Discover the behind the scenes process of bringing a Liberty gifting story to life.
At times, Liberty can appear like a whirlwind of fine product, design and colour, so we’ve decided to go behind the scenes of one of our 2014 Christmas gifting stories and show you how we brought the image to life. We talked to James Millar, Liberty London’s Head of Design, to understand how to take an image from an idea to reality.
As Head of Design for Liberty London, James works with the team to create the Liberty print scarves, small leather goods, bags, men’s ties and pocket squares we have become so celebrated for. For this year’s Christmas, our gifting page required a set of images to bring the whole concept together. Enter the Exploding Scarves story.
The original image is from a 1930s catalogue advertising Liberty scarves.
“What I really love about the original is that all the illustrations are part of a narrative of this character using her Liberty scarf in different scenarios. It’s actually her trying to find a husband!”
“It inspired me because it’s really charming and captivating: I love the innocence of it. The story is very sweet and about how you can wear a Liberty scarf with every outfit, regardless of the occasion. It’s of its time in a very innocent way.”
To translate James’ exploding scarves sketch into a three-dimensional piece, a team including art director, photographer, set builder, stylist and creative director were pulled together.
In preparation, the set designers had to custom-make a giant purple Liberty box, the centre-piece of the image.
On the day, the whole process took about seven or eight hours just to set up.
“They (the set designers) had to wire all the scarves individually and also hang them using fishing line. It was very lengthy and tedious. Lots of tweaking: a real mission impossible with all the wires, we were constantly hearing, ‘Don’t touch it!’ in case you knocked anything.”
We hope you will agree that the final result was worth the hours of effort.
Shop the heritage Liberty scarves that inspired the shoot.
The lovely Liberty Design Studio creatives have designed a giant Liberty print-covered letter sculpture for the Hampton Court Flower show.
Last week three members from our lovely wholesale design studio spent a busy few days at the Hampton Court Flower Show, creating a beautiful and inspiring Liberty print patchwork letter ‘I’ to greet the thousands of visitors who will enter over the coming week.
Head of Design Emma Mawston said, “The interior and rear side of the letter represent over thirty years of Liberty history, and the classic designs Liberty is so famous for. The fabrics were arranged in a beautifully random way as we don’t work to specific colour stories when colouring the classics.
The front of the letter is created with blue, pink and purple swatches to blend with the colour the other letters were painted. We started with blues, moving into pinks and then purples. The designs were mainly from the fashion fabric collection with a few classics included. The purple front of the letter being very apt as it represents the colour of Liberty.
The side on show has more of a graded colour distribution as our seasonal fashion fabric collections are created with specific palettes. The designs are placed to represent from the bottom upwards: earth, grass and flowers with the sky, clouds and sunshine at the top. Prints used were a selection of styles by the Liberty Art Fabrics design studio, The Liberty Archive and 25 artist and group collaborations including Grayson Perry, Rachel de Thame, John Malkovich, Florence Welch and Deborah Landis.”
Visit Hampton Court Flower Show this week to see the design studio’s printed masterpiece and tweet us your pictures @LibertyLondon.
Mollie Makes contributor, Allison Sadler, shows us how to make her table decoration wedding ideas for Liberty print bunting and jam jars.
When you’re planning a wedding, time is of the essence. Allison Sadler from lifestyle fashion and art shop, The People, in Birmingham, has offered to share her quick, easy and free craft project will pretty up your tables in no time and ‘wow’ your guests with very little effort.
– You will need a pretty selection of Liberty fabric (don’t be afraid to mix it up a little bit here, using different prints and florals will give your bunting a more hand crafted look, perfect for a vintage style DIY wedding theme)
– Two empty jam jars
– A pair of knitting needles
– Some string
– A little lace to trim
1) Decide what size you want each flag to measure and cut yourself a cardboard template. For cute mini bunting like the one I’ve made here, I used a template that measures 4.5cm x 14cm, but you could go to town and make bigger flags if you fancy!
2) Using a selection of all the fabrics, draw around the template and cut a total of 8 flags.
3) These mini bunting garlands would probably work better for smaller table settings but you can cut as many flags as you like until you are happy you have enough.
4) Fold your flags in half ready for the sewing machine (or you could stitch them by hand if you prefer).
5) Stitch each flag across the top to create a little space for threading your string through, continue until all your flags are complete.
6) Flags complete, now its time to thread them onto your stripy string (if you use a little safety pin, it will make this job a whole lot easier).
7) Tie your string of flags onto your wooden knitting needles, if you haven’t got knitting needles you could use some wooden doweling, but I think the needles look really cute!
Ta da! All done in no time at all, now to pretty up those jam jars…
8) Take your jam jar and measure a piece of fabric and lace trim that fits all the way around adding on 1cm extra for stitching up the back seam.
9) Stitch your lace trim onto your strip of fabric, you could use some lovely ribbons, too, for extra prettiness.
10) With right sides of the fabric together, stitch up the back seam.
11) Do the same for the other jar, slip the cover over the top and bingo.. your jars are looking gorgeous!
*Top Tip* – I promise after this little project you will never want to throw your empty jars in the recycling bin again, they make great tea light holders too! You can spray paint them, add buttons and bows and there’s a whole heap of gorgeous Liberty fabrics and trimmings for you to explore – the possibilities are endless. Just have fun with them and let your creativity shine.
12) Now for the best bit, putting your handiwork together, firstly fill up your jars with some water, add a few flowers to match your colour theme and pop your mini flag bunting into the jars… So there we have it, simple, stylish, fuss-free wedding table decorations with minimum effort and amazing results, and still plenty of time left over for planning the rest of your big day.
Purl Soho share their Liberty print wedding garter tutorial to add a little something new and blue for your big day traditions.
Purl and Purl Patchwork are yarn and fabric shops based in Soho, New York. They are also one of our international suppliers of Liberty fabric. The Purl Bee is the inspirational blog for both the stores and they’ve very kindly shared with us their free craft tutorial on how to make your own Liberty print garter – perfect if you’re trying to think of crafty wedding ideas for a big day coming up soon!
This wedding garter is the perfect “something blue” for a bride to be. It’s very simple to make and comes together in a flash.
1/4 yard Liberty Tana Lawn in Betsy
1 spool white elastic thread
1 spool 100% cotton thread
A hand sewing needle
CUTTING AND PREPARING TO SEW
- Iron the fabric
- Cut a 5-inch strip from selvage to selvage
- Iron the strip in half lengthwise
To prepare for sewing, wind a bobbin with the elastic thread. Do this just as you would wind any bobbin on your machine. Load the bobbin in the machine and then load the blue cotton thread as the top thread.
You will want to do a few test runs before starting to sew on your strip. Using a piece of scrap fabric try sewing with the elastic thread in the bobbin and the cotton thread on the top. Adjust the tension of your machine until both sides of the fabric look neat and puckered.
Once you’ve settled on your tension sew along the entire pressed middle fold of the strip with the right side of the fabric facing up as pictured above.
Next sew a line parallel and 1/4-inch to the left of the first line. As you can see from the picture above the 1/4-inch mark on the foot should line up with the first sewn line as you are sewing. You will have to pull the fabric straight as it’s being sewn. This will get a bit harder as you keep going and have more elastic sewing to deal with, but it’s actually pretty fun.
Sew another line to left of the last one and then two lines to the right of the first middle line, all 1/4-inch apart from one another. You will have five centered sewn lines. The picture above is from the wrong side of the strip so you can see the elastic thread lines clearly.
Next sew 3/4-inches in from either edge of the strip. Make sure that you are always sewing with the fabric right side up.
Fold the strip in half lengthwise, right sides together, and pin it together along the raw edge.
Sew this seam together with a 1/2-inch seam allowance. Again, you should pull the fabric straight as it goes through the machine.
After you’ve sewn this seam turn the piece right side out.
Iron the piece as flat as you can as you stretch it. This will accent and tidy up the ruffles.
Measure the circumference of the bride’s thigh and cut the pressed piece 3 inches shorter than that measurement without stretching it. For example. If the bride’s thigh is 20-inches around cut the garter to be 17-inches.
Tuck the raw edge of one side 1/2-inch inside of itself. Slide the other (un-tucked) side 1/2-inch into the tucked side.
Sew the two sides together with a slip stitch using the blue cotton thread.
All done! Now the bride can check off “something new” and “something blue” from her list!
The Wild At Heart team inspire us with their creative bouquet arrangements using Liberty print.
If you’re busy planning to get hitched this summer, you might have been thinking about wedding and craft ideas to make your big day stand our from all the rest. Our friends at Wild At Heart florists know a thing or two about stunning flower arrangements. So, naturally, who better to ask for wedding bouquet advice and inspiration than our very own green-fingered team in-store?
One way to make a bride’s or bridesmaid’s bouquet last longer is to inject it with pretty Liberty print fabric roses. Depending on your colour scheme, choose fabrics that match or compliment the natural blooms. Here, the girls have chose to use Meadow C and Glenjade R Liberty print Tana Lawn cotton, which they have folded and twisted into flowers. If this seems too complicated, wrapping the stems in a toning fabric of your choice is a simple and effective way to add an individual touch.
Of course, every bride needs a groom and it’s tradition for his buttonhole corsage to match his bride’s bouquet…
Did you use Liberty print at your wedding? Share your designs from the big day with us using #SewLiberty.