I finally got over to Liberty, and … well, it was disappointing, to say the least. They've reduced the space given over to dressmaking fabrics again, to about 3/4 of what it was the last time I was there, which was itself about 3/4 of what I saw on the visit before that!
Look at how anemic (or, as I'm over here, anaemic) the shelves are:
And when I asked about twill, the clerk (who I recognized from previous visits) told me that Liberty isn't making twill any longer — "no one was buying it," she said. Well!
So, being in the UK, I've decided to write a sternly-worded letter to Liberty, in the hopes that they will reconsider their decision to essentially abandon the home dressmaker …
Dear Mr Williams:
I visited the dressmaking fabrics department of Liberty in Regent Street this week. Liberty is usually the highlight of any trip I make to London, and the fabrics department is the highlight of any trip to Liberty.
However, I was tremendously disappointed. Not only did I walk away without having made a fabric purchase (which has never happened before!) I was also greeted with the dispiriting news that Liberty has decided to stop producing their designs in twill.
Although I have lately seen Liberty prints available through partnerships with other manufacturers (Lands' End, Converse) and I think that is a lovely development, I would hate to see Liberty abandon the home dressmaker, especially as interest in sewing and dressmaking has been surging recently, on both sides of the Atlantic.
I was told that people haven't been buying the twill, and that's the reason for stopping production. Might I suggest that people aren't buying it because it is so difficult to obtain? Liberty does not sell online, and I have been hearing from independent shops in the US and Australia that Liberty is also reducing the number of patterns available to them. If you want to sell your fabric, you ought to be making it more available, not less! I buy at least twenty yards of Liberty lawn, twill, and wool fabrics a year (and I buy at least sixty yards of fabric total in a year, and often more, mostly online), and I would buy more Liberty if more patterns and weights were available to me. If I could, I'd sew with nothing BUT Liberty!
Liberty is by far my favorite fabric. The prints are outstanding and the quality of the weave is unmatched. I, and many other home dressmakers, will be heartbroken if this downward trend in the number and availability of patterns continues.
I'll print this out and mail it on real paper (more likely to be taken seriously) when I return to Chicago. So suggestions welcome in the meantime. I wanted to start it with the very British "Sirs:" but since the name of the head of customer service is available, it didn't make sense not to use it. If you'd like to write or email as well, details are here …