Monday, September 12, 2011

Liberty of London fabrics - What’s the big deal?

Gasp! Sacrilege! How can I say such a thing?

Spurred by the passion and devotion for Liberty prints expressed by so many sewing bloggers, I’ve ordered three different fabrics on three different occasions recently, and I was completely unimpressed!

Part of the problem is that after paying such a high price per yard, I expect something really mind-blowing and possibly even life-changing. Then when I get it, it turns out to just be soft cotton in pretty colors. Sometimes not-so-pretty colors.

To be fair, I might not have made the best choices. For one thing, I’ve been ordering from , which has the Liberty Tana Lawn for $32.95 per yard and with all the discounts I can usually get it for around $27, the lowest price I’ve seen anywhere. For that price, it’s not surprising that they do not carry the entire line of imaginative and colorful prints, just a select few. If I were willing to cough up the few extra dollars at B and J Fabrics, I would get a much wider selection.

For another thing, I’ve been somewhat conservative in my color and pattern choices, which is odd for me. Why suddenly dial down my kaleidoscopic taste? I think it may be because when I’m shopping, I try to keep in mind what I already have. (Key word is “try”, clearly I don’t always succeed otherwise my stash would not be teetering in ceiling-high piles.) I look at the Liberty offerings and see flowered prints in pinks, blues, oranges, reds, and combinations of above. I see paisleys in peach, turquoise, and black and white. But I already have prints in all those colors! So I can’t justify buying something really cute and colorful like Mark or Mauverina when I have several other prints in the same colors already.

So I didn’t like my first two orders – they were Kitty Grace and another one which I can't remember.

Look how lovely this Kitty Grace is online – at least on my screen, the teal is bright and there’s a warmth to the background from the yellow and gold highlights.

But when I received it, it was so boring! The teal looked like navy and the burgundy looked like red, and the yellow tones didn’t show up at all. I was looking at red white and blue heart shapes. Hello patriotic quilt print! Granted, it was the softest, smoothest cotton I’ve ever felt, but I just didn’t like it enough to use it. I ended up sending it and the other one back, and got a refund (one thing I love about!).

I initially didn’t care for my last Liberty purchase very much either, but I could sort of see how the pattern could make for an interesting garment, and the colors were unusual enough to interest me.

This one’s poplin, and it says it’s 100% cotton, but it is very stretchy! Like 10% lycra stretchy! So I don’t know for sure about the content, but it does make for very nice sewing.

I made up this little blouse, since I’d only ordered 1 yard.

The pattern is New Look 6598. I didn’t bother posting it on Pattern Review since the pattern is almost 10 years old and there are already 30+ reviews of it. It's a very easy pattern and the short-sleeve version fits on one yard of 54" fabric if you are creative with the layout.

It’s not that I have anything in particular against Liberty of London fabrics, it’s just that I can’t see what all the excitement is about.

Are you in love with Liberty? If so, why?


P.s. If you disagree with my opinion and you want to send me, all expenses paid, to London to show me the wonders of Liberty in its native environment, I’m completely open to that argument.

1 comment:

  1. I adore Liberty Lawn fabric! I fell in love with it during the years that I was too busy to sew, when J. Crew carried several pieces in it. Once I started sewing again, I knew that it was one fabric that I wanted to make many pretty things with. I love the prices on, but the selection is rather boring. I keep checking their site and B and J for the fall prints, though. They are amazing!