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Christmas!

December 18th, 2014

christmas window

Premax Scissors

December 4th, 2014

Lovely, lovely. lovely professional Italian steel scissors from Premax…

Who wouldn’t love to find a set under the Christmas Tree?!!

Take a look at the full range here

xmas soft touch set

xmas steel set

Heather Lins Stitch Kits

November 4th, 2014

Ray Stitch are now stocking the fabulous Heather Lins Cross Stitch Kits!! These original Calendar Kits make the perfect stocking filler and are suitable for all ages! So…… why not get crafty with the kids, grandkids – or no kids – this Christmas and make your very own unique 2015 calendar!!

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The Year in Stitches Kit has a different arrangement each month which you embroider with the gorgeous red thread provided. However, you could add an individual twist by changing the colours monthly! Our embroidery threads are 30p each in store, or £5.80 for a bundle online, so why not have fun and play with colour!!

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Stitch the Stars Kit is beautifully screen printed with GLOW IN THE DARK ink and each month corresponds with the Zodiac constellation! It also comes with glow in the dark thread, so you can even admire your handy work with the lights off!

Available in-store and online.

I Need to Fix the Holes in my Heels, Elbows, Pockets and Knees: Darning and Mending Workshop with Celia Pym..

October 18th, 2014

Away with the summer clothes, it’s time to reunite with the winter wardrobe. It’s really quite fun getting the woollies out but a little bit sad to encounter them if they’ve been prey to the dreaded moth or sitting in the mending pile all summer.

Fear not, Celia Pym can help. Celia’s not afraid of holes, in fact she embraces them. Celia is an artist and teacher who works with knitting and textiles and we’re delighted to have her running a Darning and Mending workshop here at Ray Stitch in November.  “Darning is filling in holes and joining edges together. Sometimes darning can be tender and tenderness is important. Darning helps you understand the thing you are mending. If you darn a hole in an opposite colour to the original textile, you can see clearly what got worn away. Darning highlights that something has changed and that time has passed.”

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Darning and Mending Workshop. 2 Sessions – Tuesdays 18th/25th November. 6.30pm. £60

“I like seeing how something is made, how it works.
Darning is filling in holes and joining edges together.
Sometimes darning can be tender and tenderness is important.
Darning helps you understand the thing you are mending.
If you darn a hole in an opposite colour to the original textile, you can see clearly what got worn away. Darning highlights that something has changed and that time has passed.”

Read more about Celia’s previous and upcoming work here - celiapym.com (I love the title of this workshop! – What do I have to do to make it ok?) And read here about a fascinating collaboration with Kings College as ‘mender in residence’ in the college’s Dissecting Room.

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Image Courstesy of Annemor Sundbo’s Ragpile

McCalls 6696 Shirt Dress

October 9th, 2014

We have fallen in love with the McCalls 6696 Shirt Dress and thanks to the amazingly talented Sew Dixie Lou we can all learn how to make one ourselves!!

Clare Szabo, maker/blogger extraordinaire and founder of Sew Dixie Lou has been sewing since birth (!!) She is a master at dressmaking and created this stunning version of the 6696-

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Made to perfection, this classic dress looks gorgeous in the Japanese yarn dyed tuft weave fabric! It is such a versatile pattern and one of Clare’s personal favourites….. she’s made it three times, and each one is effortlessly stylish and unique! Unfortunately this does make choosing your fabric trickier, as it looks great in everything! But I personally love the chic Essex Linen option below.

Clare

But who wouldn’t WANT this rockabilly style in their wardrobe as well……..

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Whether you choose a slinky Liberty Lawn or a weightier Organic Cotton Crossweave come and join the class and create your own unique frock fit for any occasion!! Book your place here and get ready for the party season early!!

Block of the Month

October 6th, 2014

Our new Block of the Month classes start this week. Beginning this Friday, we’ll be running a monthly workshop in which you can learn two new blocks. As a beginner you’ll learn the basics of piecing from scratch under the tutelage of our expert teacher Michael (President of the London Modern Quilt Guild no less!) or as someone with experience you’ll have the opportunity to extend your knowledge of the many, many different ways to piece together fabric. Either way, you’ll have fun experimenting with different fabric and colour combinations.

The block classes run from October until March (how better to spend the chilly months?) and there are 12 different blocks in all. You can do all or some of the classes but if you manage to put 12 different blocks together by next spring you can incorporate them into a unique sampler quilt. See below for the plan…..

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BlockoftheMonth

THREAD….a festival of Textiles!

September 24th, 2014

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We are busy preparing for Thread this week – it’s a new show for us and we’re excited at the prospect of visting Surrey and seeing inside the beautiful Farnham Maltings.

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Taking place on Friday 26th Sept 12pm-6pm and Saturday 27th Sept 10am- 5pm in lovely Farnham, Thread will appeal to all creatives. You can browse the many stalls and add to your stash or be inspired by fellow crafters and get stuck in to one of the many workshops. Our fabulous tutor Gen is teaching this lined zip pouch workshop on Saturday at 11am.

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There are talks,, book signings and lots of exhibitors selling fabrics, haberdashery and handcrafted textiles, so clear the diary and come and say hello!

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‘Thread’ Tickets £5 in advance or £7.50 on the door.

Our Remnant Day is nearly here!

September 18th, 2014

All the Ray Stitchers are busy, busy, busy! Sorting through piles of vintage patterns, hundreds and hundreds of lovely old buttons,  fascinating bits of haberdashery and literally MOUNTAINS of gorgeous fabric. There’ll be plenty of Ray Stitch stock reduced on sale day but this sale is mostly about the amazing collection of one-off dressmaking pieces we have collected and must now let go.

Most of the fabrics were cut 20 -30 years ago as ‘dress lengths’ or ’suit lengths’ but never used for their purpose and stashed away by lifelong sewers who sadly never got round to making up those wished for garments. Far from being old and musty, the pieces have been kept beautifully – most of them wrapped and labelled – there are beautiful quality silks, wools, brocades, chiffon, crepe de chine, Liberty prints – some with their 1980’s sales tickets on!

Please come down if you can. This really is a one-off sale and – much as we would love to – Ray Stitch will never be able to offer this variety of fabrics and vintage patterns again….

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SEWING SCHOOL STORIES – MEET DALLAS.

September 9th, 2014

Dallas Shirt 2

Dallas came to Ray Stitch a few months ago to ignite a lost passion for sewing. And ignite she did, Dallas took to dressmaking like a duck to water!

Her mother was a skilled seamstress, making all her children’s clothes by hand. Growing up in the countryside in Australia is a far cry from London today…’they were no shops, and you didn’t have the money to buy clothes’. And although handy with a needle when fixing hems, Dallas, in her own words, was ‘hopeless with a machine’.

So, three years ago she ventured to John Lewis and treated herself to a new electronic sewing machine. At home and out of the box, her shiny new toy was a mystery! Unable to thread the thing or follow the instructions, she packed it away in a cupboard and it stayed there for 3 years.

Roll on 2014, and thanks to a mention in the Sunday Times, Dallas was introduced to Ray Stitch for the first time.

She signed up for our 6-week Introduction to Machine Sewing where she started from scratch and built up her skills working towards her final project – this beautiful holdall bag! She chose her materials carefully, lining the bag with a gorgeous contrasting canvas and meticulously edging it with bias covered piping cord. Clearly Dallas is a natural at sewing and also at the equally crucial skill of putting her look together.

Gorgeous Lining Dallas!

Immediately following on by booking herself onto the 6 week Dressmaking Course, Dallas spent the next few weeks mastering many new techniques and has ‘added a new dimension’ to her life.

She successfully completed all three of the course projects – we were mightily impressed with her dedication and her impeccable taste when choosing her fabrics made us all very jealous of her stylish creations. After the course she subsequently set about to make a tailored shirt, she was determined to make a copy of a favourite shirt but says that in it she met her nemesis. No matter, she came along to a couple of Freestyle Sessions and tackled it alongside our Gen who demystified some tricky techniques so that Dallas was then able to go on and produce several versions of it.

Dallas Shirt

I asked Dallas what the best thing about sewing was and I couldn’t put it better myself…..

‘Sewing has a beginning, a middle and an end, and every step along the way has a purpose. So many of us work in stressful jobs or manage life’s multiple challenges and some days you just never reach those targets, goals or deadlines. But with sewing you produce something tangible, something useful and something pretty’.

‘The sound of a sewing machine can be incredible therapeutic, nostalgic even. You have to put aside time for projects, and look forward to it. I haven’t had as much fun in the past twenty years as I have while sewing’.

At 67 and still working as a Health System Analyst, Dallas is a true inspiration to all of us. You are never too young or too old to find your passion in life. So after one of those STRESSFUL days, set aside time to polish off the machine and absorb yourself in the soothing art of creativity!

Post written by Lisa.


Save the Date – Remnant Day September 20th

August 20th, 2014

All the Ray Stitchers are busy, busy, busy! Sorting through piles of vintage patterns, hundreds and hundreds of lovely old buttons,  fascinating bits of haberdashery and literally MOUNTAINS of gorgeous fabric. There’ll be plenty of Ray Stitch stock reduced on sale day but this sale is mostly about the amazing collection of one-off dressmaking pieces we have collected and must now let go.

These are vintage fabrics in that most of them were cut 20 or 30 years ago as ‘dress lengths’ or ’suit lengths’ but never used for their purpose and stashed away by lifelong sewers who sadly never got round to making up those wished for garments. Far from being old and musty, the pieces have been kept beautifully – most of them wrapped and labelled – there are beautiful quality silks, wools, brocades, chiffon, crepe de chine, Liberty prints – some with their 1980’s sales tickets on!

Please come down if you can. This really is a one-off sale and – much as we would love to – Ray Stitch will never be able to offer this variety of fabrics and vintage patterns again….

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What Katy Did at Ray Stitch……

August 12th, 2014

Our Summer School sessions are underway and one of our most popular regular classes – Pattern Cutting – ran as a 3 day intensive workshop last week. We were really pleased when the very lovely Katie Marcus – enviably stylish author of (officially!) two of London’s best blogsWhatKatieDoes and WhatKatieSews – accepted our invitation to take part and review the class.

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We’ve seen lots of Katie’s makes on her sewing blog and, although she’s modest about her skills, she’s certainly been busy sewing up a wardrobe and we think she’s pretty good. However, like many sewers who sometimes find the ‘one shape fits all’ aspect of commercial patterns frustrating, she felt it might be time to create her very own blocks.  Pattern cutting of course is all about measuring  and replicating your particular shape and ensuring that clothing fits – exactly.

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The certainty of the measuring and the mathematical calculations made in class, as well as the ability to look at other people’s shapes and see how diverse we all are gives sewers invaluable knowledge about their own body shape.  Discussing the many ways in which a block can be adapted will also give the confidence to design your own garments or even to go back to commercial patterns and adapt them to fit perfectly. As with the learning of any new skill though, there is a degree of mental strain involved, that’s why it’s such a good idea to have a knowledgeable and experienced teacher like our very own Alice Prier to diffuse and demystify the complex information. The outcome far outweighs the small amount of strife that gets you there, hopefully Katie agrees with us on that one…

Read Katie’s full story here on What Katy Sews…..

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Uppercase – Issue 22

August 3rd, 2014

“Whether a subtle shade or vibrant value, colour is the jumping-off point for creative exploration and personal expression. Colour offers endless inspiration… and as designers, illustrators, artists and craftspeople, we all share this passion for pigment….”

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Printed Oilcloth

July 31st, 2014

We’ve already been busy with our new oilcloth – here’s Rosie off to Bestival last week with her quick and easy drawstring rucksack.

And you can never have too many waterproof beach bags…we’ve already made 4!

These are from the Japanese Kokka range, with vibrant prints from Echino and more delicate prints and colours from Ellen Lucket Baker’s ‘Garden’ collection. Printed onto a cotton/linen canvas which is then laminated, the texture is nicely waxy and drapey and perfect for bags or pouches but equally suitable for table coverings or anything else where a wipe clean surface is required….

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One-hundred-and-one summer dresses….

June 29th, 2014

Have you taken a look at our pattern section lately? It’s heaving…!

We’ve managed to squeeze patterns into every nook and cranny of the shop since our cafe closed, and now – finally – we have them all on the site.

There’s a great selection of Simplicity, Burda and New Look seasonal styles to choose from – something for everyone. So have a look through and turn your fabric stash into some exciting summer outfits….

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New Nani Iro prints and what you might want to do with them…..!

June 21st, 2014

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New Arrivals From Japan…

June 5th, 2014

The first instalment of our long-awaited delivery from Japan has arrived!

As you can imagine, there’s much excitement in the shop – move over wintry plains and make way for colour and pattern – BIG TIME!

Look at these beautiful LAVA prints on Barkcloth – not actually made with bark as it originally was but with the same slubby weave, very reminiscent of 1950’s curtains with those amazing kitschy prints.

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And this lightweight linen canvas with fantastic vibrant graphic prints….so good in so many ways!

Have a browse and watch this space for more Japenese fabrics arriving very soon….

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Meet Christine Haynes at Ray Stitch

May 29th, 2014

INVITE

Grace Kelly Summer

May 8th, 2014

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As one of the world’s most stylish women, it’s no surprise that the actress-turned-princess Grace Kelly is such a revered style icon and that so many attempt to emulate her very elegant look.

To celebrate the release of new biopic Grace Of Monaco starring Nicole Kidman, we have fully restocked and updated our Vogue Vintage Patterns collection allowing you to do that very thing. Predicting that this will be a summer of elegant ladies striding out in bold colours and big skirts, we urge you to try your hand at one of these amazing Vogue Reproduction patterns. Don’t be afraid, they look high couture but they’re really quite straightforward to make.
And if you need an encouraging hand, our Sewing School is also running a special course where you can make your own Grace dress! We’ve chosen the V8789 because it’s a lovely classic, simply constructed with two flattering neckline options. We also think it would look amazing in a bold cotton print (Leah Duncan’s Meadow?) or a pretty Liberty Lawn… Our very experienced teacher Luisa will be taking the class and guiding you through the process, the class runs over four weeks so you’ll have plenty of time to make a beautifully finished, glamorous gown and when you’ve created it, you can hit the town knowing you look good enough for your close up….

Click here to book the class… 4 Friday Evening Sessions, Beginning June 20th, 6.30 – 9.30pm. £155 (includes pattern and all sundry materials)

Or call the shop – 020 7704 1060.

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The Elks Are Back!

May 7th, 2014

Hurrah!

They came and went in a flash and when we reordered, they’d been so popular WORLDWIDE they’d gone out of print. But here they are again, Elk Grove Knits from Birch Organic Fabrics. We’re delighted to have nearly all of them back in stock but hurry, they might disappear again….

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100% Linen

May 1st, 2014

Hello to our new range of 100% linen dressmaking fabric!

Available in 18 beautiful colours (so hard to choose!), very soft, very drapey and perfect for summer makes.

Works particularly well with simple, shift style dresses and tops, loose trousers and unstructured skirts. Try any of the Merchant and Mills patterns, Colette Laurel or Zinna, or the Lisette Shirt Dress…..

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