Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Not your Grandmother's Liberty

The ghost of Arthur Liberty sat in his office in Great Marlborough Street, happily perusing the day's figures and takings when a soft knock came at the door. "Come in!" barked Arthur, wondering who could want his attention at this time of night.

A soft cotton fabric crept into the room. "Excuse me, Mr Arthur, sir, I was wondering if I might have a word?"

"But of course, Miss... Miss... it's Sandra, isn't it?" replied Arthur, peering through his spectacles at the floral gorgeousness that stood before him.

"That's right, sir, it's Miss La Sandra A, sir, part of the Tana Lawn line" squeaked the fabric, thrilled that somebody as impressive as Mr. Liberty himself would know her name. Summoning up all her courage she said "I was wondering if you would let me be made up into a dress, sir?"

Arthur gave her a good hard look before answering "I presume you have a buyer?"

"Oh yes, sir, of course sir!" said Sandra.

"Then I can't see what the problem could be. Off you go, and close the door behind. I can't, you see, being a ghost, and I do hate a draft."

"Thank you sir, so much!" said Sandra, happily preparing to head out the door when Arthur suddenly said "I take it she is making you up as a traditional style of dress? The Art Nouveau style, perhaps, that we were once so proudly associated with?"

"Oh!", said Sandra, caught somewhat unawares. "Actually, sir, I believe she's going for something a bit more modern. She doesn't want an old-fashioned grandmotherly look, you see."

"Grandmotherly!" yelped Arthur with outrage. "My dear, let me assure you that there is nothing of the grandmother about any of our ranges. We have always been at the cutting edge of design. In fact, in our long and proud history we engaged the designers who moulded the very essence of the Art Nouveau movement. Look at the fabric that surrounds us - if you can find anything that reeks of the grandmother in these bright, bold geometric designs then I'll eat my moustache!"

"Yes sir!" said Sandra, blushing from head to foot. Fixing once last glare at her Arthur said "Tell your lady dressmaker that I am very much looking forward to seeing what "modern" design she will come up with for you. It had better be a good one!", and with that he rose from his chair and shooed Sandra out the door, regretting this action somewhat later as he spent the rest of the night enduring the most horrid draft.

Several weeks later, just as Arthur was reminiscing one evening of his days as a shopkeeper in Regent Street, the door was slightly pushed open and a dress came in. Made up in La Sandra A, she stood before Arthur as if awaiting a verdict. Arthur stroked his beard, looked her up and down thoroughly and declared with a twinkle in his eye "Well, well, Sandra. Sassy, cute and completely wearable. Exactly what a Liberty dress should be!"

Sandra gave a deep bow, then headed out to her maker. They spent many long and happy years together, and each time Jorth put her dress on she cherished being able to wear something with such a distinguished history.

Project Details

Fabric: 1.2m of Liberty Tana Lawn in La Sandra A, from Tessuti Fabrics, plus 1.2m of silk/cotton lining

Pattern: Vogue 8387, size 8 (this pattern is now unfortunately out of print, which is a real shame as it's a fantastic pattern)

Notions: 40cm (16") zipper

Such an incredibly wearable dress. It's so comfortable, but at the same time manages looks pretty swish - what more could you ask for? I lined the dress with a silk/cotton lining, which gave the Liberty cotton a little more body. As for fit, I brought the side seams in by 1.5cm either side. That was the only adjustment I needed to make. Seriously, I could have an entire wardrobe of these!

And don't you just love my modelling companion? That Grumbles is such a ham!


  1. Sexy!
    Love grumbles' poses ;)

  2. Great story - great dress!

  3. one hot mumma!!!!!!!!!!!! you both look gorgeous!!!!!!!!


  4. That is one cool dress. I love it!

  5. The photos are just lovely :-)

  6. Wow! I love your dress! It's so beautiful! And of course the fabric too.

  7. Those pics are gorgeous!


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