Monthly Archives: March 2017

  • 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!

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  • 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