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

Category Archive: Sewing

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.
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.

Click here to read more »

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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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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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Polka Dot Shirt Dress With Button Placket Tutorial

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My favorite part of the design process is fabric selection. For this new spring shirt dress design, I elected to work with a crisp, luxury cotton shirting fabric by Burberry. To add interest to the overall design, I chose a contrasting hand-dyed blue cotton for the outer cuff layer and glazed marine blue buttons to highlight the polka dot print. Oftentimes, I find button cuffs to be a little restrictive, especially when I want to roll up my sleeves. Thus, I decided to draft a three-quarter sleeve with a full slit cuff for more freedom and less fuss. (Plus, you can still see a peek of the polka dot fabric sewn as the inner cuff layer.)

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In this tutorial, I will discuss how to draft a standard button placket with a straight fold-back facing using a basic shirt sloper (base pattern used as a template to develop patterns). In womenswear, buttonholes are placed on the right-hand side of a garment that closes at the front. Since I am sewing a shirt dress similar to a classic button-up shirt, I will be providing instructions for marking vertical buttonholes – the measurements for horizontal buttonholes are slightly different. In this design, the buttonholes run vertically down the placket, with the buttonhole on the collar stand sewn horizontally.

Click here to read more »

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We Love Our Customers

Britex Fabrics customer Adam Arnold created a fabulous blouse and skirt set from some amazing Viscose Crepe fabric with a brightly colored print, from his own pattern.  Since viscose is light in weight, it makes for excellent skirts or shirts for spring. Visit the second floor of our brick-and-mortar store to check out our amazing selection of Viscose fabrics.

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Adam is an independent fashion designer in Portland, Oregon. He designs, drafts, and constructs clothing for men and women. Adam has collaborated with the Portland Art Museum, The Museum of Contemporary Craft, and the Oregon Ballet. Adam graduated from FIDM in San Francisco in 1996, and has been sewing his entire life.

For more information on Adam Arnold and his work, visit his website
or follow him on Instagram

 

Posted: Britex Fabric Store, Fabrics, Hand-Made with Britex Materials, Museums, Sewing
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Nima Shiraz’s First Fashion Video – Featuring Fabulous Designs Created With Fabrics From Britex Fabrics!

Chrysta Bell Nima Shiraz FW16 1

Posted: Britex Fabric Store, Classes, Events & Shows, Hand-Crafted Items, Sewing
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Simple DIY Suspenders Tutorial

SUSPENDERS TUTORIAL SUPPLIES LIST
A simple way to make suspenders with seven items, in only eight easy steps.

What You Will Need


1. Elastic
(no wider than 1″)

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2. 4 Straight Pins

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3. Needle and Thread

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4. One 1″ Metal Back Patch

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5. 1 Garment Tape Measure

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6. Scissors

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7. Four 1″ Grips With Brackets

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STEP 1: With the tape measure, measure from 1 inch below your left front pant loop, bring the tape measure over your left shoulder and down to 1 inch below and to the right of your center pant loop, or 1 inch below your right back pant loop. This is the length of elastic you will need. Be sure to cut 2 strips of the elastic in this length.

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STEP 2: With the scissors, cut 2 straps from the elastic in the length you measured in step 1.

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STEP 3: Use the straight pins to pin a horizontal line to hold the elastic end around the grip, making sure that when the grips are clipped onto your

pants, the elastic is snug but comfortable.

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STEP 4: Hand sew the end of the elastic so that it’s around one of the grip ends. (This will be the back right end)

STEP 5: Take the end of the elastic that is not yet sewn, and put it through the metal back patch, so that the point of the triangle is facing up.

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STEP 6: Sew the unfinished side so that it’s around a second grip end.

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STEP 7: Take the second strap of elastic and repeat steps 3-5, making sure both straps of elastic form an overlapping X.

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STEP 8: Trim off most of the excess elastic that remains, clip on all 4 grips.

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We Love Our Customers

We love our customers. Ginny stopped by Britex Fabrics last week, and again today, wearing an outfit, hat, and purse that she made. She’s been sewing since she was 6 years old, and we just think she’s fabulous. Ginny is a regular at Britex Fabrics, and often uses our fabrics to create her spontaneous, on the fly designs.

You too can be in the spotlight. Just come on in to the store wearing one of your own creations, or tag us on social media!

G for blog

 

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DIY Valentine’s Day Gift Idea: Bowties

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Don’t settle for the same, mass produced Valentine’s Day chocolates and cards as everyone else this year – join Britex Fabrics in celebrating this season of love and self-love by making gifts for your loved ones yourself. In the first of a multi-part series of counting down to Valentine’s Day, we pulled a simple DIY bowtie tutorial from our archives. Just click on the links to download the free pattern and instructions. Sure to charm the socks off your sartorially minted significant other, make a bold statement this Valentine’s Day with a present that’s already bow-tied to present. Britex Fabrics’ online store carries all the bow tie hardware you’ll need!

 

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