Thursday, 18 August 2016

Cuttting Liberty Lawn gives me goose pimples.

I've been lucky enough to get my mitts on some beautiful Liberty Tana lawn for a client in Bath. This stuff is like heroin to a sewist. Maybe that is going a little too far, but just cutting into this fabric gives me goose pimples (I'm sure you guys get this... right?). As I type, I can hear the whimpering of my African Wax stash. 'Pipe down boys I'm most definitely not done with you yet!' Although... just imagine African Wax Print cotton lawn, Blimey. There'd be no coming back from that.

Anyway, the lovely lady in question had purchased the fabrics from Alice Caroline, but neither had the time nor the confidence to sew them up herself. Enter little old me,  I merrily obliged!

Cue the shameless self-promotion: for bespoke orders or commissions you can contact me at

Moving on... I'll dive straight into the fabrics.

Those of you with a keen eye may notice that I am no stranger to the AMAZING fabric on the bottom right. I used Queue for the Zoo in a different colour way for a pair of Carolyn Pajamas not so long ago. These remain (and probably will for all eternity) my favourite pair a jammies. Just look at them...

Who doesn't need a pair of PJs covered in paper aeroplane throwing elephants
and 'detective' chameleons?!!!

This is such a beautiful pattern. I honestly haven't seen a bad pair sewn up. The construction and design are so well thought out, and you get such a lovely finish. If you haven't got this pattern in your stash yet  - YOU NEED IT (even if you are not a fan of nightwear). These beautiful versions should help persuade you: Bianca's and Faye's - but seriously there are SO many more.

I am now desperately fighting the urge to sew up another pair immediately. MUST COMPLETE BLOG POST.

The green leaf print tana lawn (bottom left) was destined to become a dressing gown. My client had sewn herself the dressing gown of her dreams many years ago for the birth of her first child. It has held up amazingly well after 25 years of daily wear. That my friends illustrates the beauty and importance of French seams! This standard of finish gives garments such longevity and is rarely seen in high street garments (Read: Buy or make HANDMADE garments!).

I went ahead and made a pattern from her faithful old friend. The construction of the dressing gown was very simple, so I was able to replicate it from some quick measurements. It all came together pretty quickly, and I invested time in making this dressing gown as special as the first. I used French seams throughout (of course!), pattern matched the pocket, and hand finished the hems and the collar. I found this gorgeous ribbon from my local haberdashery for the waist ties and hanger (Sew 'n'  Sew in the Guildhall Market if you live in Bath).

Pocket...? What Pocket?

Here she is in the 'wild'.

Next up was a fairly similar print in yellow.  My client had purchased McCall's M7096, and we opted for version D (with slightly more modest slits!). Firstly, I altered the fit to sit just above the hip rather than the waist and after a couple of adjustments to the toile we were happy.

I use curtain backing as toile material. Don't let anybody throw old curtains! 

I decided to underline the skirt with a yellow crepe to give the garment some body. I hand basted each skirt piece to the underling fabric then cut the lining. You can watch me doing this here and here if you are interested.

For the last two pieces, we decided to draft a pattern to get a beautiful fit on her petite frame. I was thrilled that I'd get to make a dress out of the Queue for the Zoo fabric. To be honest, I can't quite believe I resisted the temptation the first time around. We opted for a fairly simple darted bodice to show off the print with a box pleat skirt. 

After two fittings and adjustments to the toile, we were happy with the fit, and I braced myself for making that first cut...

I sincerely enjoyed sewing this dress. You can tell as I matched my nails. Always a good sign.

The dress is fully lined in cotton lawn and a matching viscose for the skirt.
We loved the shape of the skirt so much that we went straight ahead and cut the same design in the grey daisy print. 

Such a beautiful way to finish a zip! 

I used French seams and the fold and stitch method to finish the side seams. I lined the skirt in a 100% cotton (from Fashion Fabrics on Green Street, again if you are local) and made bias binding out of the scraps to finish the hem. 

That is all from me. I'm off to cut into some Liberty lawn scraps. I CANNOT STOP MYSELF. 


  1. These are all beautiful! May I ask how you shaped the lining for the box-pleated skirt? I am making a dress with a similar skirt, I'd like to add a lining but I can't decide how to go about it...

  2. These are all beautiful! May I ask how you shaped the lining for the box-pleated skirt? I am making a dress with a similar skirt, I'd like to add a lining but I can't decide how to go about it...

    1. Hi Roberta,
      Thank you!

      I just removed the pleats and curved the hem to shorten it at the side seams.

      To do this I folded in my pattern piece along the pleat lines as if I'd sewn the pleats in and pinned it to the lining fabric. I then created an A-line shape to give fullness at the bottom and join it to the fold with a curved hem (If you cut the lining hem straight your side seams would be longer than the rest of the skirt). You should then have a lining piece that fits at the waist (no added bulk from the pleats) with fullness at the bottom. You can then baste it to your main skirt (with pleats sewn in) and it should match up perfectly. Sew the waistband and zip and you are done!

      Alternatively, you could just sew a lining piece exactly the same as the main skirt and sew them together along the top before you add the waistband and zip. This way you will have extra fullness at the waist.

      Either way would work just depends on your preference!

      Hope this helps!

      I may do a video tutorial on this soon - so watch this space!

    2. Thank you so much, that's very helpful :)