So about this time last year I realised I was buying fabric far too fast for our tiny flat and far faster than I could make it into anything useful. I followed all the fabric stores on email and Instagram and I was a regular visitor to the fabric stall on Lewisham market. Things came to a head when Fabric Godmother posted a beautiful digital printed coating on her mailing list with limited quantities (there is more in stock this year) and within an hour I had dropped nearly £100 on 5m of the stuff. I had the vague intention of making a goth/fairy princess cloak with it. But really I was being a complete muppet as I in no way at that point had the skills to sew a coat, it’s something I am hoping to get into next year.
It is very very beautiful and I love to sit and stroke it, but should I have bought it – probably not. But buying it made it clear to me I had a bit of a problem so I needed to do something about it.
So I culled all the fabric stores from my email mailing lists and removed all the ones I was following on Instagram and Facebook. This did actually massively help and for the first part of the year my impulse buying fabric was a minimum.
As the year has progressed my fabric buying crept up again. Partly because I’ve got a bit of a problem – in my defence I have chronic fatigue, I spend large periods of time unable to get on with anything except lying in bed semiconsciously flicking around on my iPhone, if I’m dreaming of sewing but unable to do anything about it it’s the easiest thing in the world to buy things for projects I plan to make when I’m better.
Partly because this year we were supposed to be moving house (fingers crossed and all the prayers it will actually happen in January) and instead of trying new patterns and improving my skills but using £2/£3 market fabrics from my stash to make the first couple of versions, in order not to have projects midway through when we actually come to move I’ve been sticking to repeating the same couple of really simple patterns over and over again, which has meant I’ve had a major tendency to buy more expensive fabrics and fabrics I’m totally in love with to make it a bit more interesting.
& partly because three of my favourite things in the world ever, celestial prints, leopard print and liberty/William Morris fabrics have been completely in fashion this year so there’s been lots and lots of Laura friendly fabrics available whereas in previous years there hasn’t been so much.
Which leads me nicely to Liberty print/William Morris…. so I’ve been completely addicted to stalking The Vampires Wife on social media and totally fell in love with the Liberty print maxi and midi dresses she makes. I also bought as much of the H&M William Morris collection as I could get my hands on, & have bought several lengths of tana lawn in prints I’m particularly attached to to make my own maxi and midi dresses once I’m able to sew complicated stuff again.
The holy grail for me has always been Liberty jersey. I love Tana Lawn and sewing pretty sun dresses, but jersey is my thing and I was super sad a couple of years ago when Liberty discontinued their jersey. However when I complained I was assured they were relaunching it in August, so I waited and went into the store the first week it was back to check the selection out as they usually have more/different stuff available in store than online.
& it was dire 😢 I wasn’t particularly keen on the print collection this year anyway but there were no classic prints available at all it was all the stuff that was seasonal this year, so I didn’t buy any and went away and sobbed and decided my dream of beautiful handmade Liberty jersey dresses was still completely out of reach.
However unbeknownst to me, as I’d stopped following all the fabric stores, although the Liberty print jersey Liberty themselves were selling was a bit of a shit selection, on other websites some absolute classic prints were getting an airing.
& then one day a couple of months ago I was reading Lauren Guthrie’s blog and idly flicked onto her fabric shop (Guthrie & Ghani ) website in order to have a closer look at the materials she was using to make a coat -as I’m intending to try it myself when we move. & there was my holy grail of fabric. Liberty Strawberry Thief print jersey. My favourite print of all the Liberty and the William Morris ones, in my favourite fabric. & there was only 2.5m left!
So I had it. At £24 a meter it was out of what I would normally consider my pricerange but within 10 minutes I’d dropped 65 quid including shipping on it.
(In my justification- not that I really have one, I’d just picked up two Seasalt jersey dresses for £10 each in a charity shop that turned out to have cost £65 each new – so the way I’m looking at it is it’s only the same cost as buying one new Seasalt dress – that’s what Im telling myself anyway. 😂🤦🏼♀️)
So I made it up into a dress pretty much immediately.
It’s another basic Kitschy-coo patterns lady skater dress, of which I’ve made many before, but with a longer skirt than I’ve made previously and added bell sleeves. I thought that made it a bit more up to date and stuff like Vampires Wife inspired than if I’d left it plain, & as it was such expensive fabric I wanted the dress to look as expensive as possible.
To aid in which I trimmed the sleeves, the neck and the hem with a navy blue cotton crochet lace I found from a French store on Etsy.
And I think it looks amazing on….
& by sheer good fortune it looks amazing with my rainbow knitted shrug I made way back 4 years ago and was the first thing I knit.
I totally love this dress. I love it now it’s new and shiny and looks fashionable, but I think it’s one of those pieces that is really going to work well in 5 years time when it’s completely got that old favourite lived in feeling. & it’s such lovely quality fabric and hopefully well sewn enough that it will last that long.
So anyway on discovering that Lauren posted the fabric on the Guthrie and Ghani Instagram several weeks before I found it, I have reinstated my subscriptions to all the fabric shop news feeds. So I’m going to have to find another way of restraining my buying habits.
I’ve also discovered that there are several sites selling Liberty jersey, and a couple a lot cheaper than Guthrie and Ghani – though I haven’t seen Strawberry Thief anywhere else. So there’s going to be a lot more Liberty jersey coming up in my collection in the future.
But if you could have asked me when I first started sewing what my dream makes would be, a Strawberry Thief jersey dress would have been right up there. & being able to do things like this is why I’m so glad sewing is a skill I’ve persevered with!