Tag Archives: Liberty of London

The Poppies My Pretty Dress

The idea that there are people out there who have never seen The Wizard of Oz is a very strange idea for me. Since 1939 it’s been such a fundamental movie to public consciousness here in the United States, and also to popular culture, that the fact that people exist in the world who haven’t seen this movie seems like a sad odd fact. Obviously it isn’t, if you have no context for Kansas or the politics of the age, which many people think Baum was actually writing about, then why on earth would you be interested in this strange film, but still. Come on. It’s the first color film. It’s a great story. Who wouldn’t want to see this movie? Still. Out there, somewhere, I understand, it doesn’t make any sense. Still, I hope that anyone reading this will look it up, because I love The Wizard of Oz, and it’s just one of the best stories to tell your children that there ever could be. It’s about courage and adaptation and finding qualities within yourself you never knew you possessed and also, home, and what that means, and why it’s worth returning to. And why worlds beyond your own are worth discovering and exploring and finding and enjoying. And why everyone is worth something in their own way. And why what lives within us all is the most powerful of things, and should be valued and respected. And besides, the costumes are great, even if you don’t like the rest of it.


This Hanukkah, my amazing roommate Emily bought me a yard and a half of Liberty of London fabric. This was an astounding gift and I couldn’t have been more thrilled and happy to get it. I thought for a long time about what to do with such a special buttery length of amazing fabric, the lawn that puts green grass to shame. I thought long and hard about this wonderful piece of cloth, and then I finally made something I knew I could be proud of, a dress that I knew would appeal to my sense of whimsy and my everyday life. Such things are not easy to find, as you well might imagine. So here is this one:

LFA 3.jpgI used my bodice block which I developed with my friend Liz last year, and folded the skirt fabric into place in a new way, which I”m actually pretty happy about.

LFA 4.jpg

I initially thought I would gather or pleat this the way I normally would, but when I was making this skirt I started playing around with it and this is what I came up with. I think it’s rather cute, as it turned out!

LFA 7.jpgOtherwise the construction was very straightforward. I made this dress to take home to Philadelphia, and it turned out to be a lucky thing that I did, because my parents took Mr. Struggle and I out to dinner for my birthday, which was utterly lovely.

LFA 1.jpgAnd I had a dress all ready for the occasion! Which is a rare thing.

LFA 5.jpgI did not quite match up the print in the back. Ah, well, no one is perfect. I still think Dorothy could have gotten drugged in this dress, if she’d wanted to.

LFA 6.jpgWhat else can I say about this, it’s a figure hugging dress with a full skirt. So, my favorite thing there is.

LFA 2.jpgThis dress stood up to an evening of Italian food and a meal full of family bickering and several cocktails. So, basically, it’s up to the task of being a part of my life. And I’m glad to have it. It has yet to cause any soporific effects, but I don’t mind that. I’ll get to that field of poppies when they come.


Filed under Clothing, Sewing

The Dear Emily Skirt

I have to say, I’m a really lucky person when in comes to living with people. A year ago seriously landed on this amazing apartment with one of my really good friends and lo and behold, we actually can live together comfortably, which is a real miracle, honestly. The people you love may not always be the people you can live with but I am so lucky in that I live with my friend Emily, who is the best possible roommate and also a person I love and, and this is REALLY important, never want to slaughter her in her sleep. It’s interesting how big a deal that is….

Our other roommates, Jenny, who has just moved out, and Jordan, who has just moved in, are also amazing and wonderous, but they didn’t buy me the fabric I used to make this skirt, so I’m not going to gush as much for them, although I COULD….

So, Emily, because of her high level of awesomeness, bought me a yard of Liberty of London tana lawn for Hanukkah. She is amazing and bought me a fabric that I love so hard and would literally never buy, because it’s just so the opposite of inexpensive. Thank goodness she liked the cowl I knitted her in return, because honestly, the second I looked at her gift to me I wanted to run out and buy the contents of a wine store for her. Luckily I’ve had the chance to make her a bunch of things since I started living with her, so I feel like I’m chipping away at this debt, but this is a  Rumpelstiltskin level owing here, so I think it’s going to take a while…I’m up for that.

So what did I do with this treasure? I made a skirt!

DES 3A pencil skirt, to be precise, my favorite of all time, Simplicity 4529, which I’ve made twice now. I love this pattern, and all it’s many many (10!) darts), which do nice things for my whole curvy self. And I wasn’t going to mess around with this fabric and try something new and crazy, I wanted to make damn sure I treated this luscious lawn with the respect it deserves.

DES 4See? Look at that, doing nice things for me all over the place….

Lawn is a fluttery thing, so I underlined this skirt with a white cotton/polyester blend fabric which is actually sheet material I had bought to make Emily curtains! Ha, it’s all thanks to Emily, this skirt.

DES 1Please excuse the wrinkles. I wore this on the Bolt Bus going home to Philadelphia for a friend’s wedding shower (HI, Anna! Oh my lord it’s only a week and a half until the wedding ahhhhhhhhh!) and it got a bit fatigued by the trip. And then my mother was like, making me take MORE photos for you, what a draaaaaaaag. But she did it! My mom is the best mom.

DES 7I need to keep talking about this fabric. Because it is magical.

DES 11

It’s also buttery and smooth and soft and gorgeous, oh, I cannot CANNOT say enough about Liberty of London. I know, blah blah blah, everyone who sews knows it’s fabric-crack, or doesn’t buy the hype, but let me tell you something, the hype is helplessly correct, because this is a joy to sew with and to wear. Normally I don’t even bother about how something is to sew, because unlike knitting you don’t spend as much time touching fabric as you do touching yarn, so I don’t think about the process of sewing as much as how it’s going to be to wear. But this, oh, my, can hands have orgasms? DARTS were fun with this thing. DARTS.

DES 5Another back view because when you stitch 10 darts into a skirt YOU WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW IT.

DES 2I love that little Roman-style button, don’t you? Oy, I see some putting on the hand stitching around the zipper, sorry, guys, gotta re-stitch that….

DES 10I hand-stitched the hem, and here you can see that and the underlining. All in all a simple skirt, and something I of course made about a month ago and am only now getting around to blogging. Le sigh.

DEES 6I love this skirt. And it’s all thanks to Emily! Thank you, Emily! And please note, everyone, that if you are ever wondering what would be a good gift for me, well, now you know….And if you forget, just ask Emily. She’s got this.


Filed under Simplicity Patterns, Vintage