Always Knitting & Sewing Blog

Sewing & Knitting Supplies, visit us online or call in at our shop in Chorley, Lancashire

Always Knitting & Sewing – New Saturday Opening Times

 Always Knitting and Sewing Shop will be open on Saturdays, from 10.00am to 2.00pm, starting on Saturday 15th June 2019. 

We are a family run business, located at 3, Ashfield Road, Chorley, Lancashire, PR7 3BW.

Call in to browse our range of knitting & sewing supplies & meet our friendly helpful staff.

Fabrics by the half metre – Fat Quarter Bundles – Buttons – Ribbon – Knitting Wool

New Opening Times from 15th June 2019

Monday to Friday – 9.30am to 4.30pm.

Saturday – 10.00am to 2.00pm.

Sunday – Closed.

Telephone -01257276513

Email – sales@alwaysknittingandsewing.co.uk

Gorgeous Dolls House Furniture featuring Moda Fabric

Take a look at this beautiful miniature dolls house furniture made by Jill.

We love it at Always knitting and Sewing and just had to share it with everyone!

Jill’s furniture is very impressive, with a great attention to small detail.

Jill choose the popular Sweet Violet cotton fabrics by Moda, the effect is amazing !Click here to view Sweet Violet Cotton Fabric by Moda Fabrics

How cute is this arm chair with a matching foot stool ?

Very talented sewing Jill, thank you very much for sharing with us.

 

Click here to view our extensive rang of Moda Fabric, by the Half Metre, Bundles, Jelly Rolls, Charm Packs & Layer Cake

Excellent Quality & Value ‘Drops’ Wool & Yarns Now in Stock

 

We are now official stockists for Drops wool & yarns.

Until the 31st May we have a special offer of a 35% Discount

 

Drops Puna, soft, light and beautifully warm, perfect for almost any garment.

100% Alpaca,

There is choice of natural, natural mix or uni colours,

This gorgeous yarn is made from 4 threads of superfine alpaca, the fibres are untreated which means they are not exposed to any chemical treatment therefore maintaining the yarns natural qualities.

Soft light and beautifully warm in 100% superfine Alpaca.

 

 

NEPAL UNI colour, aran weight 65% wool, 35% alpaca.

A lovely worsted, luxurious yarn spun in superfine alpaca and Peruvian highland wool.

This gorgeous yarn is spun from 3 strands which gives a lovely rustic stitch definition.

Perfect for Scandinavian style jumpers.

 

 

 

Drops Fabel long print sock yarn.

Hard wearing as only a sock yarn can be, Drops Fabel is a four stranded yarn and is super wash treated, which makes it machine washable and easy to care for.

Compared to regular sock yarns, Drops Fabel is spun in a softer wool quality, which makes it an amazing all round yarn, suitable for far more than socks.

Try it for baby garments.

 

 

Drops Fabel print sock yarn

Hard wearing as only a sock yarn can be, Drops Fabel is a four stranded yarn and is super wash treated, which makes it machine washable and easy to care for.

Compared to regular sock yarns, Drops Fabel is spun in a softer wool quality, which makes it an amazing all round yarn, suitable for far more than socks.

Try it for baby garments.

 

Drops Fabel print sock yarn – uni colour.

Hard wearing as only a sock yarn can be, Drops Fabel is a four stranded yarn and is superwash treated, which makes it machine washable and easy to care for.

Compared to regular sock yarns, Drops Fabel is spun in a softer wool quality, which makes it an amazing all round yarn, suitable for far more than socks.

 

 

Drops Merino extra fine 100% wool.

This is a beautifully soft yarn, perfect for everyday use.

This range includes both solid (uni) and mix colours.

It is super wash treated and machine washable, having a luxurious texture which is gentle on the skin.

It is perfect for baby and children’s garments.

 

Nepal Mix Aran weight 65% wool, 35% alpaca.

A lovely worsted, luxurious yarn spun in superfine alpaca and Peruvian highland wool.

This gorgeous yarn is spun from 3 strands which gives a lovely rustic stitch definition.

Perfect for Scandinavian style jumpers.

 

Lindy Hop 1940’s Style Dress…Quintessentially Beautiful.. A Must For Summer.

Donna at Always Knitting & Sewing has been getting creative again this week with a Lindy Hop, 1940’s style beautiful dress. This is draped on our resident model Mavis, and looks gorgeous. This style of dress has had a fashionable resurgence in recent years….its clear to see why.

The dress is featured in our cream poppy cotton fabric , we also offer a variation of this fabric featuring a Navy blue colour way.

 

The Lindy hop is a popular American dance, with its origins beginning in dance venues, playing Jazz music, in Harlem, New York City.  The height of it’s popularity was during the swing era of the late 1930s and early 1940s. A lindy hop swing dress is a great choice to wear, it has a sassy & feminine feel, and is perfect as a flowing dress on the dance floor, or an eye catcher for a date or special occasion in the summer.

 

 

Donna also produced this beautiful summer dress, using our Pink Poppies cotton fabric. The dress features impactive shoulder straps and a beautiful bow presentation. Ideal for a beautiful summers day…..which doesn’t feel far away….

Click here, to view our extensive selection of floral cotton fabric by the half metre, Ideal for dressmaking.  Summer doesn’t feel that far away…..sewing time…lets get busy

 

The Great British Sewing Bee…Technical Fabric Week

Well what a contrast, from last week’s fun groovy 1970’s, to this weeks tough technical fabric makes…maybe Ben was the lucky one, leaving the competition and missing out on this tough challenge ? got to say, the contestants didn’t look cock a hoop !

The first challenge was to make a panelled swim suit, using lycra and a mesh lining. The results were positively surprising considering the trials and tribulations experienced by the sewers during their three hours…. it didn’t look fun….more like completing community service ! Janet was in great demand as an adviser to her fellow contestants who clearly needed guidance and inspiration.

There didn’t seem to be any easy bits to this challenge, working with stretchy fabric, matching the mesh and piecing the jigsaw together. Don’t think i’ll be trying this make at home, the worthy winner was Juliet with a stunning swim suit worthy of the beach.

The transformation round seemed to take the sewers by surprise…a waterproof jacket for a dog made out of an old tent.  Now this is a make i’ve never considered, but if you have a dog, I guess could be quite fun, creating a bespoke jacket to suit the character of your dog. Jen won with her camouflage number whilst Juliet continued her success with a dog version of a Sherlock Holmes coat…Elementary I suppose.

This was obviously not the episode for me…the next challenge was to make a tracksuit with a stripe, another make not on my list, but the sewers excelled on this one…Ricardo’s skilful work produced a ‘ Bulgarian Olympic track suit from the 80’s…..which in my opinion was the worthy winner, but Garment of the week went to Jen with a tracksuit which also looked like it belonged to a Bond villain who was fond of cats.

Well someone didn’t enjoy this episode more than me……Alexsei had a bit of mare, particularly with the time restrictions again….he wont be joining us next week.

The Great British Sewing Bee…… 1970’s Week…..

I have fond memories of the 1970’s and this weeks show proved to be nostalgic for me….. whilst tricky for the contestants. To create authenticity….or was that really pressure ? vintage sewing machines replaced the modern ones.

The first challenge was to create a pair of flared jean trousers, iconic fashion of the 70’s initially worn by sailors.  My memory of flared blue jeans has got to be the rockers ‘Status Quo’ belting out their tunes. Three and a half hours were allowed for this 13 piece pattern challenge.

Poor Ben had a challenge to forget, Alexei failed to finish and Mercedes couldn’t get the zip right, which is always tricky, even without the pressure of time. Leah forgot to check the direction of the pile, so the front flowed in a different direction to the back, easy oversight, but difficult to hide. The winner was Jan with a mustard well made pair !

The transformation challenge was to produce a punk outfit, only one and a half hours for this one, and with a tough judge, Esme has experience in this line of tartan rebellion and anarchic designs. Alexei was a glutton for punishment and opted for trousers again, which resulted in last place, Riccardo took first place with tartan & zips…. I was happy to move on to the made to measure challenge, punk was never my thing….and this did not catch my imagination.

The five and a half hours were allocated to produce a maxi dress….more my scene than punk. The judges were looking for a good fit around the bust and waist with a flowing skirt to finish. Janet rolled back the years to make a dress that she last made in the 70’s for a wedding, featuring a scooped neck and bishops sleeves, the ditsy fabric was a great choice and I thought she was a worthy winner, but her bodged collar let her down.

Mercedes stole the show winning garment of the week, taking the plaudits of the judges for perfect balance & flow, impeccable neckline & gorgeous floral fabric, which created the embodiment  of the 1970’s………… It was time for Ben to go home, he’d had a bad day at the office, his adventurous quest for bespoke makes were hampered by the pressure of time limits…..A pattern is emerging here….keep it simple !

 

 

Sewing Bee, Series 5, Episode 2……

The BBC’s Sewing Bee was back last night with the popular ‘children’s week.

The first challenge of the evening wasn’t easy, Making a hoodie. The project entailed lots of tricky features, needing good attention to detail, in particular getting the the hood attached and shaped to sit correctly.

Three different fabrics were required, stretch jersey for the outer material,  a lighter stretch for lining and ribbing for cuffs & waistline.

The jersey material is easily stretched whilst being sewn and care must be taken not to lose the shape. The overlocker is essential to prevent the fabric fraying and providing a tidy finish. An overlock is a stitch that sews over the edge of one or two pieces of fabric, ideal for edging, hemming and seaming. Care must also be taken with the ribbing to prevent it gathering.

Janet stormed ahead bringing her experience to the machine, a choice of cute bunny rabbits looked great, with the judges exclaiming ” a cracking little hoodie, 1st place….. perfection”

The transformation challenge had a fun theme, and the potential for some enchanted creativity. A fancy dress outfit for a child, themed on an animal was to be made from a fake fur coat. With 90 minutes to complete the project…no pressure!

I love the idea of up cycling material and have been motivated to get around charity shops, to find some garments & material for some innovative sewing makes.

I had high hopes for Alexei, who had previous experience making a Gruffalo outfit for his nephew. He had a cute photo in the studio which looked fantastic, and I thought it put him in pole position.  Alexei’s debut in sewing was interesting, in secret he made a dress for his girlfriend, which she was presented with, totally out of the blue…..boyfriends & husbands take note……on second thoughts…the garden needs weeding!

Ricardo got to work on a dragon, Mercedes didn’t  listen to the requested task and made a great outfit, but not what was requested, a good learning experience. Jen came second with my favourite, an exotic bird, I couldn’t help but see the connection with a childhood memory of a fearful bird that many a celebrity came a cropper with…… Rod Hull & Emu !

First place was taken by Ben with his ant outfit, great design, attention to detail and top sewing. A clear winner in the opinion of the judges.

The ‘made to measure’ challenge this week was to produce a dance outfit.

Janet opted for a sailors outfit, which included a gorgeous swish skirt with ric-rac finishing. Alexei produced a fairy outfit, in a great choice of colours and Jen went for a Highland dance outfit with a Scottish theme which looked great with some beautiful piping done to perfection….I thought she had it in the bag…

Leah, who had previously disclosed her lack of experience with children’s themed sewing makes stole the show with a beautiful swan outfit……a worthy winner for the ‘Garment of The Week.

Unfortunately whenever there is a winner, there is usually a loser, and this week we said good bye to Sheila. Shame to see her go…….but that’s The Sewing Bee…….another great show, leaving us looking forward to more next week.

 

 

The Great British Sewing Bee 2019 – Has it still got the X Factor ?

Its been a long, long wait……..but its now back on, our favourite t.v show, The Great British Sewing Bee !

The usual excitement surrounded the first episode, New Host Joe Lycette, New Contestants and the anticipation of what was to be made together with the emotions of success & ‘that’s not what I intended to happen’.

The first challenge was to make a ‘wiggle dress’ using cotton material……sounds ok ?  but with such a hugging fitting dress the attention to detail must be spot on to avoid a poor fit, getting the darts right is essential.  Janet the retired shopkeeper from Yorkshire was disappointed having not managed to hide the zip on the back, I’m sure she usually can do that in her sleep, and it was just a nervous start with the cameras.

My attention was grabbed by Juliet, the primary school teacher from London.  She has only been sewing for 5 years and…….taught herself from the internet. I have to say I’m not a massive jump suit fan but Juliet’s yellow and black jump suit was fantastic, brave choice of fabrics, contrast of colours and the over all fit and look were very impressive from the sewing newcomer.

At the other end of the scale poor Mercedes will be looking for improvement next week, after her denim skirt didn’t quite happen for her. 

A great first episode, recommended viewing…. can’t help but suspect some of these experienced sewers are just warming up ! Bring on the sewers !

The Pink Flamingo …. A Fabric Icon ?

Our range of fabrics featuring the majestic and exotic Pink Flamingo are a popular choice for customers right now.

Is it because of the easy on the eye artistic design and unusual pink colour of the plumage ? or is there more of an affinity with this beautiful long legged bird ?

The name Flamingo comes from the word ‘flamengo’ which means flame coloured, in Spanish. There are six species which can be found in Africa, Central Asia, South America, North West India and Southern Europe.

Closer to home we are lucky to have a colony at Martin Mere Wetland Centre near Ormskirk.  Where there is a breeding and protection programme.  In the wild, flocks can consist of thousands of birds.

The pink colours of the feathers result from eating beta carotene, a chemical found in their diet of algae, insects and small fish.

The birds have a very social nature and are thought to to mate with a partner for life. They can often be seen standing on one leg, although the reason for this is not known, it is suspected that it may be to conserve body heat, whilst wading in the cold water.

Well there ends a quick flight tour into the world of the flamingo, a beautiful theme for some exotic sewing makes……and pink too, which is always a bonus!

Best Wishes

Andrea

 

 

 

How To Make Christmas Bunting

Bunting is one of the most popular sewing makes amongst our customers.  It is a great traditional decoration for many events and designs, and looks really effective.  Whether as a children’s themed design for a nursery or Halloween & Christmas Celebrations.
In this blog Lucy takes you through the process of making Christmas bunting, step by step.
You will need:
Main Fabric.
Backing Fabric.
Scissors / Rotary Cutter.
Bias Binding / Ribbon.
Triangle Template.
Sewing Machine.
Using your Main Fabric (in this case our Santa Fabric) and the Triangle Template (based on the required size of flags), cut around the template with your scissors or rotary cutter, this will give you your Bunting Flags.
Do the same for the Backing Fabric – I have used plain red fabric for this.
Now all of your flags are cut, you are ready to sew.
Once at your sewing machine, place the cut triangles back to back (right side to right side). Sew along each edge leaving the top flat section un-sewn.
Once all of the flags have been sewn together on the two sides, you can then trim the outside areas of each flag. This is an optional step, however it just makes the bunting a little neater.
You will then need to turn the flags inside out, so the correct design side of each fabric is on the outside.
You can poke the corners of each flag out with scissors or a knitting needle, then iron the flags so they are easier to sew on the Bias Binding / Ribbon.
Head over to your sewing machine and sew all of the flags onto the Bias Binding / Ribbon along the top flat section of the flags using contrasting thread (in this case red thread to match the red bias binding) – I have used a 25mm Polycotton Bias Binding.
Once all of the flags have been sewn onto the Bias Binding, you can then give the bunting a quick press with the iron and then it is ready to be put up.
Here is the finished Bunting!
Good luck making your bunting !
Best wishes
Lucy
Lulu’s Bunting Shop
Instagram: lulusbuntingshopx
Image