Tactile Fabric For Loose Parts Play.

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 needed many , 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.

Garden Mesh
Quilted Waterproof
Faux Fur
Laminated Hessian

Tactile Teaching

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.

Glossy Kiss Laminate
Rough Sparkly Glitter

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.

Dior 2020 Pleats. Both visually stunning and pleasingly tactile.

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!


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Festival Fire Retardant Fabric

Fabric Safety Standards

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….

Create stunning designs with fire retardant display fabric
Continue reading “Festival Fire Retardant Fabric”

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Upcycle Bunting ; Two Looks One Inspiration

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..

Read more

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The Fabric UK Mystery Card

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.

The Fabric UK Mystery Card!

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….

Stingray Textured Leatherette Vinyl in Red

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.

Mystery Solved

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.

Thanks for scrolling.

Kat- Fabric UK


Telephone – 01213592349
https://www.facebook.com/FabricUK/


For help and advice please call us on Tel: 0121 359 2349

London Windows 2018 : A Christmas Concept Countdown

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.

John Lewis Step into Christmas  window 2018

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!

Covent garden giant christmas display

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 ……

Continue reading “London Windows 2018 : A Christmas Concept Countdown”

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Present Wrapping With Fabric : Furoshiki For Our Future

OK I’m sure we can all agree the rows and rows of shining wrapping paper that greet us invitingly in shops each Christmas looks beautiful. Choosing from the multitude of designs can take longer than choosing a present! Glitter adorned, metallic or matt. Classic or contemporary.  Wrapping is serious business. The money made from these pretty pieces of paper alone is huge. Let alone the abundance of gifts swept from the shelves into our baskets.

rainbow organza Furoshiki wrap

As great as it looks, buying new wrapping paper every year just to throw it instantly away isn’t very good for our pockets.  It will surely take an age for people to change their minds about paper wrapping paper. But until then, here’s you chance to get creative and make your gift really stand out. Time to look back into history for a bit of forward thinking….

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Fleece and Sherpa : Double Sided For Double the Comfort

Sherpa and Fleece are the perfect duo for keeping snug and warm this winter.  Thick Sherpa fleece make an ideal lining for jackets and coats. Fleece feels soft to the touch.  These two are used so often together for top layer and lining it made sense to merge them as one fabric, so we did! Fabric UK present to you,  Double Sided Bonded Sherpa Fleece….

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Waterproof Curtains : Splash Proof With a Splash of Colour!

Curtains, we all need them at some point. Decorative and functional, you can set the key look of a room with the right style. Or if you are not fussed to much about decor, simply use them to keep a draft at bay or to keep light out. But what if you need to keep water out? Well, waterproof curtains are the answer. Of course we are familiar with shower curtains, but there are many other situations where you may need a bit of splash proofing and our 4oz waterproof fabric is just the job…..

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Poppy Appeal : Make Your Own Remembrance Poppy

Make Then Donate

It’s that time of year when the little red flowers start to pop up on winter coat lapels all over the country. Poppies can be found on shop counters and British Legion charity helpers on the streets. You can still get the traditional paper made poppies or the newer enamelled broaches to show your support for remembrance day. Why not make your own though?

 

The classic red and black poppy is such a traditional symbol of that you could make your own and it would still be clear that you are giving support to the Appeal. You can still donate in charity boxes or even online, whilst wearing your own  poppy with a bit more visual appeal.

What Colour And Why

Red is the most well known commemorative poppy colour, chosen because of the millions of red poppies which covered Flanders Fields where so many bodies lay. There are also white poppies available and purple poppies too, with different meanings. There is no reason at all why you cant wear all three poppies together. Some people like me, may have had family members fight in wars but also support the idea of peace, no guns no bombs at all.   Here’s one I made earlier using red and white fabric. You could add a purple layer too for the animals.

Red-Support and Remembrance for British Armed Forces members who fought and died. 

White –To support ALL victims of ALL wars and to promote peace rather than armed fighting.

Purple-To commemorate and support animals who have died and are suffering because of war. Including financial support for retired Cavalry Horses.

Poppy Shape and Size

You can create your poppy in various shapes from the simplistic shape of the classic paper poppies to a multi petal layered kind. I followed a few different templates online that I printed out . But feel free to get creative with your poppies. Go big or even huge if you want. Make poppies to go on cars, front doors, walls and even trees like in Birmingham centre. For little touches, you can turn your poppies into hair clips, earrings , facinators, even rings.  

What Kind Of Fabric? 

The best kind of fabric to go for is something a bit stiffer and more heavyweight. This will ensure thew petals will stay upright and in shape. Here are some examples I created to give you an idea what fabrics you could use. 

Fine Glitter Fabric Poppy

Felt Fabric Poppy

Glitter Gloss Poppy

Large Glitter Poppy

Poppy Production

Once you have cut out all the parts of your poppy you can glue these together using fabric glue, PVA glue or a little stronger. Do not use super glue! it will make the fabric brittle, plus it’s just too unpredictable. Have you ever stuck you fingers together, it’s not pleasant. 

You can buy blank hair clips, key-rings, and hairbands to transform your poppies into wearable accessories. Stick on Velcro will be useful too. Stick your larger poppies to walls, bags and even jumpers!


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Halloween Glitter Fabric Cat Eyes

 I made this sparkly pair of eyes using our green large glitter fabric and gold and black fine glitter fabric. You can use any colour combination you want! For a step by step photo guide how to make these glitter eyes, click on and scroll down, or click on the 1st image and click right for FULL size pictures!

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For help and advice please call us on Tel: 0121 359 2349