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

WARP X WEFT: Textile 101

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At Britex Fabrics we believe it is important to know your fabrics. Knowledge of how fabric came into being is equally as important, and can be an endlessly fascinating topic. Enter Geana Seaburger, with her workshop Warp X Weft: Textile 101. Geana, a former Britex assistant buyer and marketing whiz, is an Oakland-based maker with a design studio,and owner of GDS Clothgoods. Although she is currently making aprons to order-and quite successfully-her passion seems to be textiles from the ground up, literally.

Attend her workshop Warp X Weft: Textile 101 at Britex Fabrics and you will hear, touch, smell, and see cotton, linen, wool, and silk in their most natural form. These natural fibers each have very different characteristics, which becomes evident the more you handle them.

In the classroom, she encourages students to touch, poke, prod, and pull apart a cotton ball, flax (linen fiber), wool fibers, and silk. Each fiber has differences in length, texture, strength, and beauty.

“Typically with fibers, length corresponds with quality… ”

 

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As she talks, students rip or pull pieces of the natural fibers and cut swatches from the corresponding finished fabrics, then glue them on sheets of paper, labeling them and taking notes. This exercise helps to illustrate the process that these fibers must go through to become fabrics. Students swatch different examples of fabric weaves, and learn that the sheen of a fabric is controlled by the type of weave it is woven into/from.

 

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Terms such as hand, sheen, drape, resilience, wicking properties, protein vs. animal fibers, plain weaves, and matte vs. reflection, are thrown around the room as the students handle and catalog examples of each of these. Synthetics and man made fibers are also discussed.

“If we’re  interested in textiles, it’s good to know the whole story.”

It is a given that Seaberger is very passionate about her subject matter. She touches on environmental matters as a part of her discussion, at one point saying “conventional cotton is terrible for the environment” in the way that it is produced. She praised polyester for its ability to “imitate so many natural fibers,” and described one of the fabric swatches she used as an example of a synthetic blend as a “coarse wool and yucky acrylic.”

Her workshop is given practically every month  and tickets sell out weeks, sometimes months ahead of time.

 

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Upcoming Workshop Dates
Saturday, September 10th 10:30am – 12:30pm
Saturday, October 1st 10:30am – 12:30pm

 

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I Love Britex Fabrics

NEW BUTTONS

Announcing free Britex buttons with purchase in our brick and mortar store! A new staff favorite is the new houndstooth one. Collect all six of these awesome buttons. Come in and make a purchase and any one of them can be yours!

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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 »

Posted: Guest Blogger, Hand-Made with Britex Materials
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We Love Our Customers

JOan Burgren

Today our customer Joan Burgren stopped by wearing an awesome dress that she created with some of our gorgeous cotton fabric. Joan lives locally in Menlo Park and has been sewing for three years. She drafts her own patterns, including the pattern for the dress she is wearing here. She sews for herself, for fun.

Posted: Hand-Made with Britex Materials, Made by our Customers
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Chic Graffiti Cotton (made in Italy) 20% Off Online

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Part of our online Cotton Categories Sale 20% off 6/14 – 6/27
Chic Tangelo Graffiti Stretch Cotton (made in Italy)
A midweight cotton in an urban graffiti print in black on vibrant tangelo orange – perfect for a summer dress, lined tote bag, or fitted bolero jacket. Made in Italy.
100% cotton
60″ wide
Regular $39.99 / yard
Sale Price $31.99 / yard

 

 

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Chic Lemon Graffiti Stretch Cotton (made in Italy)
A midweight stretch cotton in an urban graffiti print in black on vibrant lemon yellow – perfect for a summer dress or fitted bolero jacket.
Made in Italy.
One-way stretch.
96% cotton
4% lycra
60″ wide.
Regular $39.99 / yard
Sale Price $31.99 / yard

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Online Cotton Sale 20% Off 6/14 – 6/27

COTTON SALE June 2016

 

Cotton fabric holds a special place in our fashionable heart. First cultivated 7,000 years ago, cotton is a timeless natural-fiber fabric, whose breathability makes it ideal for many garments. We carry an ever expanding collection of cotton fabric in our online store, including delicate Italian and Swiss voiles, brilliantly colored hand-loomed Guatemalan ikat fabric, nubby couture-inspired cotton tweed fabrics, travelable cotton-lycra blends, and chic designer cotton fabric.

Quantities are limited, so order your swatches now!

This sale is good for online cotton categories* purchases only 6/14 – 6/27.

*These sale prices do not apply to in-store, email, phone, or Customized Swatch purchases.

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100% Japanese Cotton

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100% Japanese Cotton
Badgers Eating Apples
44″ wide
$29.99 / yard
Available on the second floor of our brick-and-mortar store.
Email service@britexfabrics.com or call 415-392-2910

 

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100% Japanese Cotton
Bears in the Woods
45″ wide
$22.99 / yard
Available on the second floor of our brick-and-mortar store.
Email service@britexfabrics.com or call 415-392-2910

Click here to read more »

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Fabulous 50’s Summer Wrap Dress

 

Summertime in San Francisco can be fickle, but this year has had more beautiful days than not!

 

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Using a Designer Italian stretch cotton, I made Simplicity 8085, a 50s wrap dress which is perfect for running around the City on a sunny day. The fabric has these amazing watercolor swatches on a faux-linen background and the hand is nice and crisp for a midweight cotton. Because of the weave, it doesn’t unravel very easily, which makes this an excellent quick project.

 

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For this dress I used just shy of 3 yards on 60” wide fabric, which is a little bit on the low end for a vintage design with a full skirt (luckily my short stature helps with the skirt length!) Most dresses of this style can push 4 ½” yards, so this is a nice compromise if you’re looking for a vintage-style piece without using too much fabric.

 

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Click here to read more »

Posted: Guest Blogger, Hand-Made with Britex Materials
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New Couture Clearance Fabrics!

YELLOW VISCOSE CABLE KNIT for Sale

Exquisite Sunshine Yellow Cable Cotton & Viscose Lace Knit (Made in Japan)

An amazing couture cotton knit in clear sunny yellow, with a loose cable weave mounted on mesh, this fabric has the luxurious look and feel of a tailored knit lace. This unique knit would make a stunning strapless evening gown or a sophisticated jacket. 48″ wide. Cotton and viscose blend. Made in Japan.

Regularly $125.99 / yard
On Clearance at 50% off – $62.99 / yard

We have just added a bevy of silk brocades and other fabulous fabrics to our 50% off sale section! For this and other great clearance fabrics, please visit our clearance section on our website.

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