Liberty of London – The Crown Jewel of Fabrics

Little known fact, I (Clo) was born in the United Kingdom! So Liberty of London and its unique past is a topic close to my heart.

A Bit of History

Established in 1875 by Arthur Liberty, Liberty of London is a brand renowned in the fabric industry for its range of quality British designs. Aside from fabric, they are also known for fashion, jewelry, and other crafted products. Their Tudor-style brick-and-mortar store in downtown London is overflowing with charm and a rich history.

In fact, when researching the topic, I learned that its construction used recycled timber from two ships – the HMS Hindustan and HMS Impregnable. There is also a weathervane on top of the shop from the HMS Mayflower – the very ship that brought the Pilgrims to America!

This distinguished architecture brings me back to my childhood in the UK where elegant structures like this are not uncommon.

Each one, a work of art

Originally hand-painted by the Liberty design studio in 1957, these Alicia Bell lawns are a sweetly trailing botanical that pays homage to classic ‘30s-style Tana Liberty prints.

Liberty of London’s designers create and/or hand-paint original designs at their in-house design studio. These deisgns are then printed – using both digital printing and screen-printing techniques – at factories in Lancaster and Como, Italy. Their quintessentially British floral prints helped them rise to fame. 

Rich Soil

Rachael wrapped in Liberty of London lawns and feeling like royalty!

Liberty makes their lawns from Egyptian cotton – grown near Lake Tana in Ethiopia (hence the name “Liberty Tana lawns”) – which is why they have such a smooth and luxurious texture. The rich soil of the Nile basin creates the perfect environment for the growth of extra-long Egyptian cotton fibers. It is these long fibers that allow for fewer meeting points, creating a smooth and strong yarn. Because Egyptian cotton yarn is so fine, more threads can be packed in per square inch, allowing for a higher thread count and contributing to the silky feel. 

Liberty of London Tana Lawn are Oeko-Tex 100 certified, setting a standard for reducing harmful chemicals in production. They also use Reactive Dyes which means the color binds with the fiber on a chemical level and it won’t fade with repeated washing.

I’m fascinated by the behind-the-scenes processes of producing Liberty Tana lawns. If you are too, you’ll enjoy this Behind the Scenes video showing the printing process! 

We are so excited to currently be carrying a few Liberty Tana lawns, and plans have been set in motion to carry many more in the future! Their timeless prints are perfect for creating clothing (or quilts) to last a lifetime and beyond.

Familial Connections

I recently visited my parents in Washington State. My mom was hand-sewing a quilt she started 40 years ago, constructed from old clothing items. And a Liberty dress that my grandma had sewn for her when she was a small child was one of the garments included!! It was her special occasion dress – the only Liberty of London dress she can recall owning – and now it shall live on in quilt form!

This is all to say, Liberty fabrics are heirloom quality. When you make something from them you partake in a rich history of sewing, and you keep the tradition alive for generations to come!

~Clo

Sources

History of Liberty London Department Store

Queen Elizabeth and Princess Margaret’s Liberty-Print Dresses to Go Up for Auction

This is me – Clo!

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