Posts Tagged Liberty of London
I’ve pieced a top using some strips of Liberty fabric that I bought on a visit to the Liberty store a year or so ago. They came in a pack under the ‘Worn and Washed’ label like this.
I’ve made a quilt using Worn and Washed fabrics before. They are good for making quilts you want to look as if they have already had a bit of a life and, when used with cotton batting, and washed to shrink just a little, they can look a bit vintage. Here is one I made with a bundle of those fabrics a few years ago – actually, thinking about it, probably around 11 years ago now, eek!.
Not a great picture – I find it really hard to photograph quilts properly – plus we are having a very grey day today – but you get the idea – it already looks as if my grandmother might have made it (which would make it very old indeed and also very unlikely as my grandmother never sewed a thing in her life as far as I know!)
Anyway, the lady behind Worn and Washed which you can read about here, has a link with Liberty now and you can buy some of her bundles there. Otherwise, for non Liberty bundles, I think it is best to buy from the shows she attends as it is best to see and feel the fabrics which, by their nature, are quite individual.
This is the quilt top I have made with my pack – I’ve kept it very simple to highlight the fabrics and it will be backed with a silvery grey plain cotton. I took it into the fabric shop with me to match it with a plain for the back and the staff were stroking it because it is sooo soft and smooth, being tana lawn and also having had a bit of a wash I suppose. If you click on the photo it will allow you to zoom in a couple of times so you can see the fabrics better. I love the poppies and the sweeties at the bottom.
My question for other quilters is how do you think I should quilt this? I have a roll of Hobbs cotton batting and that needs to be quilted with no more than a 2 inch gap so I won’t be doing it by hand. The back is plain so parallel lines across the width would look boring. Also any bad stitches would be very obvious! I’m not very good with free motion quilting. Would diagonals work? Any ideas?
Remember this Liberty fabric I bought at the recent Knitting and Stitching Exhibition?
Well, I didn’t really have any plans for it when I bought it but a friend of mine was looking for a pattern to make a simple top with some silky fabric she has and I remembered the Sorbetto top by Colette patterns which I had downloaded but never made up. So, I thought it would also suit the tana lawn quite well.
Here’s me getting ready with the remote. I am also testing out my daylight lamp as a photography aid. My house is not very good for letting in natural light as it is very old and designed for keeping the heat out. However, I need to photograph some little people’s clothes for my shop and I am not satisfied with my results so far so I am experimenting.
I seem to be looking unbearably smug in this photograph but that might be because I made my own bias binding to go around the neck and I also used it for the sleeves. Get me!
So chuffed was I with it, I had to actually photograph it on its own. I take my pleasures where I find them these days!
The gadget you need is this Clover bias binding maker which didn’t come with any instructions. I followed this video tutorial by The Little Tailoress where you have the added bonus of somebody looking adorable in a pink floral Liberty dress but you can’t hate her for it as she seems so nice.
This little top is very simple to make. I have seen claims of making it in 45 minutes from beginning to end. Hmmm. Maybe if you don’t add sleeves or make your own bias binding. Maybe if your bobbin doesn’t run out and the postman doesn’t knock on the door. Maybe if you don’t have to stop for a wee and a cup of tea halfway through. Or is that just me? Anyway, it is quick and you could probably squeeze one out of a metre of fabric if you mess with the layout and it is a very handy top for summer. I will definitely be making more.
Regular readers will know I love Liberty fabric and use it whenever I can but, there comes a time, and my time came a while ago, when a pastel pink floral Liberty print dress will not look good on you. I would put the limit at, maybe, 25 years old but you may differ. It is possible I believe, and hope as I have done it, to make blouses and other tops with a ditsy, floral Liberty print and get away with it but, dresses, no. **
I have lined bunny ears with it, made coin purses and fabric storage baskets but I wanted more from my Liberty stash.
So, as I long ago left the age of 25 behind, I decided to make teeny tiny dresses in order to indulge my addiction.
Here are a few I’ve finished or semi-finished.
Actually, that last one in red and white is Tilda fabric but you get my drift.
I have even been using Liberty of London cotton jersey to make miniature skater dresses like my Lady one. It’s a good use of my new overlocker and I still can’t get over how the seams look so professional when done on a proper serger. The cotton jersey is gorgeous but it is quite difficult to find, especially in prints that are suitable for very little girls. These ones were from Sewbox who have quite a good range of Liberty fabrics at reasonable prices.
This one is teeny, for 0-3 months, it makes me feel quite broody although that’s something else I have passed the limit for. Perhaps the dogs would like a dress. Somebody stop me!
** I must here mention a notable exception because there is a blog I follow ‘The Little Tailoress’ and she made a ditsy, pink, floral Liberty dress and looks damn gorgeous in it. She is, however, probably only 25 or very near to it anyway. You can see it here.
Back in France after my week-long visit to the U.K., still in shock as I didn’t have to take a jacket – no, not even a cardie. Baking in a heatwave, the Brits watched the tarmac melting, their children getting severe sunburn and old ladies getting stuck in deckchairs until, inevitably, it all got too much, there was a storm and the rain and wind returned. Oh, and a new prince was born.
As predicted, I went to Brighton but didn’t have time to go on the pier this time so, instead, I bought some cards from a lovely photographer lady, Ruth Thomas, who was selling them in the market. This one is my favourite and, although I sort of suspect the bright white light is a photography no, no, I like the way it seems to emanate from the old, destroyed Pier and shines through the deck chair canvas.The rest of the photos are mine and, because I was on a budget airline and too mean to pay for a suitcase, I only had room to take my teeny, trusty old compact camera so, sorry for the dodgy quality.
I couldn’t decide which fabric to buy so bought a bundle of coordinating tana lawn to make into a small, simple quilt – when I get a minute.
I went to an antiques fair and, as you do, bought an enormous vintage butcher’s hanging scale which can weigh items up to 200 lbs and is itself so heavy I don’t know how I’m going to get it back to France – hence the lack of photographic evidence! It has made its way as far as Mr. Tialys’ appartment as I thought he’d be able to bring it back in his cabin bag but he pointed out that Security might have a problem with the huge metal hook suspended beneath the scale. Who knew? Inexplicably, I also bought some vintage wooden crates which I have left at my parents’ house and is where they will probably stay until somebody decides to chop them up for kindling. I do this kind of impractical shopping sometimes – I get carried away in the moment and, if Mr. Tialys is not there to talk sense, which he wasn’t on this occasion, I end up with all sorts of things and then have to organise a courrier delivery.
I had arranged to meet my sister-in-law near London Bridge for drinks and dinner but went early to indulge in a bit of culture. I always find certain exhibits at the Tate Modern good for a laugh and there is a lovely view across the Thames from one of the balconies where you can go for some respite from the innovations in art or, if you are so inclined, and many were, a quick ciggie.
I had a traditional English cream tea (Oh, how I miss real cream) in, bizarrely, a tea shop just off Carnaby Street where I took a break from spooning clotted cream and strawberry jam onto warm scones to surreptitiously snap this framed French magazine as I have some of these in my vintage shop and wanted to demonstrate how good they look framed up.
What, I hear you ask, is the meaning of the title of this post. Am I proud to be British, proud of that rather good photo of the Thames even though I only had my compact, or proud of my vintage finds? Well yes, all of those things but mostly I am proud of my Mum. Now 80 herself , although for gawd’s sake don’t tell her I told you, she was nominated for a voluntary carers’ award for visiting a housebound elderly lady every week – almost without fail – for the past ten years . She wasn’t going to attend the ceremony as she is far too shy and modest but, as I said I’d go with her, she agreed to go. She received a framed certificate from the Lady Mayor and afterwards we had a traditional English tea (another one!!) in lovely gardens in the sunshine.
When I got home I had over 350 emails to sort out – who are all these people who have my email address? – and Madamoiselle Tialys the elder has truly caught the dressmaking bug and was waiting for some help finishing a skirt she had started so I haven’t actually finished anything myself for a couple of weeks. Still, plenty of mother daughter bonding going on while she is home from university for the summer so I’m not complaining just explaining the lack of ‘tadaa’ moments in this post. Maybe next time.
I think I told you, back in the mists of time that was 2012, I was having a dabble in a bit of dressmaking after a long time doing other things. Well, I bought a pattern (Simplicity 2648) and some vintage tweedy stuff (it smelt and I had to wash it twice!) and I enlisted the help of my friend Sandra who is always making clothes and, anyway, has an overlocker. I apologise for the photos but Madamoiselle Tialys the Elder is away at Uni and I had to model it myself and, as you can see, I am shy.
I was fairly pleased with how it turned out and I might even wear it in public. I think I will use the pattern again to make another for the spring in less wintry (and smelly) fabric. I used the rare occasion of allowing myself to be photographed to show you my gorgeous leather bag that I picked up in a flea market recently, intending to put it in my vintage shop. Even though I don’t have that much occasion these days to carry anything resembling an ‘officey’ type bag (made up word!), it is the perfect size for an iPad, a couple of documents, a book, a wallet and a phone which came in handy when I had to go to Toulouse for an appointment the other day so perhaps I will keep it for myself after all.
I have been pondering on new things to make for my handmade shop as, although I love those Bunny Bentos, they are a bit fiddly to make and I am getting bored with some of the other items as I’ve been making them for a few years now. I was lucky enough to find a range of lovely Liberty Tana Lawn locally and, although the price in euros is not particularly cheap, at least there were no shipping costs. I always feel a little guilty cutting up Liberty fabric too small so, this time, I’ve gone in the other direction and kept it in one big piece, backed it with soft, cosy stuff, ‘quilted’ it together in a minimalist fashion and made a lap quilt, throw, baby blanket, whatever. It’s a nice way to showcase the fabric I think and, of course, it feels lovely and buttery soft and silky on one side because of the tana lawn and cosy and cuddly on the other because of the towelling or flannel (I’m experimenting with both at the moment).
I’ve free motion quilted (new verb!) some bird shapes on the second blanket but I used an erasable marker to transfer the shape and, I must say, it is taking a remarkably long time to disappear so I am hoping it will go soon, or at least after I’ve washed it, because I am panicking just a bit.
I went through a phase recently of throwing those retro crochet blankets over arms of chairs and backs of sofas. I am ashamed to admit I bought them rather than made them myself as I don’t crochet much – although I am going to re-teach myself soon – and they seem to sell for ridiculously cheap amounts of money considering the work that goes into them. However, they are a magnet for cat hair and, as anybody with cats will know, those buggers are incredibly difficult to get rid of once they are in the weave. I can never understand why they sell dog and cat blankets made from polar fleece either – same thing happens and those hairs are there for life, even after being put through the washing machine. So, I started thinking lately that I might make a throw from good old cotton fabric and, rather than keep it upstairs away from all fur babies as I normally do, I will sacrifice it to my lounge and I am sure it will stand up much better to the occasional sleeping cat as, surely, the smoother cotton surface will be less attractive both to the hair and maybe even to the cat!
I was thinking of something simple but then this caught my eye on the Moda Bake Shop site and it would be a perfect match for my colour scheme and look brilliant over the back of my leather sofa (even though it’s described as a wall hanging) so, after foraging on Ebay U.S. for the exact same fabric, I will start collecting newspapers and embark upon a paper pieced, patriotic, luxury cat blanket.
I could have gone for different colours but this one suits me fine and I want to follow that tutorial to the letter and I feel that having the exact same fabric will make it somehow a little easier! Maybe I should get my Mum to send me a copy of the Daily Mail too so that I can follow it even more slavishly. This tutorial was put on the Moda site by Lynne at Lily’s Quilts and, when I popped over to have a look at her blog I found lots of things to slaver over and also interesting things to read so I’m a new follower.
And no, I haven’t finished Madamoiselle Tialys the Younger’s 18th birthday quilt yet but the fabric for the Union Jack is coming from the States so it will take a couple of weeks and, anyway I have 32 days, including today, to work on it – it’ll be a doddle!
By the way, on the vintage side of things, did I show you this wasp waisted beauty? She’s missing her stand but still a bit gorgeous.
I wondered whether she was original at first but, the wood underneath the base is very old and the découpage is a bit ‘off’ in some places which wouldn’t be there if it were a repro. However, I do believe somebody has varnished it at some stage, presumably to preserve it better which is why it has that shine in my photo. The date, as proclaimed just under the right armpit, is 1898. when they obviously didn’t eat anything or waists were sucked in to the size of my thigh with a corset.
I’ve been a bit ‘diverse’ in this post but haven’t written anything for such a long time that I got carried away.
I had a productive day yesterday -I must shut myself up in the workshop more often. I have several projects on the go at the moment but they are all quite different so if I’m not in the mood for one, I can get on with the other. Also, having spent a whole weekend clearing up and reorganising my workspace a few weeks ago, I am determined to keep it tidy and, after each session, I am putting everything back in its place like a good girl.
Here is my small sampler quilt that I started with my little sewing group – so little in fact, there are now only two of us! Was it something that I said? Who knows? To be honest, if I said it in French I could have unwittingly upset any number of people. Anyway, with all its imperfections such as missing points and wonky borders, this is just awaiting a bit more quilting and the binding. I got fed up with hand quilting it, especially as I’ve backed it with cotton ticking and it’s a little on the thick side to quilt through. I tried some free motion quilting which I have never really done on an actual project – just messed around on test quilt sandwiches – and I was getting on famously. I was so proud of it for a first effort but, when I turned it over, the reverse side was a complete mess. I think what I had on the reverse was what they call ‘birds’ nests’ in the trade and that is a very accurate description. I can’t tell you how long it took me to undo it all. Anyway, nothing daunted, I started again but my Singer, which is a little temperamental on the tension side, just wasn’t having any of it so I decided to switch to my Janome. Unfortunately, the quilting foot I have wouldn’t fit the Janome so I ordered another one and had to wait until it arrived. Now it’s here I’ve got to do a few more quilt sandwiches before I release myself onto the actual project.
Meanwhile, remembering the 2 year marathon that was the quilt for Mlle. Tialys the elder’s 18th birthday quilt, I decided to get started on Mlle. Tialys the younger’s one as I’ve only got 4 months until her 18th. Hah! This time I wanted to follow a pattern and do a plain back instead of wandering of down the design path conjured up by my brain with no idea how it was really going to end up. Also, I’ve bought all the fabric in advance. Very sensible.
I liked the look of this one with the pinwheels in the centres of the blocks and, as it comes from the Moda Bake Shop blog, it comes with ingredients and a recipe (as they call them) so what can go wrong? I also like the fact that the designer hand quilted each pinwheel with cotton perle no. 8 with nice big stitches – hooray! And, if I can get my free motion quilting up to scratch by then, I’ll do some ‘off piste’ quilting on the rest of it. I chose the ‘Oh Deer’ by Momo for Moda as I love the animals and woodland theme together with spots and stripes and lots of bright colours. I don’t normally do bright colours but I thought this quilt design could take it and it is also an attempt to bring the younger Mlle. Tialys into the light after her goth phase.
First pinwheel block finished – only another 24 to go.
On a different plane, I am trying to rekindle my ‘making clothes’ passion which flares up briefly now and again throughout my life. I have been inspired by lots of different blogs like Ooobop! and by the lack of clothing in the shops that is not for the under 25s or over 70s – I talk of the rural backwater in which I live here in France – to take it up again. The problem of course is that, being a rural backwater, there is nowhere to wear glam clothes – I have a wardrobe full of unworn ‘posh’ frocks and heels – I’ll just have to get up to Toulouse, our nearest big city, more often just to dress up.
This ‘little top’, as my mother would call it, caught my eye in Burda Style’s August issue, especially as it says ‘Easy’ on the instructions. I thought it would ease me gently back into the world of sewing clothes. Of course, it is crèpe de chine and therefore very slippery and fine but I’m going to give it a go. I bought this fabric which is soft, muted, blurry blues with a sort of painterly print on it.
I also saw this dress pattern recommended by lots of people and I bought this printed to jersey to make it in. The style of sleeves I make will depend on what time of year it is when I get round to making it.
Got this length of vintage tweed fabric for a bargain price. It has a slight stretch to it so I wonder whether the dress, with the sleeves, would look good in that for winter. If not, it would make a nice pencil skirt.
Then I made another Bunny Bento Bag as I wanted to see whether I could get the tricky lining done any quicker. The answer is, not really, but I really like that Liberty tana lawn against the natural linen.
What diverse projects have you got on the go?
I’m cancelling everything today apart from finishing my WISP (work in slow progress). Three days to go and I have to hand quilt a queen size cover and then bind it. It could just be possible if I fend off appointments, visitors, dog walks, housework., eating, washing, Etsying and phone calls.
Saying all that, I just had to show you these gorgeous new Liberty of London fabrics that arrived yesterday with my postman who I love because he brings me such lovely things although he is a miserable old twonk. These are from the new Lifestyle Collection which is Liberty of London’s beautiful new line specially designed for quilting and crafting. They are not as fine as the divine Tana Lawn and, therefore, much cheaper and, therefore, much easier to cut up and use in patchwork. Tana Lawn will always be my favourite but the designs, as always, are sooo gorgeous and you can’t argue with a less expensive alternative for some projects.
Anyway, off to hand quilt heart and bird shapes . Hopefully I will be able to show you(and my daughter!) the finished article soon.