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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

  • London Bridge Japanese Cotton

    December 17, 2010 by Britex Fabrics

    We just got several bolts of new Japanese fabric, including this briskly fabulous piece with London images including the Tower of London, red double-decker buses, and marching Queen's Guards. I deeply desire a bow tie from this, which I’d debonairly wear with a red wool double-breasted vest and 501s. This fabric is 85% linen/15% cotton, 45” wide and $29.99/yard.

    “London Bridge
    Is Broken down,
    Dance over my Lady Lee.
    London Bridge
    Is Broken down
    With a gay Lady.”

    (Earliest printed English version, Tommy Thumb's Pretty Song Book, 1744)

  • Hedgehog Pincushin

    December 17, 2010 by Britex Fabrics

    Sarah made this easy-peasy tutorial for creating adorable hedgehog pincushions on BurdaStyle. Shade of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle! These would make a great last-minute addition to anyone’s sewing kit gift.
    "Then Mrs. Tiggy-winkle made tea—a cup for herself and a cup for Lucie. They sat before the fire on a bench and looked sideways at one another. Mrs. Tiggy-winkle's hand, holding the tea-cup, was very very brown, and very very wrinkly with the soap-suds; and all through her gown and her cap, there were hair-pins sticking wrong end out; so that Lucie didn't like to sit too near her.” – B. Potter

  • Britex Now Carries Boning and Busks!

    December 15, 2010 by Britex Fabrics

    Britex Fabrics has just expanded their selection of boning and other corset-making notions. We now carry both flat and spiral steel boning in widths from ¼” to ½” and 4” to 17” long, busks with brass or chrome knobs, and all black busks on the 4th floor. We will feature details later! To assist you with your garment construction, here is Tight Linings and Boning by Mary Brooks Picken, and published by the Woman's Institute of Domestic Arts & Sciences in 1922. This 44 page book covers making the making the tight lining, boning, and girdles or waist-line foundations.

  • Green Leather Clutch - Michelle

    December 15, 2010 by Britex Fabrics

    Michelle sent us a photograph of this stunning green leather clutch that she crafted. She wrote, “People had been telling me about Britex for years and I finally made the trip in. It was so beautiful, I started to cry. I had a few hours before I needed to be anywhere, so I started at the top and worked my way down. When I was upstairs, I fell in love with the leather remnants. I'm a vegetarian, so I rarely buy leather, much less sew with it, but I figured that remnants from a tannery is as close to recycling as one can get. I saw these pieces and just knew they would make a perfect little clutch. They also gave me a good reason to use the beautiful yellow silk scarf that had been waiting for the right project. Thank you for creating such a wonderful place!” You’re welcome, Michelle….we are happy that we were able to be part of your creative process!

  • Rockin' Felt Guitar

    December 14, 2010 by Britex Fabrics

    Here are directions from Andrea on making a soft sculpture electric guitar, along with a PDF pattern. This rockin’ guitar takes three colors of felt, along with ever-useful pom-poms as trim! It will have your tyke playing Smoke on the Water and Sheena Is a Punk Rocker quicker than you can say “rock on!”

  • Rubber Gaiters by M. Du Jour

    December 14, 2010 by Britex Fabrics

    M. Du Jour has finally completed making their rubber spats, and wore them into the office today! They are made from chrome snaps from Britex, up-cycled truck inner tubes, and rivets, with pattern guidance from Minnie at thankyoufornotbeingperky. These spats are très chic, with a touch of la brute, and are ideal for rainy San Francisco winter weather. No more unsightly rubber galoshes; these will keep your calves dry, and your attire en vogue.

  • Jumper of Vintage Double-Knit Fabric - Jody

    December 13, 2010 by Britex Fabrics

    Jody of RocketCityDigs made this adorable a-line holiday jumper for her daughter out of vintage double-knit fabric from Britex Fabrics. The festive Kelly green rick-rack and cherry-red buttons add a smashing touch, and were also bought at Britex. To make it even more impressive, Jody self-drafted the pinafore pattern from one of Eliza’s old jumpers and some newspaper! Check out Jody’s blog for what she did the remainder of her vintage fabric. FYI: We just found some more vintage fabric, including some slinky polyester jerseys. All vintage polyester can be found on our 4th floor.

  • Free 2nd Annual Renegade Craft Fair Holiday Sale

    December 13, 2010 by Britex Fabrics

    2nd Annual Renegade Craft Fair Holiday Sale in San Francisco on December 18 + 19, from 11am – 7pm in the Concourse Exhibition Center’s East Hall (620 7th St… an easy stroll from Civic Center BART)! With over 200 of the nation’s finest indie-craft talents setting up shop that weekend, all of your last minute holiday-shopping needs are sure to be found at this craft, art, design + DIY spectacular! You can expect to find all sorts of incredible handmade goods at the Fair – everything from jewelry and clothing, ceramics and stationery, bath products and posters, housewares and comics, plush objects and more! Check out the artist line-up to see who’ll be bringing the goods! In addition, get to crafting by participating in one of the many special workshops! One-woman crafting powerhouse Kelly Malone of IndieMart will be at the Fair leading hands-on activities, and The Museum of Craft+Design (in collaboration with FLAX Art & Design) will be leading workshops in pop-up greeting cards and paper-ornaments! On Saturday, the Scarving Artists (from St. Anthony Foundation) will be out at the Fair leading knitting workshops and collecting scarf-donations for the Bay Area homeless! On Sunday, the fabulous folks from ScrapSF will be at the Fair leading crafty-demos in upcycling and re-purposing!

  • Make a Bottle Cozy

    December 10, 2010 by Britex Fabrics

    Are you looking for a last minute gift project? Brett from DesignSpongeOnline designed these easy-to-sew wine cozies. They are sewn using under ¼ of a yard of fabric, making them an ideal project to splurge on fancy-schmancy fabric, or to utilize your tag end stash scraps. Make one up as an alternative to a gift bag when presenting your pal with a bottle of wine or sparkling cider! As Cleopatra knew, everything looks more handsome when wrapped carefully in gorgeous textiles!

  • The Exciting Fabric Burn Test

    December 10, 2010 by Britex Fabrics

    The end of the year is a perfect time to set aside an hour some evening, grab a pot of hot tea, and go through your fabric stash to identify the fiber content of any unknown pieces. Here to assist is the Fabric Burn Test. Grab a holiday candle or a lighter (matches smell of sulfur), a fireproof plate (such as glass or china) and swatches from your fabric stash, and get ready to play domestic scientist! You will need to carefully observe the following; how fast is the fabric burning, what does it smell like, is there a bead or after-flame, and what sort of ash is left behind? Keep the following in mind: burn actual fabric, as the selvedge edge may not be the same fiber as the main piece of cloth and could give a false content reading. Always hold your swatch with metal tweezers, not your delicate fingers. Hold the swatch over water before setting it on fire. Do not sniff burnt fiber until the smoke dissipates. Do not touch the fabric until bead cools. All synthetic fibers should be considered to be a serious drip danger and fume hazard. If you suffer a burn, submerge you skin in ice water immediately. A burn test may not distinguish between cotton and other cellulose fibers, some fabric may have finishes that affect burn results, and weighted silk (with added chemicals) may react more like synthetic fiber.
    Acetate: burns quickly, sparking and sputtering. Melts into very hot bead with burning drip danger. The odor is very much like vinegar or burning pepper. No ash. There is black smoke. Fume hazard!
    Cotton: Burns very quickly with a large yellow flame. The fire will creep along the threads. The odor is like burning paper. The ash is brown grey, feathery and floats away. There is grey or white smoke.
    Linen: Burns slower than cotton. The odor is similar to paper or burning wood. The ash will be dark grey and can be heavier than cotton due to thicker yarn.
    Nylon: Will melt , shrink or fuse to itself. Nylon smells like beans, celery or burning string. There are hard glassy beads that cannot be crushed, and hot drip danger. Fume hazard!
    Polyester: Quick burning, shrinks away from flame and may flare. Forms a round hard bead. No ash. A slightly sweet chemical odor, and black smoke. Fume hazard!
    Rayon: This fiber will burn very quickly with no flame and no melting. The smell of burning rayon is similar to paper or rags. There will be little ash; it will be powdery and blacker than cotton.
    Silk: Will burn slowly, the burning stops if withdrawn from the flame. The odor is like burned hair or charred meat. The residue will form round hard beads which are easily crushed. There is little smoke.
    Wool/cashmere/mohair/alpaca: Has a smaller slower flame and will not flare. Wool will sizzle and curl. The odor is like burnt hair or feathers. Ash will be crisp and dark. It will crumble if crushed. There is dark smoke and moderate fume.

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