Liberty Wool Hawthorn (aka. My New Favourite Dress)

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This is the most recently completed garment from my epic photo-shoot (just one more garment to show you!) but it is also the most worn item. I took my time making this version of the Hawthorn dress so I would do the fabric justice – introducing my first Liberty dress! The fabric is a lovely printed wool blend from Classic Textiles in Goldhawk Road (£12 or 15 per metre!) and is lined in fuscia silk-cotton (again from Classic Textiles for an amazing £4 per metre – I’m never buying pricey poly-linings again!) so at over £40 for the dress this is one of my pricier makes (luckily I found some cheapish buttons I liked, instead of spending £2 a button on the super fancy ones!).

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liberty 2The bodice looks a little odd here, but it is a great fit in real life since this is the fourth real-fabric version of I have made now. It is slim fitting around the waist but there is enough comfort ease to feel great wearing it. Construction was pretty similar to the dotty version, except I lined the bodice and sleeves which eliminated some of the facings. You can just see a bit of pink showing through, but I promise I did hand-stitch the lining down around the collar.

liberty 5People in real life commented that the dotty dress was a bit loose around the waist (before blog photos) so on this version I took the side seams in on the bodice. I forgot to allow for this on the skirt pieces, so I just made a little pleat centre back, which I quite like.

liberty 3It took me ages to choose buttons that would compliment the luxurious Liberty wool but that were affordable to buy 15 of! In the end I chose these clover-shaped pearl-effect buttons – they are a little bit more interesting than regular round “pearl” buttons, but I think they work well with the print and dress design.

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I added two buttonholes to the sleeve cuffs (have I mentioned how much I LOVE the sleeve placket instructions? So effective and so neat!) for a bit of extra flair. My only big “mistake” making this was sewing the plackets on the sleeves flat (as in instructions) and then inserting the lining once the shell and lining were complete; this meant I had to hand sew the sleeve lining right next to the placket. It looks good but I wish I had worked how to do this by machine (treat the sleeves as underlining for this step?). I also sewed half the skirt sides up before I remembered I was adding pockets, which added some extra time, but definitely worth it for a winter dress with pockets for tissues and lipbalm.

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Finally, I hand-sewed the hem. Yup, I sewed a full skirt by hand over a few hours instead of doing damage by machine (just like fixing the bodice lining to the main dress). I don’t have pictures but should also add that the entire dress is French seamed (except for parts hidden by lining). Karen’s Mistress of the Jar will be proud!liberty 4

The extra time (and money) spent on this dress was definitely worth it; I feel so great wearing it 🙂 It is flattering, comfy and cosy, with enough pattern to make it exciting but subtle enough for everyday. It is definitely going on my Top 5 Hit list tomorrow!


The best things in life are free







Yesterday I got a phone call at school from a local interior design shop asking if we would like some scraps of fabric they were chucking out. As Art and D&T coordinator I was very excited to get free stuff to supplement my budget so I arranged to go round and pick it up. I arrived at the shop to see three bin-bags full of off-cuts and scraps, and a huge box full of old sample books (and that was only the stuff she had brought upstairs!). As we were chatting about what the kids could use the fabric for, I mentioned my personal crafting obsession and she said I could take stuff for me…

I felt a bit like the candidates on The Apprentice when they have the shopping challenge and have to get items and return to the boardroom in time – I looked at my watch and realised school would be locked up in 15 minutes and we had to grab what we could and get it in the car asap. We took five large sacks back to school, and they are sat in my classroom awaiting sorting next week (well being hidden in the cupboard until I have time to sort them). I was desperate to rummage but I could hear the caretaker’s keys rattling so all I had time to grab was…Liberty

Two Liberty home furnishing sample books. They are pretty heavy and were a pain to carry on the tube, but it was worth it as inside are lots of samples of Liberty fabrics. They all have little pictures to show how the whole width will look.PicMonkey Collage

Some of the pieces look like they could just about make a side of a cushion (maybe with a little border) but others might need to be cut up and panelled or patched together to be big enough to be a cushion. I had been thinking of doing some patchwork quilting this year, so this might actually be the inspiration to do it (once I work out how to open the sample booklets) as it probably my only change to have Liberty silk cushions judging by the price list below…price

The designer said she had at least five more bags in the basement so I am very tempted to go back once I’ve sorted (and worked out where to store) the first lot!