Posh Oilcloth – Who Knew (and why didn’t you tell me)?

I was recently on a quest to see if I could buy 20 metres of oilcloth fabric for a ridiculously cheap price as I need to cover 10 x 2 metre length tables for a charity event and didn’t want to use paper cloths.   Being in France, where the oilcloth tablecloth is king  I have plenty of choice.  However, none of it is cheap enough for me to buy 20 metres of it.   However, when I was searching the internet for the elusive 2 euro per metre repellent (in a good way) stuff, I came across this

liberty oilcloth 2]

looks a bit like Liberty

and this

liberty oilcloth 1

I’m sure that’s a Liberty design

and this

liberty oilcloth3

Liberty of London make oilcloth fabric?  Why was I not informed?

 Obviously not for the fundraiser, but I was suddenly determined to have 2 metres for my summer dining room (which is what I, rather grandly, call my conservatory – a room full of  hibernating plants and hopeful cats during the winter months).

It must be easy to get in the U.K., I thought, considering Liberty of London is there but no mention of it on their site and nowhere to be found in any of the U.K. shops or none that I could find.

The only place I can find it is here in France and it is 34 euros a metre!!  So my tablecloth would be 74 euros (after shipping) which is nearing 100 U.S. dollars (I’m kind and did the calculation for you so that you could join in my shock).  What happens?  Does somebody in France buy up tana lawn and render it plasticised in some underground factory?  Does Liberty of London know?  Why don’t they sell it themselves?

For the moment at least, my own table will be covered with this which was 6.99 euros a metre.


On the sewing front, I decided to do a pattern hack of  Deer and Doe’s Reglisse dress pattern to make a blouse and, such is the charm of  The Little Tailoress on her blog and in her tutorials, I decided to do it without even owning a copy of the pattern in the first place.  Anyway, pattern ordered (hooray, they are French and, a rarity for sure, the shipping within France was free – other French companies please take note!), I decided that, as I like the dress too, I would do a toile to make sure my selected size fits and then I’d make both blouse and dress.  On my quest to find cheap oilcloth, I went to my local market and although they didn’t have anything suitable of the oiled variety,  I did find a stall selling all things middle eastern, lamps and dried beans and spices and….. fabric.  Some of it looked okay and so I asked the price.  It was 1 euro a metre.  Now, I don’t know how many people are working for barely anything in a  factory somewhere producing this stuff and I could probably contribute a fair amount to the National Grid judging by the amount of crackling electricity I generate each time I move but, you have to admit, it is hard to resist such a bargain. (In my defence, this pattern takes a lot of  fabric as the bodice section is cut on the bias and that collar/pussy bow combo is fabric thirsty too).  So, I made the toile, it is the right size and I like the shape and I will make it in some Liberty tana lawn (if I can forgive them for their secret stash of oilcloth) but this toile is wearable and Mlle Tialys the younger has bagged it as the fabric has an oriental (as well as electric) feel to it which she likes.  She won’t model, so here it is on one of my lovely vintage Stockman mannequins.

Toile for Reglisse Hack

Here is some more 1 euro fabric which, as you can see, I couldn’t just leave there.  These feel like a poly cotton and are missing the frisson of static.  The purple one is for my sewing buddy who loves all things purple.  The navy one with slightly deformed spots would make a good dress for me.

Bargain Fabric

Speaking of my sewing buddy, even though she has been sewing her own clothes for years,  I had to show her how easy it is to sew with knits the other day.  Lots of people seem to be wary of  knit fabrics but it is actually very easy and there is no fraying and usually no need for zips, buttons or other fiddly bits and pieces.  I took a piece of spotty interlock jersey fabric round to her house – cunningly already cut in the shape of a Coco top – and made her sew up the seams on her overlocker.  Then I bought it home to do the hems and, voila, a top that reminds me so much of  Minnie Mouse I will probably never be able to wear it and so will offer it to one of the Madamoiselles.

Coco Top Minnie Mouse Style

 Back to the fund raising event and the 1 euro fabric.  I am thinking that I might, at that price, buy 20 metres of it to cover the tables.  He might even give me a discount!

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  1. #1 by katechiconi on May 23, 2014 - 16:01

    Well, someone else has been busy too! I must confess, I avoid knit fabrics, mainly because I don’t own an overlocker – yet! Also, they can be a bit sweaty in this climate. That’s a very pretty blouse pattern. I suspect that the oilcloth isn’t genuine Liberty – the first one’s a little too oriental, and the second is too washed out. But respectable rip-offs, I grant you.

  2. #2 by tialys on May 23, 2014 - 16:16

    You don’t need an overlocker for knit fabrics – most sewing machines have special stitches for knits. As for the climate – You wear t-shirts in Australia don’t you?
    I am pretty sure these are genuine Liberty of London patterns – one of them is called ‘Betsy’. In France, there are a lot of designs referred to as ‘Liberty’ when they just mean ‘in the style of Liberty of London’. However, the store selling the oilcloth appears very reputable and has actually used the words ‘Liberty of London’ so I’d be surprised if they were rip-offs – expensive rip-offs if they are!

  3. #3 by Jan Marriott on May 23, 2014 - 19:59

    The oilcloth must be a Liberty knockoff, but the first one sure is a Liberty print ‘cos I have a blouse in that ( see tomorrows blog)

    I remember seeing some ridiculously cheap oil cloth with ‘toile’ designs years ago in Cost Rica, where they also love oiled cloth. I still regret not buying.
    Navy and white looks good enough, it can never look THAT bad

    • #4 by tialys on May 23, 2014 - 20:21

      I know that second one definitely is too. It’s called ‘Betsy’. How can it be a knock off though, if it is so expensive, sold on a reputable site and actually use the whole name ‘Liberty of London’? I’m used to the French calling certain fabric ‘Liberty’ – if it looks ‘Libertyish’ – but they don’t usually put ‘of London’ on the end of it unless it’s true. Perhaps I ought to contact Liberty and ask them about the oilcloth.

  4. #5 by lovelucie1 on May 24, 2014 - 08:56

    Sew busy! Had you thought about making your own vinyl covered fabric? http://www.barnyarns.co.uk/heatnbond-iron-on-vinyl-gloss-17-x-2yd-pack.html

  5. #6 by tialys on May 24, 2014 - 14:01

    Ooh! Thanks for that Lucie. I do have quite a bit of Liberty of London yardage that I nabbed in a sale once so that would be a lot more cost effective if I wanted a cloth for my conservatory table. Have you ever used this product – or know anybody who has used it successfully?

  6. #7 by tialys on May 24, 2014 - 14:38

    Mind you, just looked at the price and it wouldn’t be much less to do than buying the ready made stuff in the first place!

  7. #8 by Ami on December 7, 2014 - 01:06

    Oooo I love the Minnie Mouse coco top and your Reglisse blouse- that fabric was SUCH a bargain! The top Liberty is called Mitsi! What may have happened is that a manufacturer has paid Liberty for the rights to use their design. Topshop did a run of Liberty print dresses a few years ago but they had the license to print the design on their own fabric (which was not very nice cotton). I have roll of that DIY vinyl stuff but I haven’t tried it yet- will let you know how it goes when I do 🙂

  8. #9 by Fred the Needle on November 6, 2015 - 12:57

    I love liberty – those are beautiful designs. hope the fundraiser went well

    • #10 by tialys on November 6, 2015 - 13:10

      It did, thank-you, we raised enough for quite a few castrations. (You’ll be pleased to know it was in aid of the dog and cat refuge ;))

      • #11 by Fred the Needle on November 6, 2015 - 13:39

        oh! lol I was a bit shocked! glad to see it is for dogs and cats.. just got my own little rescue dog a few months ago. Bless him.

      • #12 by tialys on November 6, 2015 - 14:01

        Well done you! I see, from your ‘About’ page that you live in West Sussex which is where we lived before we moved to France – Balcombe to be exact, I’m sure you probably know it. We also had a dog called Gus, although a border collie not a staffie. He was named after the imaginary mouse friend I had when I was little who, in turn, was named after the mouse in the Disney Cinderella film.

      • #13 by Fred the Needle on November 6, 2015 - 15:04

        Oh how wonderful! I don’t know Balcome, but it sounds like a good idea for a discovery! I am right on the Coast at Felpham. How amazing that you had a dog called Gus! He was a rescue so we did not choose the name but it makes so much more sense! it is always great to connect with like minded souls isn’t it? 😉

  9. #14 by Rebecca Matthews on February 8, 2016 - 15:34

    Hello! I love those oilcloths! Divine! Where in France did you find them? I’m pay anyhting to brighten up my kitchen table x

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