Queen of sewing crafts and one of our favourite bloggers, Tilly Walnes takes you through one of her latest sewing projects.
Tilly Walnes is a DIY dressmaker and author of popular sewing blog Tilly and the Buttons. She’s been coveting florals and stripes, so has used Liberty print to add some floral flavour to one of her dresses. We caught up with her to find out what makes this blogger and businesswoman tick:
Do you have any favourite Liberty prints? If so what are they?
I absolutely fell head over heels in love with the Ornithology print. It was designed by Edwyn Collins, based on bird sketches he made daily as part of his rehabilitation following a brain haemorrhage. Not only is the story so inspiring, but the print is absolutely stunning. I’ve got some in my fabric collection but can’t quite bring myself to cut into it!
If you could cover one thing in Liberty print, what would it be?
Why, myself of course! Making dresses is my favourite thing to do in the world, plus you get to wear them out and about and show off the gorgeous fabrics.
What was the first thing you sewed?
The very first thing I sewed was a tote bag. The second was a yellow floral dress. There were a few mishaps along the way, from stabbing myself with pins to nearly sewing up the armpits, but the dress came together nicely in the end. I very proudly wore it out to a New Year’s Eve party the next day!
Who are your sewing icons?
I am addicted to reading sewing blogs, and have so much admiration for all the talented people out there showcasing what they’ve made and sharing tips to help others to do likewise. A couple of favourites include Paunnet and What Katie Sews – they both have a strong sense of their own personal style and consistently make gorgeous things.
What has been your favourite sewing project so far?
That’s like asking me to choose a favourite child! I can’t pick just one, but one of my absolute favourites is a recent project – a colour blocked Coco dress with a turquoise yoke and striped bodice. I also love my Moonrise Kingdom-inspired jacket – it has lots of lovely details such as bound buttonholes, a houndstooth lining and a mini cape, which I do believe is called a “capelet”!
Where do you get inspiration for new sewing projects?
Much of my dressmaking inspiration comes from the late 1960s, in particular from French New Wave films (I have a master’s degree in film history and lived in Paris in my early twenties). Many of the modern, young styles still look so fresh today. Oh, and a non-official strapline for my dressmaking designs is “What would Zooey Deschanel wear?!”
What inspired you in the first place to make sewing such a big part of your life?
It all started when I was working an office job and suddenly had an overwhelming urge to make something with my hands. I felt like I’d lost the creativity I’d enjoyed as a child and wanted to rekindle that feeling, so I signed up to a beginner dressmaking class. I fell head over heels in love with sewing from that point on, started my blog, and never looked back! Gradually my blog grew, and eventually I decided to take the leap from my other career so I could share my love of dressmaking full time. I wrote my book and am now focusing on building up my sewing patterns and workshops.
What do you think of the younger generation of sewing enthusiasts?
It’s absolutely wonderful that a new generation of people are discovering the joy of making your own clothes. Everything I do with Tilly and the Buttons is about encouraging more people to take up dressmaking, particularly those who have never learnt to sew. Traditional sewing resources can, unfortunately, be intimidating to the uninitiated, with their technical language and confusing diagrams, which is why my own sewing patterns translate the jargon and include colour photos of the steps. I want people to enjoy the process and feel proud of what they’ve made at the end of it.
Finally, if you were locked in the Liberty haberdashery department for a night, what would you do?
Well I wouldn’t get any sleep, that’s for sure! I’d be up all night fashioning a gorgeous dress out of the most beautiful fabric I could find. And of course I’d pay for it in the morning.
THE PROJECT: HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN FLORAL & STRIPES PATTERN
‘Recently I’ve become a little bit obsessed with a couple of outfits I’ve seen on Pinterest which combine delicate floral prints with bold stripes to create a modern, feminine style. So I decided to recreate this look myself, by incorporating appliqué Liberty floral fabric cut-outs into a dressmaking project. I’ve used Edna B Tana Lawn Liberty print.’
If you want to make the dress shown below, you can buy Tilly’s sewing pattern. Alternatively, just grab an existing top or dress from your wardrobe to give it a whole new look.
You will need:
¼ metre Liberty print fabric (larger designs work best, and you may need less depending on your design)
Coco sewing pattern (see above) + 2m – 2.7m striped low-stretch knit fabric (or an existing striped top or dress)
Iron-on transfer paper (eg. Bondaweb)
Iron, ironing board and pressing cloth (a piece of cotton muslin or a tea towel will work)
Sewing machine OR hand sewing need
Thread (either contrast or matching)
How to make:
If you’re making your dress from scratch, cut out your garment fabric. You’ll find it easier to stitch the motifs onto the flat pieces of fabric before they have been sewn together. If you want to place the flowers draping over the shoulder as shown, attach the sleeves to the bodice first, but wait to sew up the underarm and side seam until you have added the appliqué. If you’re appliqué -ing onto an existing top or dress, just be careful not to catch the underside of your garment in the stitching.
Choose the areas of the floral design that you want to appliqué onto your top or dress, and cut a large square around them.
Place the fabric face down on an ironing board, then place a piece of iron-on transfer paper on top, with the shiny adhesive side face down. (Make sure the paper is smaller than the fabric, otherwise it’ll stick to your ironing board – doh!) Apply a hot, dry iron (no steam) on top for about 5 seconds to fuse the paper to the fabric.
Cut out the floral motifs, leaving a couple of mm stitching allowance around the sides of the flowers.
Decide where you want to put the motifs on your dress. You may want to dot them all over, just on the sleeves, or on another area of the garment. Peel off the paper backing and carefully lay the motif sticky side down onto the garment fabric.
Lay a pressing cloth over the top and use the iron to fuse the motif to the garment fabric for about 10 seconds.
Now you can stitch around the motif, a couple of mm from the edge. You can do this on your sewing machine using a long stitch (3 – 4mm), taking your time to carefully navigate the curves and corners. Alternatively you could simply hand sew it using a running stitch.
If you’re sewing your dress from scratch, you can now stitch it together following the pattern instructions.
Et voila! You have a gorgeous – and unique – new dress
We love to see all your crafty makes, so why not share them with us on Twitter or Pinterest using #SewLiberty.
Feeling inspired, why not get crafting this weekend and make your own Liberty print piece? Discover our newest arrivals in Liberty print here.
Contemporary fine jewellery brand Eva Fehren take us behind the scenes at their New York studio.
Eva Fehren was launched in 2011 by New York-based designer and artist, Eva Zuckerman, along with her business partner and long-time friend Ann Gorga. The Eva Fehren collection features beautiful and conceptual fine jewellery designs inspired by the industrial and architectural landscape of their native city. Combining contrasting elements, such as strong and structured shapes with organic elements like precious stones and metals, Eva maintains a delicate, feminine aesthetic with a modern, sharp edge.
Eva gives us a glimpse behind the scenes of day-to-day life at her city studio.
How have you decorated the Eva Fehren studio?
I try to communicate the aesthetic of my brand in everything I do, right down to the furnishings of the office. I decorated my office with a combination of my art as well as things that inspire me, including hides, marble and a custom-made whitewashed work surface. And it probably comes as no surprise, everything is white, black and grey!
Do you have any moodboards/inspirations for the next collection that you can share?
I often put things up on the walls as they inspire me. It helps me stay focused on the overall vision of the brand.
How does the design process work at Eva Fehren?
I spend a lot of time drawing and dreaming of new ideas. My inspiration usually comes from within as opposed to outside references. I love the process of drawing and reworking an idea until it is perfected.
What do you do when you need a creative boost?
I talk to my friends who are artists and designers; I am very fortunate to be surrounded by such a creative community and that my friends are incredibly talented. I lean on them when I feel I need a creative boost.
How do you keep designs fresh while staying on brand?
I am constantly evolving the collection and designing new pieces. I sketch new ideas even when we are not in development and as inspiration hits – this helps me stay in a creative rhythm. I often look back at my sketchbooks to revisit good ideas that may have been passed over and to make sure I am building upon my classic pieces.
What jewellery do you wear every day?
I wear my Eva Fehren X ring every day. I think of it as a badge of strength and I wear my X’s like armor. I feel stronger with it on.
What’s the best thing about working with a friend?
Seeing someone you love every day.
Do you have any work day essentials?
My Givenchy bag, pink tape, a sharpie, my sketchbook and my calipers. And my X ring of course.
Liberty celebrates Diptyque’s most popular perfume of fig-scented candles and perfumes, Figuier and Philosykos.
This summer we’re celebrating the iconic Parisienne perfumer’s best-loved fragrance, Diptyque Figuier scented candles and Philosykos perrfume. The fig-based scent is one of the cornerstones of the Diptyque classics range, thanks to its fresh yet sweet scent. Conjuring up feelings of warm and exotic locations – the Figuier/ Philosykos collection is the perfect scent for holidays and warm, sunny days.
Philosykos is the quintessential summer fragrance: when I smell it, I am transported to the Mediterranean Sea – Julie, Diptyque Counter Manager
Meaning ‘friend of the fig tree’, Philosykos is an ode to the entire tree, while Figuier sits among the range of Diptyque candles as a fresh, fruity fragrance intensified by white cedar.
Diptyque Philosykos came about when one of the founders, Yves Coueslant, transported scented fig leaves back to Paris from Greece and found that they didn’t lose their scent, even after some years.
What I like most about Philosykos is the light and fresh scent which reminds me of a sunny day in Greece – Elizabeth, Sales Associate
Shop the Diptyque edit
Guest blogger Kim Niedzwiecki returns again, this time to show us how to a make a cathedral window planner cover. Plan all future sewing projects with this journal and never miss an opportunity to jot down an idea again. You can use all your scraps with this project or treat yourself to some new season’s fabric.
Kim tells us why she chose this project,
‘I wanted to make something that would be a great scrap buster, something beautiful, and something useful. The printed fabrics were the four inch squares (approximate measurements) treasures that were not used in the Lovetag quilt that I made last year. This planner cover has a secure closure and a zippered pocket to make sure that you have everything you need and that it will all stay put while you are on the go!’
An inexpensive planner measuring 8 ½ inches x 5 ½ inches
Two 6 1/2 inch x 2 inch strips
Two 3 inch x 2 inch strips
Three 4 1/2 inch squares
One 11 inch x 5 1/2 inch (for zipper pocket)
One 13 inch x 3/4 inch x 10 inch (for the liner) or you can use muslin
Fabric scraps for the scrappy cover I used 50 4 in squares
Three 2 inch square print fabric
Two 1 1/4 inch square print fabric
One 4 inch x 3 1/2 inch
Two 3 inch x 4 inch (for zipper tabs)
Lightweight fusible interfacing (I used all Pellon interfacing)
Two 10 inch x 5 1/2 inch pieces
Paper backed fusible web
Three 2 inch squares
Two 1 1/4 inch squares
Medium weight fusible interfacing
One 4 inch x 3 1/2 inch piece
Other bits and bobs
Thread ( for this project I used Aurifil 40wt)
Buttons of your choice
9 inch zipper
Snap or Velcro for your closure
Cathedral Windows Block
Firstly measure your cathedral window base fabric you will need 3 x 4.5″ squares.
Fold each in half and sew the short ends closed.
Match up the center seams.
Then sew the top, leaving a space in the middle to turn.
Next trim the corners, then using a turner or the back of a small paintbrush (that is what I used) try to get the points as nice a possible. Then give your square a good press!
Press edges in to give you a guide for your center fabric.
To connect the windows, take two blocks and line the corners up.
Pin the tip and sew along the pressed line and repeat the process on the opposite side.
Sashing of the cathedral windows
Press the 2″ fabric strips under 1/4″.
Pin to the back of the windows with the press mark lined up with the press mark of the window. Stitch into place and stop 1/4″ from the edge.
Take the other strip, again pressing under 1/4″ and pin it.
Open the cathedral window and sew along the seam making sure to stop at the edges of the window.
Flip the window edge over and sew the strips together making sure not to sew the window edge.
Attach paper backed fusible interfacing to the printed fabrics. The large background prints are 2″ and the smaller ones are approx 1 1/4″.
The edges for the larger blocks will be exposed and the interfacing will help to keep them looking tidy and in place.
The window curves fall naturally into place when folded over. You can pin or glue baste them into place prior or just go pin free!
You can see that the centers are not perfect and that is perfectly okay!
These are going to be covered by buttons so no worries about a little wonky. If you wish to not have buttons, you can hand stitch the centers of the windows together before you add the sashing.
Trim the block to 7″ x 2 1/2″.
To finish the outer cover, dig into your Liberty print scrap bin and start piecing scraps together.
Make enough of the patchwork squares to create a center action that measures 14 1/2″ x 12″. Two side flap sections that will measure 11″ x 4″ and 11″ x 3″ for the zippered flap. The back flap will measure 11″ x 5 1/2″.
Sew them all up until you have enough to measure 14 1/2″ x 12″.
Find you favorite buttons and hand stitch them on!
For the quilting, I chose straight lines with 40wt Aurifil. The 40wt gives quilting with a little more “show” and the straight lines do on compete with the beautiful flow of the cathedral windows. I used my presser foot as my guide that made for quick, easy and somewhat precise quilting lines.
After the quilting trim this section to 13 3/4″ x10″.
The tabs are two 3″ x 4″ pieces of fabric. Press ends under 1/4″ and then fold in half.
Fold over the end of the zipper and using a 1/4″ seam sew into place.
Repeat this process with other end.
Piece together two sections, one 11″ x 4″ and one 11″ x 3″ cut matching pieces of lightweight interfacing ( I used Pellon SF-101) and attach interfacing using the manufactures recommendations.
Sew each section to a solid piece of fabric using a 1/4″ seam.
Time to put on your zipper foot.
Turn the fabric over and press giving a nice finished edge. Place the section on one side of the zipper. You can either pin or glue baste in place if you desire. Sew each side down along side the zipper using a stitch length of 3.3 or your preferred length.
Your zipper pocket flap is finished!
Trim the zippered pouch to 10″ x 5″ and lay the zipper front on the 10″ x 5″ piece of solid fabric.
Return your stitch length to about 2.5 and using a 1/4″ seam to sew around the entire rectangle, this creates your pocket.
For the second inner flap, take the other 11″ x 5 1/2″ pieced rectangle, attach your interfacing and trim to 10″ x 5″ then put these two flaps aside.
Cut a 4″ x 3″ piece of fabric and a 4″ x 3″ piece of heavyweight fusible interfacing ( I used Pellon Craft Fuse). Attach interfacing using the manufacturer’s instructions.
Right side facing sew around two sides of the fabric to create a tube and trim the edges.
Turn the tube right side out and topstitch around three edges.
At this point you have a choice between fasteners. You can use snaps ( that was my choice) or you can use velcro. For my snap closure, I hid the male snap piece between the fabrics by using the opening at the bottom to wiggle it to the top. If you will be using velcro you can add this now and maybe try a decretive stitch to make it more fun!
Construction of the Planner
Lay the flap pieces right sides facing to the front and the back of the main panel and sew using a 1/4″ seam.
Leave a 2″ opening in the middle of the back flap to create a space for your tab to be inserted.
Insert the snap on the right side checking to make sure of the correct placement and mark the spot for the placement of the female side of the snap or the Velcro.
Sew in place and trim the excess, next add the other side of the snap or the velcro to your planner cover.
Press seams toward the center panel and the lay the muslin or 13″ x 3/4″ x 10″ fabric on top solid fabric.
Sew entirely around the panel starting on the back flap leaving a 4″ opening at the bottom so you will be able to turn the cover right side out.
After you have finished sewing, trim all the corners. Turn the sewing journal right side out and press.
Pin the flaps in toward the center, pin and then sew using a 1/4″ seam around the entire cover.
Make sure to trim or bury your threads.
Follow Kim on Twitter @gogokim
You can share your Liberty print projects with us on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest by using #SewLiberty.
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