.

 

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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

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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 Click here to read more »

Posted: Hand-Made with Britex Materials, Projects, Quilting
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Millinery: How to Make a Decorative Removable Ribbon Hat Band

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.

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It’s called a ladder stitch because the other side looks like a ladder.

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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.

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The elastic looks like this.

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Posted: Guest Blogger, Hand-Made with Britex Materials, Tutorial
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Millinery: How to Make a Removable Ribbon Hat Band

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.

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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.

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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.

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Now the ribbon will lay flat against the crown because of the slight stretch you gave it.

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Posted: Guest Blogger, Hand-Made with Britex Materials, Tutorial
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Millinery: Making a Lace Hat

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.
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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.

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The you turn it right side out and you’re ready to attach the brim.

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Posted: Guest Blogger, Hand-Made with Britex Materials, Projects, Sewing, Tutorial
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Tips to Increase Your Sewing Speed

Orange Lingerie tips

Want to increase your sewing speed? Here is one of the easiest ways to accomplish this. Check out this awesome post by one of our guest bloggers.

“The time it takes to sew a project is largely the sum of the time it takes to complete each task. The time it takes to complete each task is primarily driven by body motion, so the more motions that are required, the more time it takes to complete a project. What all this means is that the key to decreasing the overall time to complete a project is to decrease the necessary motions.” – Orange Lingerie

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How To Sew On A Button

HOW TO SEW ON A BUTTON
(This process works  best for shirt, suit, or pant buttons)

What You Will Need:
1 sewing needle
1 thicker sewing needle or a toothpick to use as a spacer
Button or Buttons
Scissors
Silk Buttonhole Twist

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STEP 1: Thread the Needle and Knot the End of the Thread

To start, be sure you have at least 12” of thread to work with. If you have 24” or more, double over the thread, which means you slide the thread through the eye of the needle, folding the thread in half until you have 2 equal sides of thread. Put a square knot in the end of the thread, using both sides together.

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STEP 2: Create an Anchor X Point

Starting on the back side of the fabric, run the needle through the front where the button will eventually live. Run the thread through to the back, and again to the front, to create a small X where the button will be centered. This X will also act as reinforcement for the thread so that the button doesn’t loosen from stress.

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STEP 3: Position the Button

Put the button on the anchor X and begin sewing from the back side of the fabric. Push the needle through the first button hole. At this point you will want to use a spacer. A second needle or a toothpick will work fine.

Push the needle through the second hole from the front side of the fabric to the back side, encasing the second needle in a loop.

Push the needle from the back side of the fabric and through the third button hole and pull the thread all the way through, while using your fingertip to keep the button in place.  Then push the needle back through the last button hole, while sliding the second needle in place to encase it a second time by a second loop.

Repeat 3 sets of this process for each set of holes. (A total of 6 times)

IMG_3162 Click here to read more »

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Vintage-inspired Linen Sundress and Petite Adjustment Tutorial

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Aloha!  I was so excited to have the opportunity to make a garment out of one of Britex’s beautiful linen fabrics, and I knew immediately what I wanted to sew: a fabulous sundress for the summer (and my family’s trip to Hawaii!).  The timing of this project meant that instead of photos from my sewing studio or my neighborhood in Northern California, I could model the dress in Haleiwa, Oahu!

 

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The linen I chose for this project is a Midweight Cross-Dyed Turquoise Linen is fairly lightweight, though slightly more opaque than you’d expect.  Linens are always a bit shifty while cutting and sewing, so I had to take care not to distort the fabric, but overall, I found it very easy to sew and was the perfect choice for this dress.

 

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For the pattern, I selected the vintage-inspired Siren Sundress by Decades of Style.  The dress has a faux-wrap front bodice, with secured wrap skirt in the back.  However, the highlight of the design is the cross-wrapping straps that wrap around the waist to tie in the back.  Lots of wrapping going on in this dress!  While it takes a while to get it on (with the aid of a mirror or significant other to keep the straps flat), once “assembled”, it is comfortable and secure.

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We Love Our Customers

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.

 

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Posted: Hand-Made with Britex Materials, Made by our Customers, Sewing
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