In 1875, Arthur Lasenby Liberty opened a store filled with ornaments, fabric, and art inspired by the exotic and mysterious Orient. You may be more familiar with the Selfridge or Harrod department stores, but Arthur Liberty was a visionary in the design world and the now iconic department store sits on Marlborough Street in a grand tudor style building with bright windows with flowers spilling out into the street and a coat of arms above the entrance, as it has since being relocated in 1924.
LIBERTY FABRICS - LOVE LILLY TANA LAWN l
So what makes this fabric so special? The cotton was named after Lake Tana, which is located in Sudan, where the raw cotton fiber was grown. Liberty scouted ultrafine long-staple cotton fiber that could be spun much finer than normal cotton fibers. The fabric was originally block printed by hand, but this method proved to be too costly. Screen printing the designs by machine is the method used to produce the fabrics today. Each color is printed on a separate screen, the colors layered one after the other until the print is complete. This is the reason that these fabrics stand the test of time and can be passed on, the reason that vintage scarf or other old Liberty item is just as bright as the day it was purchased.
Sewists are drawn to Liberty Tana Lawn for its luxurious feel. It has a silky hand and gentle drape, yet still provides the ease of sewing with cotton. The fine thread count gives it this silky, delicate feel, but the fabric proves to be quite durable. If it seems out of reach to sew an entire garment from Liberty fabric, get creative with ways to add it in. Liberty on the collar or cuff of a dress or shirt is enough to display some of that iconic Liberty style.
“Liberty of London isn’t just a department store or even just a brand of fabric. It is a tastemaker that has a history of being on the leading edge of decorative arts and textile design. For the last 140 years, Liberty’s signature fabric prints have influenced design movements, fashion designers, and even home sewists.”