Minerva Make: Liberty of London
This was my first time using Liberty fabric. Can you believe it took me so long? If you haven’t used liberty fabrics before, trust me...there’s no going back. Especially the tana lawn. When I received this fabric I just kept touching it and staring at it with my mouth wide open. It’s that incredible. A fun-fact about tana lawn is that it does not need to be prewashed. That in itself is a huge selling point if you’re anything like me and dislike prewashing fabric. I’m also a little naughty and I don’t iron my fabrics once washed. Please don’t cancel me. I have the tiniest ironing board so ironing long lengths of fabric just won’t work.
Ok, these are my confessions (Usher), but let’s get to the juicy details. When I received this luscious fabric I knew I wanted to make something that looked like I walked into a Liberty store and bought it. Funny how I make my own clothes, which is no small feat, but the standard is making it look like it’s not handmade. After scouring all of pinterest and instagram I decided on the new pattern from Pattern Fantastique: The Vali Dress. This pattern company is new to me, but I had seen some great makers make this dress so that was enough for me to give it a go.
While I sent my pattern off to be printed I read the reviews I could find so I had more of an idea of what to expect. The instructions were decent but many relied on the diagrams. That works great for me as I’m a visual learner, but I know that doesn’t suit everyone. They also mentioned the pocket construction seemed a little lazy compared to the rest of the instruction. So needless to say I was a little worried going into this with the best fabric I had probably ever received.
Well I was definitely right to worry. I don’t know if I put too much pressure on myself, but my goodness I made mistake after mistake; something that I thought was behind me in dress making. Firstly I totally missed one piece to cut. Next I totally spaced and put the second tie on the back bodice piece. Yes, I really did and that’s why there’s a gorgeous tie design detail at the back. Then, I confused myself with the facings because I didn’t want the opening at the front after the second tie but wanted to keep the second tie look. I eventually re-focused and followed the instructions as though it was fully open but cut the facing smaller to not have it open all the way.
Despite all those dramas, I made it past that and continued to assemble the rest of the dress. You see, all the hard work is right at the beginning when you’re preparing your pieces. Once you pass that section it’s just about constructing the dress. So you do all your gathers and prepare your bodice pieces at the beginning, then you put it all together.
Aside from the fun mistakes I made, I only have two aspects of this pattern I didn’t enjoy. The hemming and the pockets. The pockets are part of the skirt pattern pieces so that’s nice but what I didn’t love was topstitching it to the front skirt once you follow the instructions to create the pocket. I had to stop and start here a lot to get it to the standard I wanted. So be mindful of that if you try this pattern. If you don’t want the headache, I recommend cutting the pockets yourself and omitting it from the skirt pieces. That way you’re creating pockets the way most patterns call for. Then with the hem, I just didn’t love how finicky the hem was to sew down at the side seams. I feel like that wasn’t as neat as I would have loved, but luckily this fabric’s pattern made that pretty invisible.
Despite going into this pattern knowing it has its quirks, I seemed to have found my own quirks and added a few obstacles along the way. Sometimes we just have those types of sews. Even though that’s what happened I cannot describe how happy I am with this dress. It really does look like I went out and bought it and I credit that to the pattern and fabric combination. Let this be a lesson to all that Liberty fabric is pure magic!
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