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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

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  • Wool Crepes and Gabardines in Our Brick-and-mortar Store

    July 27, 2016 by Britex Fabrics

    blue wools

    Lovely blues and greens abound in our signature wool wall on the first floor. We love the cool blues, crisp greens, and the mix of textures and color. Really, once you start browsing the wool wall, touching the fabrics and dreaming of what to sew, you become lost in the possibilities.

    Worth the stop in to our brick-and-mortar store, or use our customized swatch service online to pick out fabulous fabrics to make your next coat, suit, or autumn skirt.


  • 20% Off All Online Knit Category Fabric 7/26 - 8/8

    July 26, 2016 by Britex Fabrics

    Knit Sale July 26 August 8 Blog Header

    We love sewing with knit fabrics. Our knit fabrics are great for making zipper-enhanced hoodies, upscale t-shirts, comfy yoga pants, warm weather scarves, or chic Diane von Furstenberg wrap style dresses. Knits are especially great for travel since they are wrinkle resistant! We carry polyester jersey knits, viscose knits, cotton knits, two way and four way knits, scuba knits, and tissue knits. These fabulous knit fabrics are all available online for 20% off from 7/26 - 8/8.

    Quantities are limited, so order your swatches now!
    This sale good for online knit category purchases* only 7/26 - 8/8. *This online sale does not apply to in-store, email, phone, or Customized Swatch purchases.


  • Unique Wool Crepes, Double Crepes, Cashmere and Other Exquisite Wool!

    July 25, 2016 by Britex Fabrics

    Douglas for Blog

     

    Come in and say hello to Douglas on the first floor and check out our recent gorgeous unique acquisitions from Italy that just arrived. Douglas is rearranging our wool wall, in colors from all across the rainbow and every shade in between. These all wool crepes, double crepes, cashmere and other exquisite wools are to die for. Our Britex store owner says this is a "very special" group of goods from Italy, only available in our brick-and-mortar store. Worth the trip in! Not local? No worries, check out our amazing online wool selection.

     

    Douglas


  • For Immediate Release - Britex Fabrics Presents: PROJKT Maiden Lane

    July 25, 2016 by Britex Fabrics

    TWITTER LOGO 

     

     

     

     

     

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                            July 25, 2016

     

    Press contacts: Joie Rey Cohen / 415.392.2910 / marketing@britexfabrics.com

                            Dina Fayer / 415.392.2910 / dina@britexfabrics.com

    EVENTBRITE NEW W REY EVENTS PAGE

    Britex Fabrics presents: PROJKT Maiden Lane

    A Runway Showcase Featuring Four Designers
    from Project Runway and Under the Gunn

     

    Friday, Sept. 23 2016 / 7:00– 9:30pm  / Union Square, SF / Historic Maiden Lane is about to be transformed into a runway, as Britex Fabrics presents PROJKT Maiden Lane–featuring new fall designs from Emily Payne, Kini Zamora and Richard Hallmarq (All Three From Project Runway) and Rey Ortiz (From Under the Gunn), along with new work and collaborations with local artists Michael Covington and L.V.M.

    Local designer/Britex Fabrics alum/Project Runway All Stars favorite Emily Payne explains, "I realized how many pieces in my collections have always been made with fabrics from Britex, and that it just makes sense to collaborate on a show. Both Richard and I have done draping workshops at Britex before, but this event is just huge." Britex Fabrics has a long history of supporting local designers, showcasing their work in window displays and on social media, and even sponsoring the Academy of Art's Britex Fabrics Project collection in 2009 (which previewed at Mercedes-Benz NY Fashion Week). "Fabrics make fashion–literally," says Britex Fabrics owner Sharman Spector, "You can't have one without the other. It's wonderful to see what designers like Emily do with our fabrics, and we think it's incredibly important to support that kind of creativity."

    Attendees of PROJKT Maiden Lane will enjoy free giveaways and pop-up shops with Britex Fabrics, Leathertongue & Devon Rose designed by Emily Payne, Goorin Brothers Hats, Threads Magazine, Myla’Cor Martinis, Caffe’ Central and more.

    Doors for the Myla’Cor Martini Bar inside Britex Fabrics to open at 6:15pm. Runway show at 7:00pm.

    Britex Fabrics offers a variety of workshops, online tutorials, community partnerships and store tours. A San Francisco landmark since 1952, Britex is four floors of fabulousfeaturing high quality fashion and furnishing fabrics along with notions, trims and 22,000 styles of buttons.

     

    Please contact Joie Cohen or Dina Fayer for further information about Britex Fabrics or press inquiries about PROJKT Maiden Lane.
    www.britexfabrics.com/events

    TICKETS


  • Designer Fashion For Aviation

    July 22, 2016 by Britex Fabrics

    Take a walk through the history of aviation and fashion at the SFO Museum’s “Fashion in Flight” exhibit that runs through January 8th, 2017. The show is located in the International Terminal and features 70 women’s uniforms from 1930 to present day, with designs from Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Ralph Lauren, Emilio Pucci and more. The world’s first female flight attendant was hired in San Francisco, so it seemed logical that the show be displayed at SFO. Check out some similar patterns which are available on the third floor of our brick-and-mortar store. Visit us at 146 Geary Street, just off Union Square in San Francisco, or call our notions department to order them.   The Pan Am uniform created by Don Loper was an homage to the shape of a jet. It is a more angular cut than the uniforms of earlier years. Burda 6775 resembles the Pan Am uniform from 1959 and is available in our notions department.

    Pan Am 1959 looks like Burda 67751959: Pan Am (Don Loper)

    The 1969 Air France winter wool uniform was one of the last designs created by Cristobal Balenciaga before closing his fashion house. The designer fitted each individual flight attendant to ensure proper fitting. It was as if the uniforms were created for a runway premiere. Burda 6669 resembles this uniform and is available in our notions department. The only difference is the pockets on the uniform design.

    Air France 1969 looks like Burda 66691969: Air France (Cristobal Balenciaga)

    The 1968 United Airlines uniform by designer Jean Louis was created from double knit wool and came in two different colors. He used the double knit wool to create a tighter fitting uniform than previous ones.

    United Airlines 1968 looks like Burda 66421968: United Airlines (Jean Louis)

    The brightly colored outlandish 1965-6 "Supersonic Derby Outfit" was worn by the flight attendants on Braniff International Airways, with bright green calfskin boots. Most memorable were the Space Bubble helmets that were worn as passengers boarded flights. This uniform, known as the "non-uniform uniform" is similar to Burda 7114, pictured below.

    Space Bubble Helmet

    Braniff 1966 looks like Burda 71141965-6: Braniff International Airways (Emilio Pucci)


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

    July 18, 2016 by Britex Fabrics

    header for blog 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.   IMG_3276   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 IMG_3275   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.   IMG_3280   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.   IMG_3274   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

  • Reversible 7-Gore Skirt

    July 18, 2016 by Communing with Fabric

    Capture1
      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!

  • Britex Fabrics' Website Redesign is Almost Complete

    July 18, 2016 by Britex Fabrics

    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!


  • Millinery: How to Make a Decorative Removable Ribbon Hat Band

    July 13, 2016 by Chuleenan of CSews

    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

  • Millinery: How to Make a Removable Ribbon Hat Band

    July 12, 2016 by Chuleenan of CSews

    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

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