Christmas competition time! And we want to see your Christmas Displays! Whether its in your front room, down the pub, an independent shop, your school, a garden centre, village hall, Santa’s Grotto, your local church or department store. If you took part in creating the magic, send us your proudest pictures and you could win 20% off your next fabric order!
We will be choosing ten winners, YES 10! who will ALL receive 20% off their next fabric order with us. All you have to do is send us photos of your creative Christmas concepts. Send your pics by email firstname.lastname@example.org or on our Facebook messenger. Read on for more info…
As connoisseurs of all things shiny know, there is a big difference between something that shines and something that sparkles. If you are choosing Christmas sparkle fabric for your visual merchandising, displays or fashion design you have to ensure the vision is understood by everyone you are working with from the people sourcing the fabric to the people selling the fabric themselves! If you have aver been ever so slightly annoyed if someone says” oh I love your sparkly top” when you know full well its a more of a liquid flat shine then you may well appreciate this blog. Send it to anyone who needs to learn their twinkle from their shine.
OK, that may have sounded a bit pedantic but knowing the difference is important when describing a fabric to someone and when ordering online. Visual merchandisers, interior designers, set designers, artists and clothing designers should all know the differences, however subtle. When creating anything from scene or a garment you often need to describe your design to someone who wont quite see the difference in their mind, until they see the real thing. Maybe this blog will help.
Terms like sparkle or twinkle refer to materials that catch the light in a multitude of places. The size of the pieces and the direction they face determines the way light reacts with them. The smaller the pieces, the finer the sparkle, so it becomes more of a twinkle. When thousands of tiny facets that all face the same direction, they work together so the fabric can become more of a fluid shine. Whereas when light hits Glitter fabric the multitude of facets face different random directions, creating more of a sparkle to the fabric rather than a pure shine.
Instead of my in depth descriptions that wander on for miles, I have devised a bullet point guide and a points out of 10 guide to help out anyone choosing their sparkle fabric! This is applied to fabric we sell, but will also help with any shiny fabric you come across in life!
I have used terms such as ;
….to help with understanding the fabric. For a good example I would say Large Display Glitter Fabric has a 10/10 sparkle and the Fine Display Glitter has a 10/10 twinkle. So scroll scroll through and like a top trumps for fabric, compare the scores….
TV shows, stage, films, books, graphic novels and comics. If you want to follow in the footsteps of a famous witch (follow her look that is) then there is plenty of choice out there. Some looks are easier to achieve than others. Here are some of my favorite witches and their looks that can easily be replicated and easily recognised…..
Whilst looking for no sew tu tu skirts I discovered a huge array of wonderful witches outfits all bespoke and easy to make on your own. This style of witches outfit is a magical mix up of Gothic Halloween witch meets fairy tale princess. Full skirts are created by multi layers of sheer fabric like organza, cotton rubia and tulle in classic colours used in modern day Halloween ; green, orange, purple or red. There are so many You Tube videos online to help you, I picked three to guide you , click on to see more…
Fabric UK we have just received a massive delivery of top quality fire retardant upholstery fabric in loads of different styles at £9.99 PER METRE or less.
Most of these rolls would have originally been priced between £20 to £40 per metre but they all HAVE to go so we are pricing the fabric at £9.99 PER METRE! or less. If you have an upholstery or interior design business this is a great opportunity to pick up excellent quality upholstery fabric for curtains, cushions, sofas and armchairs. There are so many styles to see, you should come to our Birmingham warehouse and check it out for yourself!
Jacquard, chenille, velour, tapestry style, Aztec, look, traditional, plain and patterned, there are loads of styles to choose from.
Have a scroll down at some of the fabric ready and waiting in the warehouse.
When a customer called me yesterday from an infant school asking for relevant fabric for loose parts play, I have to say I was baffled. Loose parts play is not a phrase I’m familiar with, but when it was kindly explained, it all became clear. And very familiar.
In Touch With Reality
Loose parts play is a contemporary movement for children’s play that incorporates an age old truth. Children have incredible imaginations. They can and will incorporate anything that fascinates them into playtime. This is basically how I played growing up, its how all children played (back then). Yes I had toys, but I would involve all sorts of items I found around me when making up stories and scenarios.
The teacher in question needed many different samples of fabric with all sorts of different textures to cut up and include in small loose parts play and some larger weatherproof pieces for outside play. I explained we have thousands of fabrics and I would send lots of links to her for the most interesting and tactile options. She could then order lots of 50p samples and as out our sample are quite large at an average 5 to 9 inches square (or rectangle!) they could be cut up and shared among the children.
I wasn’t aware that there was an actual teaching method or movement to get children more interested in the physical world around them. I’ts good to know there is. With the lure of the screen taking over from such a young age, this teaching methodology is essential for stepping into the “real world”. The teaching of loose parts play has proven to ignite a creative spark even in children who were reluctant to get involved, at first. I’m glad to know there are are still kids who are still into everything around them, not just on a screen in front of them.
The teacher explained that in addition to the multitude of items used for loose parts play she needed “interesting fabric”. “So you mean unusual and tactile fabric” I said and began to describe the wealth of verities we have here at at Fabric UK. This was exactly what she needed. The fabric that initially triggered her interest for including it in loose parts play was Laminated Hessian, which she came across for another purpose. She quickly realised that a mixture of pieces of fabric with vastly varied textures would be a valuable addition to Loose Parts Play.
Learning Through Touch
Using fabric and materials to aid the integration of small children is a great way to ease the way into a world that probably seems quite scary at times. Imaging the constant shock and surprise of everything you touch around you! Teaching babies and toddlers the vast differences of the physical world helps them grow into their surrounding comfortably. It links the physical feeling to the questioning and creative part of the brain as they work out answers for themselves.
This need to work out what something is, how it works, and why it feels that way keeps going through through early toddler years, infant school to primary and on and on….
Keep Feeling Fascination
Fascination in unusual textures isn’t just a childhood throwback. For the average human, It is true that as we get older, the more that we learn, less is new to us. We absorb everything around us at a phenomenal rate and quickly become used to new textures and experiences. This is because we become used to the rate of change around us. For the creative mind though, the curiosity we have of the physical world around us keeps running full steam.
The inquisitive minds use the imagination they honed since childhood to to create new fabric through technology or ancient technique. The creative minds then use the fabric in incredible and imaginative ways for fashion, artwork, interior design and visual merchandising. Proving how integral it is to keep the spark of fascination alive throughout our whole life.
Its the desire to research, experiment, create and produce that keeps new things happening!
Most public events need to use fire retardant fabric by law. We stock a huge range of fabric which meets British fire safety standards. From standard necessities like marquee lining and synthetic fire retardant fabric and to decorative fabric like our fire retardant display lining in 26 colours! We have 47 different collections of fire retardant fabric. On top of that we hold a large range of leatherette vinyls which are also fire retardant. Here’s a list of the most popular fabrics for festivals and events, just click on the pics to take you to our website….
The sun is officially out, so we want to get out. Celebrations from gardens to fields, forests to village greens start popping up everywhere. And with that, comes the classic quintessential all rounder of decorations. Bunting. Whether your at the village fate, a woodland rave, a wedding reception, or a book fare bunting is the go to celebration decoration.
Read on for a bit of history and see how the simple idea of re using and recycling inspired two very different styles of decorating with bunting..
If you were lucky enough to be handed one of these handmade Mystery Cards cards by Myself at the Visual Merchandising and Display Show then you would have had chance to have a feel of the fabrics and ponder over their origins. Well, wonder no more. All the information you need to match up the fabric on the Mystery card is right here to scroll through. Each fabric has a little write up and if you want to buy, get samples or look at the colour choices, just click on the picture and it will magically take you to the website.
These 12 fabric samples are just the tip of the iceberg, a taster of what we have in store for you ( pun intended). Our Birmingham store is piled to the rafters with fabric, as well as our huge warehouse directly next door. We deal with a lot of bulk orders, so we think it’s better to have the rolls on hand and ready to go.
The 12 fabric samples I chose represent the diversity of fabric we have here. The Mystery Card is aimed at visual merchandising teams who work with varied fabrics. Each new job brings new ideas and new fabric to work with.
So, on with the introductions, get your cards out and match up the fabrics!
Stingray Look Textured Vinyl Leatherette in Red
All the look and feel of the smiley seawater creatures, without any harm coming to the stingrays (or humans) in the process. Our Stingray Textured Leatherette Vinyl is created to replicate the bobbled texture of it’s underbelly. The vinyl is available in 11 shades, 9 of which are printed to give a two tone effect. The vinyl is produced with a base colour and embossed to give a realistic look and feel of a stingray. A separate metallic shade is then layered over the top of the vinyl so it just catches on the top of the raised texture. This clever trich really brings out the 3D embossing and makes it stand out even more. You can see here in the image it has a deep orange/gold look. The base colour is in fact red and the top part is printed with gold so the shade is simply called Red. Click the pic to take you to the Stingray page….
Self Adhesive Felt in Royal Blue
Yes, this is the same stuff used for classic Fuzzy Felt fun, just on a much larger scale! We stock two types of felt, one classic non sticky variety and one with a very sticky backing. The backing itself is protected with thick waxed paper which you peel away when you are absolutely ready to stick it, and not before. I stress this point because the fabric really does its job well. It’s extremely sticky, so make sure you have everything decided and prepared before you go for the stick! There are 21 colours to choose from in the range, including some terrific brights like this Royal Blue. Prices start at £7.99 a metre and the felt is 145 cm in width. Click the pic to see more….
Neoprene in New Yellow
Neoprene is the sort of fabric that is so popular, it goes under the radar. There are so many uses for Neoprene its hard to keep count. This relatively modern fabric is mostly known for its use in outdoor water activities but there is more to this spongy fabric. There is probably Neoprene somewhere near you now in some form or another, to name a few uses, car seats, hospital braces, gym belts, mobile phone holders, baby bibs, changing mats, booties, toys, laptop bags, bags, shoes, fashionwear, and of course sportswear. The middle section of Neoprene boasts a thick foam created by jet infusing minute air bubbles into polyurethane. This produces a material that is designed to insulate and protect. Neoprene is not 100% waterproof as some believe. The fabric is water resistant to a high degree and can hold off water coming all the way through for some time. It is used more so for outdoor water sports because of its excellent ability to insulate against the cold water. Our Neoprene is available in 20 different colours including fluorescent shades and priced at £12.99 per metre. For more info we have a Neoprene blog to scroll through…or click the pic to Fabric UK.
High Gloss Glitter Vinyl in Teal
Cant decide between glitter or gloss? You don’t have to! We have a vinyl in store which is packed with fine glitter yet boasts a super smooth glossy surface. How? The vinyl leatherette is made with either a block colour glitter or a blend of two shades to give a two tone effect. Its then coated in a perfectly clear thick PU coating which creates a mirror like gloss finish. Utterly smooth to the touch. The colour in the picture below is Teal which uses green and blue glitter on a teal leatherette to create the finished look. Priced at £22.99 per metre and 140 cm wide, we have 11 colours for you to look at. Just click on the image to see the rest of the collection….
Polysilk Habotai in Cerise
The secret weapon of dressmakers, theatre costume designers and Film and TV set creators. Polysilk Habotai looks truly stunning and always gives an impression of opulence and decadence. The twist is, its just £3.99 a metre! The beautiful two tone qualities are produced using a shot method. Two different coloured yarns are used in the weave. This magically creates a multitude of shade variances which shine out of the fabric depending on light and movement. When choosing a shade make sure you get samples first. The multi shade qualities mean it can differ between our lighting and photography and your computer screens and reality. Either way, this lightweight polyester is sure to wow you. Click on the image below to see the other colours….
Techno Look in Metal Ripple
The Techno Look Collection consists of 10 different styles and patterns all in variations of metallic silver and black. All the variations are priced at £22.99 a metre and 140 cm in width. From metallic Prince of Wales check to mesh look, each pattern is embossed onto thick leatherette vinyl. The sample used in the mystery card is our Metal Ripple style of Techno Look. The pattern is deeply embossed to create a very tactile and visually pleasing leatherette, finished in a soft and subtle pewter silver. A click on the picture below will take you to the Metal Ripple page, but if you want to scroll through the others in the Techno Look range click here….
Large Display Glitter Fabric in Purple
Full on fabulous glitter! This large glitter fabric is the go to fabric if you want to get noticed. Used in visual merchandising and display, interior design for the home and for all sorts of shops and stores from ice cream parlours to beauticians. We keep a range of 14 exiting colours in store but it doesn’t stop there. We can create bespoke shades, holographic and iridescent mixes too. So if you need to match company colours or to fit a colour scheme just let us know. For bespoke orders a leadway way of about three weeks is needed from colour matching to delivery so if you have plans, get on the phone to us!
Fluorescent Neon Vinyl Leatherette in Green
We had been getting a lot of call for neon leatherette from some of our regular clients, so we put out a search for the best and brightest. Safe to say everyone was very pleased with the choice and the range is proving very popular indeed. This has been used in clubs and bars, safety features, festivals, golfing accessories, and sports displays. We have 4 ultra bright fluorescent colours to create a stunning designs to stop people in their tracks. Choose from pink, yellow, orange and green, priced at £24.99 a metre and 150 cm wide.
High Gloss Vinyl Leatherette in Stone
Our High Gloss Vinyl range consists of 11 bold shades, all with a mirror like shine. However 3 of these shades differ slightly. The chocolate , silver and stone shades all have a soft metallic look, which is still covered with the shiny gloss finish, as you can see in the image below. The stone shade is a smooth pale beige colour, perfect for neutral inspired designs.
Kiss Laminate in Red
Another relatively new collection, Kiss laminate appeared on our shelves about a year ago 15 stunning block colours,and 7 accompanying shades of white , cream and grey, soft silver and gold and jet black. For those who don’t know how this material works, there’s a surprise inside. You have to unpeel to reveal. Kiss Laminate es ultra glossy, but its hidden inside the double layers. When you receive a sample or a length of Kiss Laminate you have to first find a corner and carefully pull apart each side. This reveals a vivid block colour so glossy you can actually see yourself in. The material is thin enough to get creative with and strong enough to withstand use in displays indoor and out. Of course the PVC used to make this glossy fabric is entirely waterproof, so you can create designs for festivals and events that can be left in the rain. If this Kiss laminate has sparked any creative ideas, get In touch and tell us about it! We’ll send you out some FREE samples to get to grips with.
Coloured Hessian in Green
No only one of our oldest fabrics in store, but one of the oldest fabrics known to mankind. This may sound rather dramatic but it’s true. Hessian, sometimes known as Jute (or burlap if you are American) is truly an ancient fabric. Made from very strong fibres of the Jute plant it was first created to aid day to day farming. It’s strength made it invaluable for storing and moving crops. Then quickly became integrated into everyday life. Hessian is still used for farming and food producing around the world. However, this humble fabric is also recognised for its aesthetic rustic qualities and is now sold in huge quantities for festivals, weddings, events, interior design and crafting. We stock several kinds of Hessian for all sorts of uses. Traditional untreated, wide width, pelmet, stiffened, self adhesive, laminated and fire retardant. This grass green offering is from our Hessian Fabric Coloured Jute Cloth collection priced at £4.99 a metre at 150 cm wide. Click on to look at more colours or click here for the full Hessian list.
Fine Glitter Fabric in Iridescent White
Not to be confused with, pearlescent, two tone or holographic. Iridescence is caused when a particular part of the spectrum is refracted or absorbed by microstructures that interfere with light. The effect is created on a miniscule level, and this is the same for glitter. Some is created to recognise the pale areas of the spectrum, these use pale shades or a transparent base to start with like insect wings or shells. Others are created in dark green and purple deep iridescent tones like peacock feathers and beetles. This iridescent fine glitter display fabric catches shades of pale violet, coral, pink and mint green. The overall look is ethereal. The colours move and dance around the fabric as the light moves. A really sparkly spectacle.
So now the answers to the Mystery card have been unlocked! I hope some of these awesome fabrics have sparked ideas for your upcoming projects. Thanks to everyone who found the time to talk to me at the Visual Merchandising and Design Show. If there is any information you need, or advice on your next creation, Give Fabric UK a ring and ask for Kat or message me on Fabric UK Facebook.
What We Do To Help
We are open to the public if you ever want to have a wander in. If not, grab a coffee and cave a wander through or Fabric UK website. If you don’t have time to scroll but you need fabric, just give us a call. If you know exactly what you want or if you only have a vague idea, we can talk through your project and find the right fabric for you. We will send you samples just to be 100% sure it’s what you need. After you have decided, you can call us to make an order over the phone, online on the website, paypal or we can send you a pro former and you can pay via BACS.
Visual merchandising or display as we used to call it, is an essential part of retail life throughout the year. At Christmas though, the ante is upped. All the sparkle and shine that get saved up during the year is thrown into shop windows in gleeful explosions of brilliant creative design.
London of course is the place to head to for a Christmas spectacle. Each street is hung with a different theme of lights and decorations flowing into each other. With the lights above and the stunning shop windows below, you become completely surrounded by glitter, sparkle and twinkling lights. If your inner Christmas metre is a tad low, coming here simply to view the scene will surely push it up to 10. It worked on me!
I visited London to view the windows and displays inside the shops to see what fabrics were being used for visual merchandising and how. So a I started to mentally compile my list, I found myself adding windows that didn’t use fabric. But hey, I was hugely impressed by the creativity and this list goes out to all the hardworking creatives who produced the fantastic displays. From the original creators to the physical end build. Thank you for keeping our shop windows alive! Read on for my personal take of the festive windows as a Christmas window countdown. Starting with ……