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

Reversible 7-Gore Skirt

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Hey! It’s Shams of Communing with Fabric with another garment made from a beautiful Britex fabric!

For this project, my assignment was to choose a fabric from the Knits category. I quickly settled on this beautiful double-sided ponte made from cotton, polyester, and lycra.

Reversible Black and Cardinal Red Cotton Blend Knit Fabric
Click the image to see this fabric on the Britex site. It’s also available in sky blue
(Note that some of the photos show this fabric as a bright red, but it’s actually a heathered red in real life)

 

This fabric is wonderful! It has more drape than some of its stiffer ponte cousins. It feels like a rayon and I was surprised to learn that it contains cotton, but no rayon. It is beefy, so it hangs nicely, but it’s also a bit “sproingy”. It presses beautifully. I threw it into the washer and dryer before cutting and it looked just the same afterwards. I didn’t measure to determine the amount of shrinkage, but I suspect that it shrank a bit.

Because it’s a double knit, it’s very easy to sew. If you are afraid of sewing knits, a ponte (double knit) fabric is a good way to get started. It doesn’t curl at the edges due to it’s double-sided construction. This ponte stretches in both directions, but it’s also fairly stable.

I wanted to feature both sides of the fabric and I seriously dithered about how to use it. I was torn between a top and a skirt and I knew exactly how I wanted to make each but, in the end, the skirt won out. I drafted a 7-gore skirt. Why 7 gores? I find the asymmetry of an uneven number of gores aesthetically pleasing.

In order to use both sides of the fabric, I drafted the pattern with 1″ seam allowances and a 1″ hem. The only exception was the waist seam, which has a 1/2″ seam allowance.

I sewed the 1″ seams with the black side facing the black side. I decided to funk it up by constructing it in a car wash style so I sewed each gore 15″ down from the waist, and left the rest of the seam unsewn.

I turned each seam allowance and hem segment to the red side and folded it under, turning the 1″ seam allowance into a 1/2″ trim. I secured each seam allowance, individually, to the red side by hand. You could do this by machine, but I like the effect of hand sewing—I have more control.

IMG_20160716_090826-7-gore-skirt
 

As part of this process, I mitered all 14 corners at the hemline. Mitering is important to manage the bulk that would result if you merely turned up the trim on each edge.

IMG_3344-7-gore-skirt
 

An advantage of such a clean finish is that the skirt is fully reversible! The red side features black trim, and the black side is solid black.

IMG_3390-7-gore-skirt
 

It might be summer elsewhere, but when I took these pics this morning it was 50°F, windy, foggy, wet, drippy, and misty. In short, it was COLD and more like winter weather than summer weather!

IMG_3353-7-gore-skirt

IMG_3377-7-gore-skirt

I didn’t include a pic of the waistband, and I never tuck a top, but I attached a casing for elastic using the black side of the fabric. Because of the car wash effect, both sides flash the reverse color as I move.

This skirt is a lot of fun to wear!

Click here to read more »

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Posted: Guest Blogger, Hand-Made with Britex Materials
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Britex Fabrics’ Website Redesign is Almost Complete

blog under construction

We’re gussying up our website! If you experience problems, please email us at service@britexfabrics.com for assistance.

The Britex Fabrics’ website redesign is almost complete, however during this period, there are a few tiny snafus.

All customer accounts are temporarily unavailable. They will come back soon. You can still place your order without logging in. There is an odd mystery message on order confirmations, which is meaningless.

Thank you for your patience!

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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.

Ribbon 16

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

Ribbon 17

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.

Ribbon 18

The elastic looks like this.

Ribbon 19

Click here to read more »

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.

Ribbon 3

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.

Ribbon 4

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.

Ribbon 5

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

Ribbon 6

Click here to read more »

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.
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 »

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

Posted: Sewing, Sewing Techniques, Tutorial
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20% Off All Online Linen Category Fabric 7/12 – 7/25

LINEN online July 12 July 25
We adore linen for its beautiful natural texture, breathability, and classic good looks. Made from the fibers of the flax plant, linen is one of the oldest known textiles. Britex is pleased to offer you a unique collection of linen fabric, including amazing Irish linen. Equally wonderful for home decorating use and garments, we love linen fabric for elegant duvet covers, comfy lounge pillows, tailored curtains, louche summer suits, chic dresses, and delicately pleated skirts.

Quantities are limited, so order your swatches today! This sale good for online linen fabric category purchases* only 7/12 – 7/25.

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Ethereal Liquid Silicone Gown by Iris van Herpen

Herpen

We’re enamored of these elegant, ethereal gowns designed by visionary Dutch fashion designer, Iris van Herpen; they are unabashedly unworldly in their beauty. Watch this video in Refinery 29 of how Iris utilizes 3-D printing and materials manipulation to construct amazing garments that feel as “organic and natural as dew, bones, and lightning.”

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Online Novelty Fabric Sale 20% Off Now – 7/11

NOVELTY SALE BLOG POST

Our novelty fabrics often have a beautiful metallic shine which helps them stand out in the crowd! Made of wool, silk, cotton, metallic, nylon, and more, these texturally rich fabrics make beautiful garments. Tweed, chenille, scuba knits, and bouclé novelty fabrics delight us with their contrast of nubby texture and soft hand. Make a swinging bolero jacket, a long mysterious cape, a Chanel-style jacket, or a tailored vest…..in order to add elegance and style to any solid, understated little black outfit. Many of our textured novelty fabrics are blends, lending them a wonderful pliability and sheen.

Quantities are limited, so order your swatches today! This sale good for online fashion novelty fabric categories purchases* only Now – 7/11.
*This online sale does not apply to in-store, email, phone, or Customized Swatch purchases.”

 

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New Workshops Coming Soon: Hand Sewing 101 & Hand Sewing For Mending and Repair

Hands for blog

Hand Sewing 101 (coming soon)

Learn basic hand sewing techniques to banish your fears of stitching by hand. This beginner-level class will cover the essentials, from tools and materials to all the most common sewing stitches. No previous sewing experience required.

Hand Sewing for Mending & Repair (coming soon)
Rescue worn clothing with simple hand mending techniques. This class will cover basic hand-sewn repairs for tears, holes, and frayed fabrics. Students are expected to know basic hand-sewing techniques.before taking this class.

Keep up with our upcoming events to reserve your space in our workshops.

Posted: Britex Announcements & Sales, Classes, Events & Shows
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