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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….

Ray-Stitch_Leaflet_180x90mm_HiRes

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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oilcloth

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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ni rainbow ball 3

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ni fu ball 2

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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barkcloth

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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crescent stack

onion stack

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Meet Christine Haynes at Ray Stitch

May 29th, 2014

INVITE

Grace Kelly Summer

May 8th, 2014

V9000

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.

v8789-2………

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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….

birchknits

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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Issue 21 of Uppercase magazine now in stock….

April 7th, 2014

UPPERCASEissue21cover

“Dear Readers,

You’ve likely heard the famous statement “ornament is crime” and another well-known saying that “form follows function.” Well, in this issue of UPPERCASE, we respectfully disagree! If an object plays with form, function and ornamentation . . . so much the better! When it comes to decorated surfaces, more is definitely more—especially for folks who derive their livelihood from creating patterns for such things as fabric, stationery and interior decor. Our special Surface Pattern Design Guide profiles 100 artists who work at making our world a prettier place through their art. The Guide also features tips and advice from industry experts representing companies such as SURTEX, Liberty Art Fabrics, Cloud9 Fabrics, Spoonflower and teNeues Publishing. The creators of popular blogs Print & Pattern and Sew Mama Sew offer their insights. Lotta Jansdotter—one of Janine’s personal heroines—shares her tips on living a life full of pattern.

Janine x”

Leah Duncan – Meadow

March 29th, 2014

We are big fans of surface pattern designer and illustrator Leah Duncan. Although we’re quite clearly a fabric shop, we couldn’t resist adding her printed calendars and cards to our stock a couple of years ago – good news for us then when she transferred her designs to fabric and brought out two collections for Art Gallery Fabrics.

Leah’s skills as an illustrator are easily matched by her amazing use of colour. Meadow, her newest collection, is exactly what we’re ready for here, what could be more inspiring and uplifting than her spring-like nature motifs brought to life with a clever mix of vivid and delicate colours. We love it!!

Her work is inspired by her southern and Native American roots and her love of folk art, “leah creates a world where quirky meets beautiful, folk meets modern, and feminine meets delicate” Read more about her on her site here and take a look below at the lovely projects showcasing her prints (not made by us sadly – we wish!)

The full collection of Meadow can be found here….leah duncan meadow

Invitation to an exciting collaborative event at Ray Stitch…..

March 17th, 2014

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We’d be delighted if you’d pencil Monday, 14th April 2014 into your diaries for a reception hosted jointly by ourselves and Les Soeurs Anglaises at our London shop.

The event will highlight the upcoming spring/summer classes here at our Sewing School and will also be an opportunity to meet  Les Soeurs Anglaises! – “The ultimate in textile workshop escapes, based in a stunning location, with superb accommodation, exceptional food and wine as well as expert teaching that allows you to learn at your own pace.” Read more about the delightful venue and workshops here…

Several of Les Soeurs Anglaises‘ artist/crafter workshop leaders for this year’s summer programme will be bringing along examples of their work and greeting guests throughout the day.  Please note that numbers are limited for this event and by invitation only; so if you’re able to join us for breakfast, afternoon tea or an evening glass of wine, contact us as soon as possible at info@raystitch.co.uk with your address details and we’ll make sure you receive a personal invite in the post.

The reception will also provide an opportunity for Ray Stitch and Les Soeurs Anglaises to announce the exciting collaboration they are planning for 2015 – Ray Stitch allez en France!

We are offering a 10% discount to invitees on everything in the shop and Les Soeurs Anglaises will offer further discounts on their workshops if you confirm in interest in joining one. It promises to be a fun day – don’t miss it….

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The New Girl at By Hand London

March 7th, 2014

Ever stylish and fresh – the By Hand London girls have come up with the goods again. The new Flora Dress pattern is fab in a glam but wearable way, it’s a party dress you could wear to work!

Fundamentally feminine and universally flattering with her cinched in waist and voluminous pleated circle skirt (dipped or straight hem options), Flora is the definitive party dress.

Choose from two entirely different bodice variations: a classic sleeveless faux-wrap style, or the more demure tank bodice with her high square neckline and simple shoulder straps.”

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We love it of course and we’ve actually been expecting it’s release for a while. The girls asked us to provide the fabric for some of their pattern testing bloggers. Take a look at Emily’s lovely version in our Liberty Tana Lawn on her blog – Me and My Polar Bear….

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….and at Kathryn’s version, also in our Liberty Tana Lawn on her ‘yes i like that’ blog here…

Great fabric choices girls!

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Organic Canvas Prints

March 4th, 2014

It’s official, the sun has peaked through and we can declare that spring has sprung. You know what that means – time to dig out those projects that put some light back in our lives. We’re awash with some beautiful new organic canvas prints in the shop, and the question we keep asking ourselves is, which one are we going to use first? It’s almost impossible to pick a favourite – which one takes your fancy and what’s first on your spring to-do list?

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A Stitch In Time

February 21st, 2014

Yesterday we had the pleasure of seeing two very special quilts. These two beauties have been in the making for the last 30 years and are made using the paper piecing method. All the fabrics are from Liberty, some you can recognise as prints they are still selling, others you wish they still were! The darker quilt is made using Liberty wool, which is lovely and fine. Aren’t the colours beautiful, just like an autumn walk.

The workmanship is incredible and instantly made me want to turn all my tiny scraps at home into something similar! Maggie came in to get help from our tutor Michael on how to turn these patchwork tops into quilts. They decided to hand quilt the pieces, so she’s gone off with all her layers sandwiched and a big task ahead of her!

If you have a special project you need help with, whether it be pattern cutting, quilting, or an unfinished project that’s gone wrong you can have a 1-2-1 session with any of our tutors. Email school@raystitch.co.uk for availability.

Maggie picked this Liberty print designed by Jamie Oliver for the back of the hexagon quilt, definitely not one that was available 30 years ago! Here are some close ups…

London Fashion Week: Quilting Hits The Catwalk!

February 18th, 2014

Quilting is officially on trend but have you ever thought about making yourself a quilted dress?! This years London Fashion Week might just inspire us to do so. Designers Alice Temperley and Roksanda Ilincic have come up with some really beautiful collections with a big nod to the revival of skilled craftsmanship.

Jessica Stockholder and Mel Bochner are ‘Roksanda Ilincic’ both designers are known for their emphatic use of color and this is made apparent by the newest Autumn/Winter collection. The range sees a variety of different sewing techniques put together to create a cocophany of texture and colour. Just like  Jane Brocket teaches on her ‘Quilt Me’ course at Ray Stitch, it’s all about the diverse mix!

Roksanda Ilincic A/W15 at London Fashion Week

Roksanda Ilincic A/W 15 at London Fashion Week

Roksanda Ilincic A/W 15 at London Fashio Week

Roksanda Ilincic A/W 15 at London Fashio Week

Next up we have Alice Temperly’s wonderfully graphic collection which draws inspiration from Art Nouveau and Byzantine mozaic patterns. Temperly has used a fine, micro quilting technique on her evening wear, which contrasts beautifully with her embroidered organza dresses and blanket sized scarves.

Temperly London A/W 14 at London Fashion Week

Temperley London A/W 15 at London Fashion Week

Temperley London A/W 15 at London Fashion Week

Temperley London A/W 15 at London Fashion Week

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