Make This: Liberty Print Pyjama Shorts with Lauren Guthrie

Friday 19th September 2014, 11.00




Lauren Guthrie talks us through her latest Liberty print project and tells us about a life wrapped up in all things sewing.

Lauren Guthrie

Author of popular sewing blog Guthrie and Ghani, Lauren Guthrie has a true passion for sewing. When she’s not teaching workshops or completing her own sewing projects, she runs a haberdashery in Birmingham with her husband, Ayaz. As she shows us how to ad a statement Liberty print trim to a summer loungewear staple, we asked Lauren how her crafting empire came about.

How did you get into sewing; what was the first project you made?
I first got into sewing when I was only 4 years old. My Mum was a dressmaker and worked from home, so the house was always full of sewing projects. She taught me how to make a hand sewn stitch sampler that came as a kit – I’ve still got it up on my wall now!

Did you ever see yourself owning a shop dedicated to crafts?
When I was younger I used to dream of having a shop that was full of things that I had made, but now I absolutely love selling fabrics and creating notions for people to make things themselves. I think sewing has so many positive benefits, it’s really rewarding to see that thrive in the customers that come to the shop.

How did the ‘Love Liberty’ section on your blog come about?
I have always loved Liberty fabric and can remember going on a trip to the haberdashery department, all the way from Scotland, when I left school. I was allowed to pick a fabric for my Mum to make me a special outfit. I’m so drawn to the colours, patterns and amazing softness of the fabric that I love to include it in my projects, even if it’s just a little splash here and there – like the lining of a pocket, a bit of bias trim or some buttons. So I thought it would be good to have a whole category on the blog that pulled all of these projects together for people out there who love Liberty.

Do you have any favourite prints?
That is such a hard question… but if my life depended on it, Betsy – in any colourway!

Which sewing skill did you find the hardest to master?
Getting the perfect fit on a garment is always tricky. I’m lucky that usually my proportions fit more or less into the size options on sewing patterns, but there is always something new to learn in terms of getting it spot on.

What tips do you have for someone who wants to start making their own clothes or accessories?
Embrace the mistakes – you can always unpick something and you will learn so much from it so it’s never a waste of time.
Be brave – try something you’ve never attempted before, work through it slowly step by step. Soon you’ll see how it all comes together.
Get the right tools – I know it seems like a big investment but it will make life a lot easier if you have good quality equipment.
Lastly – work with a Liberty fabric! Even if it’s not perfect it’ll still look lovely if it’s made with beautiful fabric!



A basic in everyone’s wardrobe, this lovely pair of comfy pyjama bottoms in a soft cotton fabric is easy to wear and simple to make, too. This project is a really good place to get to grips with following a garment pattern, as you don’t need to worry too much about getting the fit right. This simple shorts version has a contrast panel at the hem.

Pyjama Shorts

You will need:

Up-scale and print the ‘Short’ Shorts Pattern

1.2m (1yd) of main fabric at least 114cm (45in) wide, such as medium-weight cotton

60cm (yd) of contrast fabric at least 114cm (45in) wide, such as medium-weight cotton

Coordinating thread

Piece of 2cm (in) elastic half your waist measurement

Piece of iron-on interfacing at least 5cm (2in) square


How to make:

Step 1.

Cut out the fabric pieces following the cutting layout and, using the pattern, cut out the fabric pieces in the two fabrics. Also from the contrast fabric cut two strips 50 x 5cm (20 x 2in) for ties. Transfer all pattern markings onto the fabric.

Step 2.

Sew the inside leg seams: pin a front piece and a back piece together, right sides facing, along the inside leg edges. Stitch the seam with a 1.5cm (5/8in) seam allowance (used throughout). Press the seam allowances open and finish them off. Repeat to join the other inside leg seam.

Shorts step 3

Step 3.

Sew side seams: pin and stitch the side seams, with right sides facing. Finish off the seam allowances together and press them towards the front.

Step 4

Step 4.

Add contrast border: pin and stitch the front and back panels together at the side edges; press the seams open. At the top (un-notched) edge of the panels press 1.5cm (5/8in) to the wrong side.
Turn the pyjamas wrong side out and pin the border, also wrong side out, around the lower edge of each leg, matching side seams and notches and with the pressed-back edge at the top, as shown. Tack if you wish, then stitch 1.5cm (5/8in) from the lower edge.

Step 5

Step 5.

Finish attaching border: press the border down, away from the pyjamas. Turn the pyjamas right side out, and fold the border up over each leg; press it so that the seam you stitched in Step 4 is at the edge. Pin and tack, then topstitch the border in place 2mm (scant 1/8in) from its top (pressed-under) edge.

Step 6

Step 6.

Sew crotch seam: turn one leg right side out. Place it inside the other leg (turned wrong side out) so that the right sides of the fabric are facing. Match up inner leg seams and front and back notches and pin in place; tack if you wish, then stitch the seam. Press the seam to one side and finish off the raw edges together.

Step 7.

Make the buttonholes: turn under and press 3cm (1 1/4in) along the upper edge of the pyjama bottoms, then turn under and press another 3cm (1 1/4in). This will be stitched later to form the casing for the elastic.Now open out the folds. Iron the small piece of interfacing to the marking for the buttonhole on each side of the crotch seam. Stitch two buttonholes and cut them open.

Step 8

Step 8.

Stitch the casing: re-fold the casing and pin it in place. Topstitch 2.7cm (generous 1in) down from the top folded edge, leaving a gap of 8cm (3in) along the back. Repeat with a line of topstitching 3mm (1/8in) from the top; this will stop the elastic from twisting.

Step 9

Step 9.

Attach waist ties to elastic: press each tie piece in half lengthways, wrong sides together. Open out this fold and fold the raw edges in to meet the crease.
Re-fold the tie, enclosing the raw edges. Topstitch close to the turned-in edges. Tie a little knot at one end of each tie. Attach the un-knotted ends of the ties to the elastic with two or three rows of zigzag stitch.

Step 10

Step 10.

Feed elastic and ties through casing: attach a safety pin to each end of the waist ties. Feed the ties through the gap in the casing you left at the back and out through the buttonholes at the front. Pin the elastic to the top edge of the pyjamas at each side seam, then topstitch it in place. Topstitch the gap in the casing to close it. (You will have to stretch the elastic to make the fabric lie flat when you do this.)


As always, we love to see your beautiful Liberty print makes, so why not share them with us on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest #LibertyPrint   #SewLiberty.


You can find even more details, tips and projects in Learn to Sew with Lauren by Lauren Guthrie, published by Mitchell Beazley, £25 (
Images by Nassima Rothacker


Liberty News: Best of British Roundup

Friday 5th September 2014, 12.41



Saturday saw the 9th Liberty Open Call. A brilliant array of new designers, creatives and entrepreneurs came along with their innovative new designs and wares to show our expert and experienced panel of judges. We chatted to some of the movers and shakers on the day.

Liberty Open Call

On Saturday, Liberty opened its doors once again to the best of British design. A fantastic turnout ensured our buyers were kept busy, viewing everything from cushions to fashion to Liberty print dog accessories.

We chatted to a handful of the talented people who came along.


knot and grain

Grain & Knot

A simple concept with a delightful story: spoon-carver Sophie makes beautiful utensils out of foraged or discarded wood, turning a waste product into inspired kitchenware.

‘I did a spoon carving course and loved it, so went out the next day and bought an axe!’


baker and bray

Baker & Bray

This London-based design duo hand make bandanas, collars and leads for stylish canines. Baker & Bray brought two collections along, one of which featured Liberty print (modelled by Milo).

Proud to champion British design, the brand uses UK fabrics as much as possible, creating practical yet covetable accessories that are insulated to keep your pup warm.


scott taylor designs

Scott Taylor Designs

When she’s not working in our Beauty hall, designer Olivia re-designs chairs with her Buckinghamshire-based family.

‘It’s our take on the classic British school chair which was in use from the 1930s through to the late 1960s.’

Hand-finished and re-designed with an artistic twist, Olivia’s chairs certainly came in handy during the long wait in the Best of British queue.


true rocks jewellery

True rocks

Run by the brains behind established brands ‘Constant and True’ and ‘Ibiza Rocks’, True Rocks looks set to be a winner in the Liberty jewellery hall. Featuring delicate pieces packed with personality, each piece has a story. Think a Rich Tea biscuit necklace designed in collaboration with artist Gavin Turk, alongside rock ‘n’ roll inspired pill pendants.

Designers Emily and Dawn call it: ‘Jewellery with attitude, wear it with confidence’.


Did you come along to the Liberty Open Call last week? What did you bring and what did you see that you loved? Let us know on Twitter, @LibertyLondon #BestOfBritish


Behind the Brand: Venessa Arizaga

Wednesday 3rd September 2014, 9.47



Puerto Rican-rooted New Yorker Venessa Arizaga talks us through her life as a creative and what inspires her designer jewellery collections.

Venessa Arizaga designer

Venessa Arizaga burst onto the jewellery scene in 2010 with a collection of playful, fashion-conscious pieces that played on her Puerto Rican roots as much as her home town of New York. A favourite in the Liberty jewellery hall, Venessa Arizaga bracelets and necklaces are the perfect contemporary twists for your jewellery stack. As her autumn/ winter 2014 collection hits, we caught up with the designer to get a sneaky peek behind the scenes of this irrepressible label.

What part of New York influences your designs? How is this contrasted with Puerto Rican culture?
What hugely influences my designs are the cool girls I see in the city. I’ve always been inspired by people who just go out there and have fun with fashion. It inspires me to make pieces that they would want to wear. That eccentricity, combined with the laid-back ‘island girl’ lifestyle influenced by my Puerto-Rican roots is one of the main essences of the pieces I design.

Other than these two places, where do you find inspiration for new designs and witty motifs?
I find inspiration in everything – from fabrics, to music, and tons of research. I love going to libraries and spending days on end pulling books and being inspired by what I find.

venessa arizaga design studio
How does your workspace and studio reflect the personality of your jewellery?
Our studio is very laid-back and has a lot of things that remind me of the beach. We have surfboards, maps and globes, flamingos, and a rooftop with an amazing view of the Manhattan skyline. It’s reflected in my jewellery in the way that it’s easygoing, and but fun and daring at the same time. I think it’s the way accessories should be.

Do you have any good luck charms or keepsakes in the office?
We have a studio cat named Betty and she is a sweet little cat. I play with her every day! She mostly lies down and wants to be brushed. For the time we’ve had her, she’s made the studio a happier place.

What does a typical day at work look like for you?
Each day is different, depending on the season. I have days where I work on developing a new collection, and days where I prepare for production. I’m a Jack-of-all-trades – I love that there’s no typical routine because it keeps things interesting.

jewellery design studio

Which part of the design process do you love the most?
My favourite part is free-styling when I make a piece. I like combining my favourite charms, thread colours and new sewing techniques. Sometimes it never comes out the way you expect it, but with mistakes and lots of experimentation, you always get something innovative.

Do you have a particular favourite piece of jewellery you wear every day?
Right now, I love wearing the friendship cuffs from our AW14 collection. On one side it looks like just a simple cuff but when you look at the other side, you see that it’s a fun little bracelet with a happy charm. I’m obsessed with the special knotting technique we developed for this piece.

What should we be thinking about when buying our next jewellery piece?
Follow your gut. If you see a piece that speaks to you, try it on, and if it’s a fit you know it’s meant to be yours. Jewellery is really special and very personal.

Have you visited our Regent Street store? If so, which is your favourite department and why?
Yes, I have! It’s very beautiful. My favourite department is the fabric department. I am in love with the historical Liberty prints! I found myself in trouble buying meters and meters of gorgeous cottons that I brought back and decorated my house with.


The our full range of Venessa Arizaga jewellery is available to shop in-store, with selected styles available online.