• Introducing 'Haberdashery' by Ray Stitch

    We are delighted to share our very first range of in-house Ray Stitch fabric with you!

    'Haberdashery' has been created in collaboration with fashion designer, and friend of Ray Stitch, Justine Tabak who shares our core beliefs of 'slow' fashion - garments that are made to last years, not just one season. And, as we all know, if you've invested time, money and effort to sew your own clothes, then you want to cherish and wear them time and time again. Justine's clothes are also made entirely in Britain using British produced fabrics, and we are proud to have been able to design and manufacture our first collection of fabrics entirely in the U.K.

    'Haberdashery' features patterns of everyday sewing essentials - a subtle suggestion that you might have made your garment yourself?! All five designs have been printed on the finest quality cotton lawn, in a classic colour palette of red, white, sky blue and navy.

    Cotton lawn, very similar to cotton voile, is ideal for use in dressmaking. If you haven't sewn with lawn before here are some interesting facts and tips:


    • *Lawn was originally named after Laon in France, where fine linen lawn was made and used in clothing for royalty or the clergy.
    • *Voile comes from the old French word for veil. In French it is pronounced 'vwal', but we tend to anglicise it so that it sounds like 'coil'.
    • *Lawn is made from specially selected ultra-fine, long staple cotton. It has a very high thread count which means it is untextured, has a silky feel and is also extremely light, perfect for all sorts of garments.
    • *Voile is technically more gauzey than lawn but many of the American printed voiles available now have an identical finish to our printed cotton lawn.
    • *The quality of lawn means that it is very easy to work with during construction. Garments made from cotton lawn hold their shape well, are cool to wear in summer and are very comfortable.
    • *Despite how light it is, lawn is actually very durable. The high quality of the fabric also means that creases quickly fall out.
    • *It makes an excellent base for prints: because the fabric is so smooth, the colours and patterns are extra sharp and bright.
    • It sounds like the perfect fabric, right? We think so, but there are a couple of things to take into consideration when working with cotton lawn...
    • *Even though the fabric is lightweight, it is not great for garments that need drape. Lawn is slightly crisp (not stiff) and gathers nicely but it won't fall into heavy, soft folds.
    • *As the fabric is so fine, use a corresponding needle on your sewing machine for the best results.
    • *It can be more expensive than regular cotton fabric, but given all the benefits listed above, we think it's worth it.


    So now you know what it is, let us show you what we have made from Haberdashery....

    Clockwise from top left:

    The women's dress is made from 'blue scissors' and uses the very versatile pattern from April Rhodes, 'Date Night Dress'. (If you are in London, we have this pattern in the shop but not online yet.)

    These two darling girl's dresses have been made up using the 'navy pins' and 'white buttons', from this pattern by New Look.

    Finally, the gorgeous knickers have been made from 'navy pins' and if you'd like to have a go at making a pair yourself, then why not join our class on the 19 May? More details here.

    We are fully stocked with all 5 designs so you can pop in store or purchase online.

    As always, we would love to hear your thoughts on 'Haberdashery' and for you to share any projects you make with our community. You can find us on Facebook or Instagram - tag your photos with #RaystitchMakes. Happy sewing!





  • 99 to 66 - A New Home for Ray Stitch

    Ta Dah! Ray Stitch is now open for business at 66 Essex Road, N1! We have moved across the road, into bigger premises, after 6 years at number 99.


    The last few months have been a bit of a whirlwind for us - Rachel signed the lease for the new shop in November and a major building project began to turn the tired retail space into a hub for our ever-growing creative community. The existing shop (formerly a travel agents with lots of dark little rooms) was gutted - walls were knocked through, windows were opened up to make a feature of the double-height space into the basement below and the staircase was repositioned to maximise the floor space.

    It was a huge job to complete in just 10 weeks and it sure wasn't pretty but what it means now is we have lots of space and natural light - just what every sewing enthusiast and fabric lover needs.

    As you enter the new shop you will recognise the original Ray Stitch trademark details: inlaid wooden features on the new staircase and floor, miniature retro sewing machines on the shelves and an industrial edge to the fittings. But as we have doubled in size, it has allowed us to create a more relaxed environment - the fabric range has increased and there is more space to browse. There’s a whole rack of garments made up from patterns and fabrics we stock so you can see and feel how these look, plus there's a 'reading' room full of patterns, books and magazines and a stylish sofa so you can sit, linger and get inspiration as you plan your next project.

    The variety of trims, notions, zips, buttons, ribbons, clasps etc we stock has also increased so you are bound to find exactly the right finishing touches to complete your work in progress.

    As you head down the beautiful wooden staircase you will find yet more gorgeous fabrics, especially our popular organic cottons, jerseys, and wool linens, as well as two cutting tables and layout space. Our ever-popular sewing school is housed downstairs too, but with the new skylight from the windows on the street there is an abundance of natural light (& a passing audience to look in and admire!) Our classes are always well subscribed and in our new shop we can accommodate participants much more comfortably, with over-spill space for big projects like quilts.

    On a practical level and very pleasing to the staff, we also have more room for the kitchen and bathroom, two stockrooms and - finally! - a proper office for all the behind-the-scenes running of the business.

    The one thing that has not changed is our brilliantly talented team. Everyone who works at Ray Stitch has great enthusiasm for fabric and their own special expertise and knowledge. If you need help, have questions, want advice or just want to chat about your passion, please talk to our staff!

    Although we have moved in and are open for business already, we will be hosting an official press launch on Friday 7 April. By the power of social media we would love as many of you to join us - we will be Live on Facebook at 7pm and on Instagram stories throughout the event so please stay tuned on the night.

    We'd love to know what you think of our new shop, so please leave a comment below, or if you've got photos of your own then why not use the hashtag #RayStitch66 and share them with us on Instagram @raystitch

  • A nice class review from Kelly....

    Knitting Blogger Kelly Sloan ventured into the world of sewing and took one our beginners classes. Here's what she said about it....

    ....."I have decided to take the plunge and try to get into sewing again.  My plan is to take a dress-making course, but I decided to start with an afternoon intro to sewing class, just to get back in the swing of things.  (I was never a terrific seamstress, probably because my mom is a true expert, and it has been decades since I last did anything other than hand sewing.)

    The class was great fun!  It is such a lovely way to spend an afternoon.  I took the class at Ray Stitch in Islington, London.  The instructor, Luisa, was both helpful and nice, and I had a great time with fellow classmates as we figured out sewing machines and made tote bags. (Of course, we all know that they are actually knitting bags, because what else would you need to tote?) Here we are with our totes: Louisa, Judi, Asia, me, and Alicia.

    Knitting is a comfort to me right now as the world reels from political craziness.  It helps keep me (relatively) sane.  My advice – find ways to make your voice heard, don’t watch the news before bedtime, and keep a project handy for when you need talking down from the ledge."

    (Read more on her blog at Knitigating Circumstances)














  • Toasty warm brushed cotton flannels!

    As is inevitable, the weather changes from day to day but one thing is for sure... we're not about to stop wearing cosy clothing. With the influx of casual garment styles we have in stock now at Ray Stitch - including the (hopefully increasing) menswear range - we are always aspiring to provide you with a variety of fabrics that you can use, whether the weather is inclement or not. So for February, believing that our shirting weight wovens collection will allow you to make clothing that will last throughout the remainder of winter into spring (and have you ready for when autumn quickly rolls around again), we have expanded our range of brushed cotton flannel checks and stripes.

    Ray Stitch Brushed Cotton Flannels

    Our woven brushed cotton flannels, designed by Moda, are 100% cotton and feature a fluffy right side and a smooth non-fluffy wrong side - though, break conventions and have the fluffy texture on the inside!

    Ray Stitch Brushed Cotton Flannels

    They are 110cm wide and remember that if you want to be meticulous with your pattern matching, to add more to your fabric requirements (save the scraps for a quilt!) The two plain colours below are our organic brushed cotton flannels and are 120cm wide, woven on small power looms in Kerala.

    Ray Stitch Brushed Cotton Flannels

    Choosing colours that work well in womenswear and menswear (how about some classic toddler overalls too?), our range offers classic shades in checks and stripes that aren't in your face this-is-a-lumberjack-shirt. Don't get us wrong, lumberjack shirts with the bold checks are quite possibly a wardrobe staple, but generally we think shirting could be more subtle - wearable at work and a casual brunch, something generally more versatile. We have picked out some of our patterns that would be very comfortable in a soft flannel, and easily styled if you want to layer.

       Ray Stitch patterns for flannels


    You could also use brushed cotton flannel as a cosy quilt top or backing! We stock organic brushed cotton flannel in super soft white and natural. Don't forget to show us your creations!

  • February Classes

    UPCOMING CLASSES for February:
    Freestyle! with Rosie - Fri 5th Feb 7-10pm
    Whatever you want to work on, our teacher is there to guide you £40 (Book 3 sessions for £100) - (1 space left)
    Intermediate Steps with Luisa - Sat 6th Feb 10.30-1.30pm
    Beginner Plus, dressmaking techniques £48 - (2 spaces left)
    Recreate Your Favourite Garment with Alice - Sat 6th Feb 2.30-5.30pm
    Some working knowledge of dressmaking and basic sewing machine skills necessary £55 - (1 space left)
    Trouser block (pattern cutting) with Alice - Sun 7th Feb 10am-5pm
    Some working knowledge of dressmaking and basic sewing machine skills necessary £105 (3 spaces left)
    Making Children's Clothes with Rosie - Wed 10th and 17th Feb 6.30-9.30pm
    Must have made something using a sewing machine and be fairly confident with a machine but our teacher will be on hand to help! £90 (2 spaces left)
    Colette Wren Dress with Moyna - Sat 13th and Sun 14th Feb 11am-5pm with lunch included.
    This is a good start to sewing with jersey, but it is good if you have made a woven garment before £165 (3 spaces left)
    Men's Clothing (Merchant and Mills patterns) with Rosie - Thurs 25th Feb plus 3 more consecutive sessions 10.30am-1.30pm
    Fairly confident machine sewing skills necessary with a completed sewing project behind you (our Beginner session + Next Steps or equivalent would be perfect) £260 (5 spaces left)
    Machine Embroidery and Appliqué with Caroline - Fri 26th Feb 6.30-9.30pm Pin-Tucking session! £55 - (4 spaces left)
    Make a Tote Bag with Luisa - Sat 27th Feb 10.30am-1.30pm
    Complete beginners £45 (4 spaces left)
    Next Steps with Moyna - Sat 27th Feb 2.30-5.30pm
    Beginners Plus, basic dressmaking skills to advance your repertoire (Do it with the Tote Bag class above for a good day of learning!) £45 - £48 (4 spaces left)
    Camber or Dress Shirt with Moyna - Sun 28th Feb 10am-5pm with lunch included Next Steps or equivalent would be great, but knowledge of darts and seams is enough £95 (4 spaces left)
  • Jersey, ribbing and sweatshirt new arrivals!

    We stock many patterns here at Ray Stitch, but haven't had the opportunity to make some of them because unfortunately, we didn't quite have the best stretch fabrics and materials in stock. That, however, is a thing of the past!

    Our shelves now boast lightweight cotton/elastane single jerseys in melange colourways, heavyweight cotton/polyester sweatshirting in vivid and classic shades, bright Ponte di Roma knits, as well as incredibly soft fluffy-back cotton sweatshirting in neutral melange shades. To top it off, we have selected some fun, bold plain cotton ribbing and quirky striped cotton ribbing! Our recurring stock includes printed organic cotton interlock from Birch Fabrics, alongside striped cotton/elastane single jersey, heavyweight fluffy-back organic cotton fleece and our delectably drapey bamboo stretch - so, we are well stocked up now for all of our sewing patterns!

    And get this, they all are sustainably-minded in that they are either certified GOTS organic, Öko-Tex Standard 100 certified (testing for harmful substances throughout the whole manufacturing chain) or are renewable materials. They're perfect for babies and children (well, adults too!) for being naturally breathable and hypoallergenic, and free from chemicals.

    Cotton Ribbing Stripes | Ray Stitch Cotton Ribbing Stripes, 500g/m2, 84cm wide, £20/m | 96% cotton 4% elastane | Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certified


    Cotton Ribbing Plains | Ray Stitch Cotton Ribbing Plain, 500g/m2, 84cm wide, £20/m | 96% cotton 4% elastane | Oeko-Tex Standard 100 Certified


    Lightweight Cotton Melange Single Jersey | Ray Stitch Lightweight Melange Single Jersey, 220g/m2, 160cm wide, £16/m | 95% cotton 5% elastane | Oeko-Tex Standard 100 Certified


    Heavyweight Cotton Melange Sweatshirt | Ray Stitch Heavyweight Melange Sweatshirt, 280g/m2, 155cm wide, £20/m | 95% cotton 5% elastane | Oeko-Tex Standard 100 Certified


    Ponte di Roma Knit | Ray Stitch Ponte di Roma Knit, 300g/m2, 160cm wide, £20/m | 65% viscose 30% polyamide 5% elastane


    Heavyweight Sweatshirt Fleece | Ray Stitch Heavyweight Sweatshirt Fleece, 300g/m2, 160cm wide, £22/m | 75% cotton 25% polyester | Oeko-Tex Standard 100 Certified


    Head to our Jersey and Stretch Fabric area of our website and use the filters on the left to select lightweight, heavyweight, fleece, ribbing, spandex... or take a look at our vast array of sewing patterns, using the 'garment type' filter to select jersey and stretch.

  • Trouser Weekend

    Make a pair of classic slim pants over a weekend (Session 1 - Saturday 16th Jan. 12 - 5pm, Session 2 - Sunday 17th Jan. 12 - 5pm). These cool trews can be made up in light, medium or heavy weight fabric - a great way to use something from your stash - and can be worn with anything!

    Call the shop to book this weekend's class and get 15% off. The price includes the pattern, sewing sundries and lunch and refreshments on both days.

    More here...

    clover blog

  • Lots of new fabrics added....


  • Holiday Opening Times


  • Bespoke Quilts

    Do you love our beautiful collection of fabrics but just haven't got as much time as you'd like to sew them up?

    Why not choose two complimentary prints and we'll quilt and hand bind them to make a gorgeous, completely bespoke, quilted throw - an ideal gift to yourself or a dear one. Take a look at size and price options here, but in the meantime have a look at some of beautiful examples...





  • Our own versions of Wren.....

    Ray Stitch were very fortunate to receive Colette's new pattern 'The Wren' prior to it's official release date last week!! What a treat...  with pattern in-hand, we set to work immediately.

    We recently stocked up on a gorgeous new range of printed jerseys from Art Gallery, and the Wren arrived just in time to try them out! The first version we made was in the printed cotton jersey Imprint - Maze. This single stretch fabric has a lovely weight and drape, with a small amount of spandex perfect for slightly fitted styles, though is fairly stable to sew so we found that it worked perfectly.

    Wren 2_2

    The second fabric was chosen for it's classic and flattering appeal. We absolutely love our double stretch bamboo jersey; it has such a gorgeous, slinky drape to it, plus it's very comfortable and breathable due to the natural properties of bamboo. The Wren this time took on the characteristic of transforming from a smart work dress to a sultry evening dress, depending on how it was styled. It was a mild day when we had finished sewing so our mannequin was feeling suitably happy wearing just the dress in October - the beauty of bamboo!

    Wren 1

    Wren is one of those great patterns with huge versatility. It lends well to different fabrics and looks great as either smart or casual day wear. The sleeveless option also gives other dimensions – sun dress, evening dress, layered overdress… It’s easy to construct and doesn’t require a tremendous amount of fabric, teamed with the fact that knits usually come on wider bolts. We would also recommend our striped cotton jersey for something striking, and our plain melange cotton jersey for a softer look. You could also go heavier with a Ponte di Roma, a wonderful weight for the fitted version of Wren.

    The options are endless.... we are off to make another!

    Happy Sewing!

    Wren 2

  • Wren, The New Pattern From Colette - Just In!

    Meet Wren: The Fitted Surplice Dress

    Today we are thrilled to share the latest Colette pattern with you! Meet Wren, the fitted surplice dress.

    Wren is a feminine, wrap-style knit dress that is sure to flatter every figure. Make either the sleeveless version for evenings or warmer months or add short sleeves. The gathered neckband is gracefully echoed in the gathered A-line skirt. This dress has a charming silhouette that can be styled up or down.

    We have so many beautiful stretch fabrics that would work for this dress - colorful cotton jersey prints for the perfect day dress, or classy and slinky bamboo stretch for the ultimate little evening dress. Take a look at all our stretch fabrics here...

    cp1033-wren-01-large-6950146145fb282e87b64d8989a13a45b7e2a52572e13fc019e581e1ae6ddef7 cp1033-wren-02-large-1fd20b2be2f5a91da5b65f079eae96506ae7d18ea6bb39741d6f9e3aaa0cd9ad cp1033-wren-03-large-e5f49364657f3a3401a872b36bf89457304c336d67db0f84386b864cf44159b5 cp1033-wren-04-large-0f4c18dece2160681e7f288893be2bd17bb4632447990387cee509b7345f0857 cp1033-wren-05-large-3b90c5c292ac50a75ee90df5e0b821679baea15e88bdd7d8677d3701eeeb734b cp1033-wren-06-large-27aa9a4974f71f5713bf15f032aee4f0b737aece3964192b8851a800eae7e5c6 cp1033-wren-07-large-96fc67916af5bb991c3c327772d7282a2a0143d0fe7bc837c6caa9ee5738ea85 cp1033-wren-08-large-5e6c2a67b19f6399c22806a29bb7ab6280fdfab148bc0cc67725a9b59c8e51f6

  • Boiled Wool Coat Weekend

    These very clever ladies spent last weekend in our workshop making themselves a coat - without a pattern. Customised to suit their taste - long or short? collar or no collar? fitted or straight? pockets/buttons? choices choices.... But anything is possible with our indomitable pattern cutting teacher Alice!

    We have one more Boiled Wool Coat Weekend coming up this year on the 7th and 8th November. Check out the details on our class page here - Don't miss it!

    wool class ladies

  • Printed and Plain Stretch Fabrics

    We've taken delivery of lots of new jersey fabrics over the past couple of weeks. Last week we received a big stack of the much anticipated Art Galley printed Jersey range - we've spoilt you for choice in terms of colours and patterns - from the rather understated and contemporary ‘Morse Dot Blue’ to the fresh and fruity geometric ‘Arboretum Dawn’ to a bold and striking ‘Maze Blue’. Not only are these new additions to our fabric family modern and elegant in design, they also boast a really high quality. They have been knitted in Pima Cotton, a very soft, durable, and absorbent type of fibre similar to Egyptian cotton. Fabric made using this type of cotton is light to wear yet provides superior warmth making it perfect for the coming season. Below is a snapshot of all the designs we currently have in store.
    stretch 2

    If prints and patterns just aren’t your thing we have lots of interesting plains to offer. You might have already seen that our sumptuous Bamboo Jersey is now back in stock - an absolute classic, perennial favourite: soft, heavy drape and slight lustre - perfect for the crossover from casual to evening wear.  More recently we brought in a new range of Melange cotton jerseys, we have these available as a lightweight fabric in Pink, Lime, Light Blue, Petrol & Natural and as a heavier weight in Navy, Anthracite & Grey. Melange is a colour affect achieved by mixing two colours when constructing a fabric, this gives a rich depth and texture, it also lends itself to casual wear.

    Screen shot 2015-10-03 at 15.27.36Screen shot 2015-10-03 at 15.25.22

    If you haven’t tried sewing with Jersey before, don’t be nervous! It’s not as tricky as you think, you don’t need an overlocker to start experimenting, using the zig-zag setting on your sewing machine will work just fine, the beauty of jersey is that it doesn’t fray like woven fabrics. Another benefit of making clothes using stretch fabric is draping, draping is the alternative to pattern cutting or using a commercial pattern. One drawback however is that you need a mannequin (or a very patient friend!) to, as the name suggests, drape your fabric over and around the body form and pin in place to create unique designs. When we received our new Art Gallery Jersey’s we couldn’t resist draping them over our dressmaker mannequins to see how they look formed around the body, it’s a really easy way to get inspiration for a new project and see how the fabric will suit the style you have in mind. You can see below the results of our half an hour experimentation!




    One off remnants in our SALE section today, half price ..... be quick, when they're gone they're gone!

    remnants all

  • A Medley of Japanese Fabrics

    You should have had chance now to have a look at, and possibly purchase, our summer collection of Japanese prints (we would like to think so, anyway!) This time around we chose a myriad of fabric types and weights, from floaty cotton lawn to buttery soft double-gauze through to linen-cotton canvas.

    The combination of quirky and abstract prints, interesting colour palettes and tactility of the fabrics that the brands we stock such as Kokka, Nani Iro, Hokkoh and Jubi-Lee offer, allows us to create clothing and homewares out of the ordinary. That's the beauty of personally handmade goods after all - that we can be playful.

    Let us explain and (hopefully) offer insight into what our current collection of Japanese fabrics does for your making, in terms of their hand feel, composition, history, colour, print...

    Dobby - this is a cloth woven on the dobby loom. The warp threads are controlled using the 'dobby' device (a distortion in name from 'draw boy', an apprentice who physically assisted weavers with holding the threads) so that they can raised or lowered individually allowing the weaver to create geometric patterns and texture. Satin threads can help highlight the fabric's woven pattern. Our Hemp Stars and Matchsticks fabrics are slightly translucent with a hint of sheen. As they are woven with cotton, they are breathable for daytime wear, with the prints acting as something a bit special for evenings. Or imagine having cushions that are this silky and luxurious!

    This is a versatile fabric because of it's light weight and we have picked out dressmaking patterns that attend to that: the Alder Shirtdress (daytime fun), the Rigel Bomber (quilted featherweight bliss) and the Kielo Wrap Dress (nighttime elegance).

    Ray Stitch Hokkoh Japanese Dobby Cotton Fabric

    Double-Gauze - a very popular fabric today, due to it's soft hand feel and breathability. It is perfect for hot climates, yet just as comfy on the skin layered up in colder months. The craft of karamiori is thought to have been introduced in Japan in 710-794, a method of textile production that includes all loom techniques that use the intertwining of threads to create cloth. Leno weaves fall into this category, a method that produces a firm open mesh. Double-gauze is created from two layers of cloth tacked together at regular intervals with undetectable little stitches - the underside acts as a lining so that the gauze layers aren't as sheer, with the construction allowing for air to pass easily through the open weave, so making a slightly more practical cloth. There are various types of double-gauze: you may have seen shirts on the high-street made from flannel gauze, with checked cloth on both sides. The double-gauze fabric we have selected are a mix of both open, more loose cloth and closer-woven, more structured cloth. Whichever you go for, we have no doubt that your clothing will be comfy!

    The Water Window collection is wonderful for smock styles, and because of it's abstract full-width print a simple silhouette will sing out - how about making it in the Saiph Tunic? Pocho, Mountain Views and Birdseye are a tighter weave so work well in structured shapes. Our favourites are the Camber and Laurel for their ease of wear, but perhaps you men would like something comfortable - the Negroni is a relaxed style of shirt just waiting to be made in gauze! Take a look at our full collection of double-gauze cloth in abstract and geometric prints, as well as the reversible polka dot and organic double-layered cotton both also woven in the leno way.

    Ray Stitch Japanese Double Gauze Cotton Prints

    Canvas - a plain-weave, relatively smooth cloth that comes in various weights. Originally called duck cloth, a utility fabric used in sailors' clothing, canvas is characterised by it's hardy texture and surface making it perfect for items that get a bit more wear. We stock a range of plain-coloured canvases, but also really enjoy the variety of projects that can be carried out with our printed canvases. Our Japanese selection are of a linen-cotton composition - you get a slight slub from the linen, whilst the cotton helps in reducing creasing. They also vary in weave so that there are some slightly more open like the soft and drapey Lazy Cat, some tighter like Nani Iro's Clear Heart and some in between like Hokkoh's Flamingo print. Whichever weave, they are a substantial weight for homewares, as well as clothing (and we have seen wonderful garments created from them) that will wash softer over time.

    Our Japanese canvases are really great for silhouettes where a small amount of structure from the cloth is helpful. You may have seen our Sigma Dress last year that keeps it's gathered skirt shape nicely, and our Water Window Grey used for the Top 64. You could also go for a statement piece with the Strand Coat, which in linen-cotton is lovely for both hotter days and cooler evenings.

    Ray Stitch Japanese Canvas Prints

    Barkcloth - a traditional Pacific cloth made from bark, recreated for the fashion market around the 1950s. The contemporary cloth retains the similar uneven texture of natural barkcloth, yet woven with cotton so that the fabric is soft to the touch and has a little bit of drape. It's a fairly heavyweight cloth, more like our printed canvas weight, as it is made using densely woven cotton threads. This creates a thicker structure and consequently the substantial hand feel.

    Our Lava printed barkcloth is so striking that you could go for a straightforward silhouette like a kimono top, Delphi Maxi Dress and Alexandria Peg Trousers or take the fabric's original purpose and go for a vintage shape such as Colette's Dahlia and Peony. Perhaps it speaks to you more as a bold statement in your home using the barkcloth as a blind or cushions...

    Ray Stitch Japanese Cotton Barkcloth

    Enshuku - this lightweight, crisp cotton has a natural wrinkle to it. After printing, this Shiochijimi cotton undergoes the traditional Japanese Enshuku ('salt-shrinking') process in order to achieve its slightly seersucker look and feel. It is lightweight with a small amount of drape, so would be most suitable and comfortable as a square top, shirt or gathered skirt - something that can use a little bit of structure, though still likes to let you move. You could also use our Sanazami Pocho prints for tailored blazers and trousers as you'll get the chic crisp finish that high-end brands do so well. The dotty print is so adorable, don't forget about all the childrenswear you could make!

    We think that the Kaisla Blazer and Alpi Chinos would make a superb outfit. Colette's Zinnia has a waistband with gathered skirt so that the balance of floaty and structure is achieved, and our favourite basic top from Simplicity would be practical for work and casual wear. Just imagine the top and the skirt together, with the blazer thrown over the top...! For the childrenswear, how cute would a full Lunchbox Tee and Culottes outfit be? We have the sweetest boys' shirt from Burda to match Dad's Burda 7045 shirt as well.

    Ray Stitch Japanese Enshuku Cotton Prints

    Lawn - we created a whole window of outfits recently in our Temple Outline lawn because it is just so perfect for summer, and works for many styles of garment. This cotton lawn is slightly more open weave than Liberty, with a translucency that can rule out certain clothing like trousers. However, as a summer dress, gathered skirt or fitted top, you'll get the luxury that comes with lawn as well as the breathability and freedom of movement.

    We made up the Hazel panelled bodice dress, the Sencha 1940s style top, Named Clothing's Leotie knee-length gathered skirt with waistband, By Hand's elegant and swishy Sophia Dress and a dress using their Holly buttoned bodice.

    Ray Stitch Japanese Cotton Lawn

    Poplin - a buttery soft, smooth and tightly-woven cotton cloth. As a mediumweight cotton, somewhere in between lawn and quilting-weight, poplin has the ability to work wonderfully for pillow cases and cushions. In terms of clothing, anything but outerwear is suitable, though you can always have a pop print as a lining. The few Japanese poplins we have come from Jubi-Lee and Kokka, and have a slight satin hand feel making them oh-so-luxurious to the touch.

    Angelfish is crisp, whilst Koushi is slightly peachy and has a soft drape. The Keana Blouse and Iris Shorts would be a playful end-of-summer outfit or take a look through Merchant and Mills' Sewing Book for envelope cushion and tie pillowcase inspiration.

    Ray Stitch Japanese Cotton Poplin Prints

    Yarn Dyed - this does what it says: the yarn is dyed before weaving and in doing so, the cloth inherits colour nuances not seen in solid colour piece-dyeing. Our embroidered spotted cloth uses yarn dyeing to give subtleties to the background shade, whilst the embroidered threads are speckled with a medley of colours that show up a linear pattern on the back of the cloth, as you would see in Fair Isle knitting. These embroidered threads add a substantial weight and thickness to the fabric, allowing it to work really well for fitted skirts, casual jackets and of course, homewares.

    The embroidered threads at the back could make sewing buttonholes quite tricky, so we think that simple shapes without fussy fastening would work best. Make up classic skirts using New Look's 6107 basic pencil skirt, By Hand's high-waisted Charlotte Skirt with peplum ruffle, or Colette's A-line Ginger with panelling to play around with. Merchant and Mills' Trapeze Dress is a simple shape with inset sleeves where you can play around with a block colour, or shorten it for a top to wear with the skirt!

    Ray Stitch Japanese Yarn Dyed Cotton Cloth

    Textured - our Pebbled Waves collection are also yarn dyed, woven in wavy stripes at various thicknesses. It has a slight regular slubby texture to it, almost like the feel of linen, and along with the shading gives these fabrics the air of sandy beaches and pebbles. With the bobbles interspersed along the waves, this is a really unusual cloth. We made up Merchant and Mills' Dress Shirt in the indigo colourway (that we consequently sold out of!) as the dark colour, linear pattern and lightweight drape really suited the oversized tunic shape.

    The lighter colourways would look very chic, we think, in the drawstring paperbag-waisted 101 Trousers. Colette have a new pattern, Aster, that is a relatively simple blouse with just a box pleat in the back to give slight fullness - again, the straightforward shape allows the pattern to sing out.

    Ray Stitch Japanese Yarn Dyed Pebbled Cloth

    We have somewhat bombarded you with ideas for dressmaking patterns suitable for our collection of fabrics, but really there are so many options, we hope to perhaps tantalise you enough to allow you to see possibilities that you might otherwise not consider. We're on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter so do please tag us in your makes so we can delight in them as well!

  • Grainline Studio patterns at Ray Stitch

    Here at Ray Stitch we get very excited by new things, especially when they are well-designed, well-packaged and well-made. Grainline Studio patterns have been on our 'to order' list for many a month due to the furor that our customers have been making over the styles. We are forever looking to expand our offering of patterns and fabrics, championing the independents as well as those that are more commercial and longer established. The current wave of home dressmakers that have experimented and played around with their own patterns brings an excitement to the fore of sewing - something that really hasn't been witnessed since the times gone by of true austerity, the time of rationing and inaccessibility.

    Grainline Studio patterns at Ray Stitch

    What we particularly like about Grainline Studio, is their classic yet contemporary styles. There isn't any fuss, allowing you to concentrate on choosing the perfect fabric and altering the silhouette to suit your needs. For example, if you take a look at Jen of Grainline's blog, she is constantly trying out her styles in different weights of fabric, lengthening a hem, adding longer sleeves... it shows that she is completely involved in her process and that she too champions what she has created to the extent where she is still pushing what can be achieved. We see this with all the independent pattern companies we stock and it is what keeps the spark in dressmaking alive - it's not about creating something for the sake of it, there is a genuine excitement and fulfillment of wellbeing that comes from making garments from scratch. There's a community who take part in the sewalongs, and with social media they are able to share what they have made - a cycle is created where you are inspired again and again and just want to make more! Perhaps this is also conducive to feeling a little depressed that there isn't enough time for it all, but at least for us at Ray Stitch, we are in an environment where we get to share in your dressmaking journey - the spirit of making is kept alive even when we have to prioritise buying buttons and interfacing (you can't make clothes without the essentials after all!)

    Grainline Studio styles

    We're excited about the possibilities of our own Grainline makes, and also sharing in what you make from the patterns. We're thinking... a slouchy bamboo jersey Linden top, a fresh and versatile lightweight indigo denim Alder dress and a quirky Japanese linen-cotton canvas Moss skirt. What will you make?