Book Review: Liberty: British Colour Pattern

Finally, Liberty: British Colour Pattern is available in the US! (Although not *immediately* available; Amazon is showing out-of-stock.)

picture via Liberty blog
picture via Liberty blog

I begged for a copy for Christmas and was duly gratified, but I held off blogging it until it was easier to get. (Of course if you’re in the UK/ROW, you can order it here.)

It’s truly a gorgeous book and includes plenty of pictures of similarly-gorgeous Liberty fabrics:

picture via the Liberty blog
picture via the Liberty blog

In my fevered Liberty dreams, they put out a book such as the “Swatch-Clopedia” that Swatch reseller Squiggly does — every fabric Liberty ever made, listed in all colorways. I don’t care if it cost $300, I would buy it.* And I would certainly buy a “Liberty Annual” … a magalog that listed all the fabrics produced in a year, in all colorways. Liberty fabrics marketing department, are you listening?

This book doesn’t really need a review. If you love Liberty fabrics, you will love this book. If you don’t love Liberty fabrics yet, this book will probably tip you over into loving Liberty fabrics. Either way, you should probably wishlist it now.

*especially if it were arranged by year, with an index by name, and indexes by designer, fiber, weave, and pattern type (small florals, large florals, novelty, geometrics …). Hey, a girl can dream!

The Hundred Dresses: Day 92

Today is a twofer; here’s dress 1:

neuron Liberty McCall's 8484

This is McCall’s 8484, which I think I also made once in a striped seersucker version that didn’t survive. I don’t wear this that much because the bodice is a bit blousy for my taste. It definitely needs a belt. I used to wear it with a cream-and-green faux zebra-stripe sash, which sounds ridiculous but actually worked.

neuron Liberty McCall's 8484

I do really like the collar:

neuron Liberty McCall's 8484 collar

Side zip, eh:
neuron Liberty McCall's 8484 side zip

The pockets are actual lining material, which I don’t really ever do unless I think they will show through — and this fabric is both pale enough and sheer enough that I thought it would:

neuron Liberty McCall's 8484 pocket

I didn’t do a very good job on the back neck, although it was one of my favorite features of the pattern:

neuron Liberty McCall's 8484 back neck

This is one of my favorite Liberty prints — I wish I knew the name of it! — and I have a standing bounty on it, let me know if you have any to sell. So when I went back to the UK in 2007, I bought some more and made this:

mystery Liberty neuron dress

I can’t find the pattern this was made from — I know I made another version in gray sateen that I abandoned halfway through as it ended up looking like the uniform of someone enslaved in a Magdalene laundry. It was all about the midriff band, which is kind of beside the point in a fabric this busy:

mystery Liberty neuron dress midriff

The back is also gathered for a little bit of a train effect:

mystery Liberty neuron dress back

Here’s a closer look at the bodice — I liked the curve of the v-neck, too:

mystery Liberty neuron dress bodice

And the side zip:

mystery Liberty neuron dress side zip

Man, I wish I had more of this fabric …

The Hundred Dresses: Day 84

I have no idea what the name of this Liberty fabric is, but this pattern is Vogue 9670:

Liberty Vogue 9760

Here, you can check out the fabric (it’s Liberty TWILL, how I wish they still made this regularly) and incidentally the matching at the seams:

Liberty Vogue 9760 matching

I really like this neckline:
Liberty Vogue 9760 bodice

The split of the neck tends to flip open, so I made a virtue of necessity and gave it a bright facing:
Liberty Vogue 9760 bodice 2

I used the same bright orange for the pockets:
Liberty Vogue 9760 pockets

And the back:
Liberty Vogue 9760 back

I posted about this dress once before, back in 2009.

The Hundred Dresses: Day 77

Today’s dress is another Simplicity 5232, in a Liberty print that I don’t know the name of. I don’t know why I don’t make this more often …

Liberty print Simplicity 5232

Oh wait, maybe I do … it’s a pretty labor-intensive dress.

Liberty print Simplicity 5232 bodice

Yellow buttons again. I really like yellow buttons.

Liberty print Simplicity 5232 buttons

Towards the end I realized that the buttonholes were going to need more reinforcement than the Liberty Tana lawn was capable of, so I quick-and-dirty basted some silk organza down the front facing:

Liberty print Simplicity 5232 organza reinforcement

This dress is five years old, and the bias tape I used to finish the collar was probably about fifty years old, going by the original packaging. So it’s showing its age a bit:

Liberty print Simplicity 5232 collar binding

I topstitched the collar, for pretty much no reason:

Liberty print Simplicity 5232 back collar

The funniest thing about this dress: I’m pretty sure I put in that back bodice piece upside down. I just eased it until it worked. Oh well!

Liberty print Simplicity 5232 back bodice

I don’t have a full-length back picture of this one, for some reason.

The Hundred Dresses: Day 74

This is my absolute favorite Vogue 9929:

Liberty Kalumba Vogue 9929 front

It’s a Liberty print, one that I’m pretty sure is called Kalumba. It’s twill — I have made two other skirts with it (one in a brown/turquoise, and one in a pale blue), and I have some if it in pale blue silk that someday, when I’m feeling invincible, I will cut into. (It is the most beautiful fabric in the world.)

I love these colors together:
Liberty Kalumba Vogue 9929 bodice

I like to wear this with a pale lavender cardigan and a bright orange belt, and I like that I was able to position the print just so on the bodice:
Liberty Kalumba Vogue 9929 print

The side zip is just ‘eh’:
Liberty Kalumba Vogue 9929 side zip

And the back:

Liberty Kalumba Vogue 9929 back

I wish I’d bought all of this fabric that was ever made … I still look for more from time to time.

The Hundred Dresses: Day 64

This is McCall’s 8858, which, for quite some time, was my favorite pattern. I think this is one of the nicest dresses I made with it:

Enchanted Garden McCall's 8858

It’s Liberty twill, a pattern called “Enchanted Garden”. I wish I had about eighty more yards of this. (I did have enough left over after making this dress to make a skirt, though.)

Enchanted Garden McCall's 8858 bodice

Another thing I love about this dress is that a few years back J. Crew made flats in this same fabric (I should have remembered to take a picture of them as well). So occasionally I wear them together. Here’s a close-up of the fabric, isn’t it fun?

Enchanted Garden McCall's 8858 closeup

As I go through and take pictures of older dresses, I’m realizing how much my sewing has improved even in a few short years — I think I should credit all y’all, as sewing for “publication” has made me a bit more fastidious. I think I would have clipped this seam better, now, although I like to think of that visible blue facing as a design detail:

Enchanted Garden McCall's 8858 collar

 

The zipper’s pretty good:

Enchanted Garden McCall's 8858 side zip and pocket

 

And the back:

Enchanted Garden McCall's 8858 back

Looking at this pattern again, it’s starting to give me ideas. I do love that bodice …

The Hundred Dresses: Day 63

I thought today I would show you the opposite of yesterday’s Vogue 9929. Same pattern, completely different feel:

Liberty Tomary Vogue 9929 front

This is Liberty Tomary, and I bought it because it just seemed so autumn-y. Great for those days in California where the calendar says it is almost Halloween but the thermometer says “you won’t need that cardigan sweater.” I love this color combination of slate gray, pumpkin orange, and mashed-baby-food-peas green:

Liberty Tomary Vogue 9929 bodice

Here’s the side zip:

Liberty Tomary Vogue 9929 side zip

And the back:

Liberty Tomary Vogue 9929 back 2

 

I like to wear this with mustard-colored knee socks and brown boots; and carry a cardigan, just in case. I also have a goldenrod-colored gauze scarf that looks nice with this dress. Can you tell I’m already getting wistful for fall clothes, and me with a bin full of seersucker and madras left to sew for this summer still?

The Hundred Dresses: Day 61

I *think* this is the last Vogue 8728 — I went and dug it out of the “winter dresses” storage container in the garage, although really, in San Francisco you can pretty much wear your winter clothes on any random day in July. My east coast habits will die hard, though, and I’ll pull out that bin of corduroy and wool just when we hit that string of lovely 70+F days in late September and early October. (Someday I’ll learn …)

Speaking of wool, this is Liberty Jubilee, which is one of my favorite fabrics in the world. Jubilee is not the pattern name; it’s the name of their wool/cotton mix. It’s lightweight, warm, and wrinkle-free. (This was not-so-gently placed in the aforementioned storage bin and I was able to photograph it without pressing it.) I don’t think they make it anymore, which is a shame. (There’s also the Burwood Liberty fabric, which is wool/silk … I have a piece but I haven’t made anything with it yet.)

Liberty Jubilee Vogue 8728 front

Here’s the bodice:
Liberty Jubilee Vogue 8728 bodice

And the side zip & pocket:
Liberty Jubilee Vogue 8728 side zip and pocket

And the back:
Liberty Jubilee Vogue 8728 back 2

 

Wow, the days are going by really quickly. I can’t believe that we’ll be done in a little over a month!

The Hundred Dresses: Day 56

I hope you’re aren’t tired of Vogue 8728 just yet … this one is my absolute favorite one:

Liberty Mark Vogue 8728

 

I’ve posted about this one before … it’s Liberty Mark.

Liberty Mark Vogue 8728 bodice

 

I even have a pair of shoes in Liberty Mark that match this dress.

Liberty Mark Vogue 8728 side zip

 

Looking at this dress makes me so happy. I think I might wear it again this week.

Liberty Mark Vogue 8728 back

I have a skirt made from this fabric as well, if by “have” you mean “it’s waiting at the bottom of the fix-it pile and will probably turn into crude oil before I get to it.” I also have a tiny bit of this fabric left over (might have to hit up that Shaukat link up above) in this colorway, and some in a bright pink poplin (that was part of the Liberty/Target collaboration, and that I found completely by accident in a NYC fabric store).