Sambucus Racemosa

Liberty1It’s been a long time coming, but here it is at last; my first Liberty dress!

When Mimolette went to London, she was kind enough to take my order and bring me back two pieces of Liberty from Shaukat: 1,50m of this orange Fitzgerald and 1,50m of purple Ros. I had never sewn with Liberty before and was pretty curious to see what the hype was all about. I still can’t really get behind the price, but it’s true that it’s by far the softest and nicest cotton to work with I’ve ever used. The only downside is that it’s quite transparent. Not too much for a blouse, but I might have to wear a half slip with this dress.

Liberty7The fabric was a dream to work with and it was my second time sewing this pattern (the Sureau dress by Deer&Doe), so why did it take me so much time to finish? Well, the first thing is, I made a couple of modifications: I changed the sleeves of the Sureau for those of the Bleuet, which was actually not complicated at all, and above all I changed the fake button placket into a functional one that buttons all the way down.

Also, I added side-seam pockets, and after completing them I realised they were lower than I had anticipated. And of course I had French seamed everything (yes, you can French seam side-seam pockets!) so there was no way I was going to undo that. Being the drama queen that I am, I decided if the dress was not going to be perfect, there was no point in finishing it.

Liberty3So it hung on a hanger for a while, until I realised it was not that big a deal and the dress would still be perfectly wearable, especially since, even though aesthetically they seemed a bit low the pockets were actually at the right place for me to put my hands in them. And now that I look at the pictures, they don’t even seem too low to me anymore. How to make a mountain out of a molehill.

Liberty4Then my iron died on me. It began overheating (to the point of literally melting a few centimetres of the serger thread in this dress – luckily at a sleeve hem, where there was also some normal thread holding everything together) then it simply stopped working… and broke water on a pair of trousers! Like, all the water from the container suddenly started leaking through the sole holes. I had to buy a new one, which I didn’t want to do in a hurry and take the first Made in China crap I found, so once again my Liberty dress hung unattended for a while, only missing a hem, and ten buttons and buttonholes (it’s funny how I had no idea how many buttons this dress was going to need when I made my sketch, yet I drew ten!).

Liberty5But I found the iron of my dreams (and of my wallet’s nightmares!) and I was finally able to finish the dress, albeit not without another couple of concerns: first I had to add a tiny press stud between two pairs of buttons (bust and waist) to avoid gaping (worked like a charm!). Then, when I first tried the finished dress on, I realised the neckline, which I had staystitched and understitched, had apparently stretched out despite my precautions: the neckline, which fit perfectly right in my first version of the dress, was gaping like crazy and the facing was trying to escape, the horror!

Liberty6I topstitched the neckline, which cured part of the problem (the right side of the neckline now looked perfect), but the left side was still gaping too much to my taste. I was kind of devastated, then I had the idea of stitching a line of gathering thread on top of the topstitching of the left side and simply gathering (and then pressing into submission) the excess fabric. You can imagine my delight when I tried the dress on again and saw that the neckline finally fit! Now, I must say that, with a solid fabric, this little trick would probably have been much more conspicuous, but with such a busy print, I don’t think anyone’s going to notice anything!

Liberty8I’m in love with the finished dress, which is pretty much exactly how I envisioned it, and I feel like it’s going to get at least as much wear as my first Sureau! And I haven’t really considered the colour orange these past few years, but this Liberty print really makes me long for an orange sweater or cardigan to go with the dress…

Liberty2

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Sketchbook: Liberty Dress

FitzgeraldI can’t seem to get back to sewing my coat, and in the meantime it seems like I have a million dresses on my mind! The one I’m working on at the moment is a Sureau whose sleeves I replaced with the sleeves of the Bleuet dress and whose fake button placket I changed into a functional one which I lengthened to get a shirt dress. I also added side seam pockets (in orange lining) because, as you may already know by now, pockets are essential to me and my runny nose.

The fabric I’m using is Liberty of London Fitzgerald. This is my first time using such an expensive fabric so I’m crossing fingers everything goes according to plan!

While I’m talking about the fabric, I couldn’t be bothered trying to render it on my drawing, so I printed a picture of the fabric and I cut and pasted it to fill the dress, then I added the button placket and other details on top of it. Normally I would do that directly on the computer, but since I want the sketchbook to look as good as the version I’m sharing on the blog I prefered that option. And the result is really convincing so I’ll keep that technique in mind for the future!