This week we’re looking back at the origins of another two of our famous floral prints, which are now firmly rooted in the Classics collection, Floribunda and Edenham.
Floribunda, which is Latin for ‘many-flowering’, is a delicate miniature floral trailing print which is not as old as you would initially think. Designed in 1982 by Allan Thomas, Floribunda was first printed on a base cloth called the Jubilee which was a woollen and cotton mix. It later became a Classic Tana lawn fabric in 1997 where it has remained ever since.
Edenham has also been part of the Classic Tana Lawn family since 1997 and was designed for Liberty in 1994 from inspiration taken from designs in the archive. The floral print is made up of eight colours, printed with the same amount of screens, and has so far has been printed in forty-five different colourways.
Edenham is one of the most recognisable Classical Liberty fabrics with a myriad of products adorned by this multi-coloured floral. Compact mirrors, handkerchiefs, ties and watches to name just a few, choose yourself something liberty print from our Edenham edit.
Floribunda (left), Edenham (right).
Join us as we explore the history of the dress fabric prints featured in the latest Nike X Liberty collaboration
Whilst we wait with baited breath for the arrival of Nike X Liberty’s latest collection of printed footwear, we turn our attention to the iconic designs featured in the new SS14 range. Some of Nike’s most famous styles have been adorned with seasonal floral and paisley patterns, including the Nike Air Max, Internationalist and Dunk Sky Hi trainers. Though all three signature prints used have been given a modern, fresh blue colourway, this collection of patterns is steeped in Liberty’s design history. Lora, Anoosha and Crown are all either based on, or inspired by the rich heritage found in the Liberty archives. With references to the Aesthetic and Art Deco movements, these decorative designs hark back to a by-gone era, yet play up to some of this season’s hottest trends. Invest in these patterns to ease yourself into the oriental, floral and folk aesthetics synonymous with the SS14 trends.
Lora is based on William Morris’ prolific Willow design from 1874. Appealing to followers of the Aesthetic Movement, this print featured a repeated leaf pattern which was then applied to a range of wallpapers for interior decoration. The theme of the Willow tree and its leaves appears frequently in the oriental inspired objet d’art and furniture of the time. This pull to the East was an attempt to inject new life into the abhorred cheery, chocolate box homewares of the Victorian age, with beauty in nature a prominent visual theme throughout the movement. Liberty’s re-worked 1970s version, used in the Nike collaboration, is reminiscent of the blue and white china that became so popular in the 19th Century. It refers to the Chinoiserie designs of a different time, yet is very in keeping with summer’s fascination with all things Oriental.
Anoosha, originally Floral Blotch, is a typical 1930s floral, completed at Liberty’s Merton Abbey Mills print works. This small, stylised trail print is a good example of the designs of the time, when floral prints of this kind held prominence in women’s fashion. A more free-form style was adopted to produce designs closely allied with the Art Deco movement. Art Deco aimed to move away from more traditional, realistic representations of nature in an attempt to revise existing, outdated ideas about design. Women’s fashion at the time had revisited the romantic, with focus firmly back on the waist, and a neo-classical female figure. This transition can be attributed to the sombre mood the Depression, and was an attempt to regain some of the traditional values lost in the decadent 1920s. Emphasis was placed on the great outdoors and healthy living, with fashion focussed on a range of wearable “sportswear” pieces. Today, you can celebrate this rich heritage with Nike’s Anoosha print trainers, whilst embracing the romantic and sports-luxe trends of the season.
Crown is based on various paisley-style block prints discovered in the Liberty archive. The Paisley motif originates from Persia and India, and has been documented to represent a stylised floral and cypress tree pattern. A symbol of life, a guardian against evil, and a representation of rebellion, this pattern has long been prominent in world-wide fashion history. Imports from colonised India in the 18th and 19th centuries, sparked an obsession amongst the British, which has remained throughout the decades. Notably, this instantly recognisable pattern was closely linked to the psychedelic hippy culture of the late 1960s and 1970s, whose followers turned to the east for spiritual succour and discovery. Today these designs are prevalent in this year’s folklore trend. Revel in this aesthetic with the patchwork and solid designs featured in Nike X Liberty’s new collection.
Shop the SS14 Nike Liberty collection from 7th April 2014, in store and online.
As an award-winning paper cutting artist, Hina Aoyama was the perfect choice to help create a fabric representing the Japanese print department at Liberty. In collaboration with the in-house Liberty design team, Hina helped create the ‘Asaka’ print, part of the fourth floor story in the ‘Gallery of Prints’ Liberty fabric collection. Borrowing a design from one of her intricate scissor-cut creations, the reworked lotus print is a beautiful blend of oriental inspiration and British design.
The lotus print used in ‘Asaka’ is one of your most famous designs, what makes it so special?
This lotus is from my work ‘Immortal Lotus’. The concept behind it is to give my past memories a future by thinking of them. As a human being, we know well enough what we did, but never know what is going to happen, although it’s obvious that the past relates and connects to the future. In the piece you can see a dragonfly melting, showing that the time that has passed will never come back. It fades away, and we should hold onto memories while moving forward to live in the future.
Was there a particular theme you wanted to get across with your design for Liberty?
The beautiful ancient lotus grows in the mud; I find smartness and ambition in the Lotus.
What were the differences in creating a design for fabric compared to paper, did you need to adapt the design process?
My paper cutting work is only monochrome. Collaborating with Liberty was colourful, so I found new possibilities. In my monochrome work, I intend everyone to ‘see’ their own colour into the pieces. What Liberty did with my design is very unique, as the designers saw their own colours in the print.
What were your experiences of Liberty before creating the fabric, had you bought any Liberty fabric before?
These days almost all of my belongings are Liberty print! I really love it. I heard that this year a famous men’s brand is using Liberty print, I cannot wait to see it.
How did your designs evolve into the intricate creations that they are now?
Since 2000, when I started paper cutting, I have lived in the Alps and the Jura mountains. I think that all the themes in my work are related to the Earth’s problems: nature, human rights or animal protection.
How do you ensure that the traditional and the modern work together in your artwork?
I am proud to be Japanese-born and also pay respect to foreign culture, so I try to combine this together with my spirit and experience.
Will you be taking anything from the experience of creating a fabric back into your own work?
I can see many possibilities now.
Will you be making anything from your Liberty fabric?
I’m excited to have more things in Liberty print! I’m ordering a dress, and a bag. Someday I want to make a unique Yukata [traditional Japanese dress] with Liberty print.
Easter crafts with children’s accessories designer, Lisa Foreman
Children’s toys and accessories designer, Lisa Foreman, has put together an easy-to-follow guide to create your very own Liberty print rabbit, complete with pompom tail. Featured in issue 25 of inspirational sewing projects magazine, Mollie Makes, this design is the perfect past time for even novice sewers. Find out more about Lisa and follow her step-by-step tutorial below to fashion an adorable bunny friend in time for Easter.
Lisa’s enthusiasm for crafting began with lessons from her grandmother and aunt when she was eight. Since then she’s graduated from making a wardrobe of clothes for Strawberry Shortcake dolls to creating soft toys and homewares for her website, www.elske.co.uk. Particularly inspired by retro colours and Scandinavian design, she developed a range of animals and appliquéd pinafores after making a cat called Patch for her daughter.
Step by step instructions
Here’s an easy-make wabbit with lots of character. Stitch with some leftover fabric or maybe that special piece you’ve been dying to use for a while. Change his expression by tweaking his mouth, whiskers, or the angle of his ears.
1. Use one fabric for the body and a coordinating fabric for the arms, legs and ears. Fold the fabrics right sides (RS) together and then cut out your pieces using these templates. Do the same for your felt pieces.
2. Make a small pom-pom for the rabbit’s tail. A pom-pom maker is really handy but you could also use two ring-shaped pieces of cardboard. Leave the ends of the securing piece of cotton long as they’re used to attach the tail to the fabric. For a denser pom-pom, make a slightly larger one than is needed, then trim it to size.
3. Attach the pom-pom to one of the body pieces by using a needle to pull through each end of thread and secure tightly with a knot.
4. Sew the eyes and nose onto the other body piece using two strands of black embroidery thread. Use back stitch and the same embroidery thread to create the mouth and whiskers. This could be done freehand, or use a soluble embroidery pen to trace the design, and then embroider over the lines. A spray of water will eradicate any traces of the line.
5. Use two strands of white embroidery thread to sew a cross in the centre of each eye. This brings the face to life and gives your rabbit character. Machine sew or back stitch the felt pieces to the front body and ear pieces.
6. Place each set of ear, arm and leg pieces RS together. Pin or tack, then machine sew, leaving roughly 0.5cm seam allowance. Zig-zag stitch around each leg and arm to prevent fraying – remember to leave a gap for stuffing later on.
7. Turn each ear, arm and leg RS out (a chopstick, knitting needle or similar pointy tool is really helpful here) then press, turning the raw edges of the holes in neatly. Pressing makes it much easier to sew up the holes later on.
8. At the base of each ear, fold the outside edges into the centre and secure both sides together with a stitch (don’t worry, this will be removed later).
9. Arrange and pin the ears, arms and legs onto the front body piece, and tack into place. This stops the pieces from having a will of their own and moving when you sew the body pieces together.
10. Pin the body pieces, RS together, and machine sew leaving a 0.5cm seam allowance. Just like before when you were sewing the limbs together, make sure you leave a gap for both turning and stuffing. Then zig-zag stitch around the edge to prevent fraying, and trim any excess.
11. Turn RS out and cut away the tacking stitch on the ears.
12. Fill the arms, legs and body tightly with stuffing (your chopstick or knitting needle will come in handy again). Then fold the raw edges in and sew the holes up using blind stitch. Say hello to your finished rabbit!
Ever wanted to learn how to make your very own clothing, but found the thought of following a dress pattern more daunting than Everest? Print aficionado, Keighley is here to put you at ease. We caught up with Liberty’s loveliest print designer to pick up some dress making tips, and pry into the world of the Liberty Design Studio and what it’s like to work there. We also got a glimpse of Keighley’s collection of handmade garments – flirty floral frocks, retro A-line minis and a host of snug fleece sweatshirts – all enough to make you green with wardrobe envy.
How long have you been a print designer at Liberty, and how did you end up working in the Liberty print design team?
I’ve been at Liberty for about two and a half years. I studied fashion print at Central St. Martins and was on a sandwich course so I could spend a year in the industry before my final year, most of which I spent at Liberty. I loved it and was offered a job for when I finished my degree which was really exciting.
What part of the print design process do you love and find the most exciting?
I love the actual designing part the most; drawing, painting or lino printing the design. But getting the brief and the research part, when I’ve got lots of ideas buzzing around my head, is pretty exciting too. Once the design has been approved the colouring stage is really interesting. When the design starts to be coloured it really comes to life and it always amazes me how colour can transform the design.
You sometimes go on field trips to get inspiration for the seasonal fabric designs. What has been the most memorable trip you’ve taken with the team?
The most memorable trip was Florence. One of the other designers and I went at the end of last year and it was just incredible. There is so much beauty packed into such a small city. We went for three days and managed to see so many inspiring things, I can’t go into too much detail as it was research for Autumn/ Winter 2015 – which is still very top secret!
Working so many seasons in advance, how do you ensure designs will remain relevant and current?
It’s great working so far in advance because it allows us to almost set the trends and create designs that will go on to inspire others who will use the fabrics in their collections. Our briefs are always so inspiring and within our collections we try to create gorgeous designs and beautiful colours that will appeal to a variety of customers. We also have an innovation team who search for great new base fabrics to put our designs on to. We have recently launched denim and fleece, which are both amazing and so wearable (I think I have five Liberty fleece jumpers now!).
What is your favourite Liberty print, and what does it mean to you?
Oh that’s quite a hard question! I’m going to have to mention a few. I’m quite attached to all of my designs as I work on them for so long, then we can name them after someone and that makes you feel even more attached! I named my very first design ‘Jacqueline Helena’ after my mum; I designed it at St. Martins when we did a collaboration competition with Liberty in our second year. My first design as a designer here was inspired by sound and was named after my brother, ‘Joshua Graham’. I also love ‘Kevin’ (my dad!), a design from Autumn/ Winter 2014 which was inspired by star constellations. From Spring/ Summer 2014, I think my favourites are ‘Sheree’ which was inspired by the Liberty Bath House and named after my auntie, and ‘Jess and Jean’ which was inspired by the furnishing room. I’ve just seen that Sessùn have used it for a dress which I’m really excited to buy. I haven’t even mentioned the designs I love that I haven’t designed! I must just mention ‘Alice’s Garden’, a design from Autumn/ Winter 2013. This is ‘Anna’s garden’ (also a beautiful print which was inspired by a scarf print from the archive) made really tiny and put onto fleece, it’s just gorgeous. ‘Wild Flowers’ from Autumn/ Winter 2014 was created from a paper cut sculpture of a botanical book, it was also printed on fleece, so I made a gorgeous jumper and also recently upholstered my wooden desk chair cushion with it, which looks lovely.
Is it true there is a print named after you? Have you made anything from the design?
Yes! ‘Keighley’ was designed in Spring/ Summer 2012, I absolutely love it and have brought metres of it. I can’t decide what to make, it has to be something special. Luckily, Paige Denim used ‘Keighley’ and made a really cute pair of denim shorts which I obviously bought.
You make many of your own items using Liberty print, what has been your favourite project so far?
When I was interning I collected lots of different scraps and made a quilt which is on my bed so I love waking up to that. But making clothes is fun; being able to see something I like then try and re-create it is great. I went through a phase of making lots of fleece jumpers, but at the moment I seem to be making lots of A-line mini skirts out of the denim and also material from our new Furnishing Fabrics collection. I also really enjoy making presents, it’s lovely to give someone something you’ve made, even if it’s something little.
Many people feel daunted by the prospect of making clothing, what advice or encouragement do you have for those first timers?
Don’t be daunted! It really is quite easy if you start with something simple, like an elasticated skirt, for example, or a T-shirt style dress. The best way to start is to get hold of a garment that you like the shape of and that you can ideally cut up to create a pattern. It’s a really good way of seeing how garments are put together and the more you practice the more you will get used to knowing what the patterns need to look like to be able to fit the body. Trial and error is the best way to learn if you haven’t had any training in it.
Finally, will you be making anything from the new season ‘Gallery of Prints’ collection? If so, which print will you be using?
As we design so far ahead I’ve had the Spring/ Summer ’14 fabric around for a while, so I’ve made a smock dress from ‘Jonathan’, some boxer shorts and an iPad case out of ‘Sheree’ and lots of cushions out of ‘Jess and Jean’, which look lovely. Also, a little rag doll for my niece’s first birthday with a patchwork dress of ‘Sheree’, ‘Jess and Jean’, ‘Jennie and Steve’ and few other designs from other seasons. I went to have a look at the collection on the shop floor the other day and was reminded of how much I love ‘Isle of Wight’, so I really want to make something out of that… I’m not sure what yet.