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My first Liberty make – The Alice in Wonderland dress

August 2, 2015

I’ve been sewing for just over five years now, and this is the first time I have ever bought Liberty fabric.  I have heard its praises sung time and time again but I’ve never been drawn to it.  There are two reasons I’ve never been interested in Liberty fabric, the primary one being, of course, the price.  This particular fabric from the Liberty website is £22.50 per metre.  I ordered mine from White Tree Fabrics using a discount code they had when the Great British Sewing Bee was on, so I got it a little cheaper.  Plus, to avoid breaking the bank, I only ordered 1.5m, so that I could make a dress for my daughter.  The other reason I’ve never bought Liberty before, though, is that I’ve never really fallen in love with any of their prints.  Sure, I like some of them – but not enough – until I saw this amazing Liberty Art Fabric from the SS15 collection called Gallymoggers Reynard.  The Editor’s notes from the Liberty website describe it as ‘a modern interpretation of the Charles Voysey ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ print and an illustrative representation of the wonderful characters featured in the novels’.  I’ve always loved Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass, and the Disney film was (and still is) a favourite.  The characters are part of my childhood.  So when I saw this fabric, I just had to have it!

Liberty Gallymoggers Reynard B Tana Lawn

Liberty Gallymoggers Reynard B Tana Lawn

When I was researching a bit more into this fabric, I found out that Charles Voysey, an architect and designer, was born in Hessle: a small town in the East Riding of Yorkshire which is surrounded by, but not part of, the city of Kingston upon Hull, where I live.  Voysey (1857-1941) designed some Alice in Wonderland furnishing fabric around 1920, and this ‘Gallymoggers Reynard’ print is inspired by that.  So where does the term ‘Gallymoggers’ come from?  Well, apparently it comes from the Tim Burton film of 2010, and it means ‘crazy’.  Lewis Carroll did have a flair for creating nonsense words, and it seems that Linda Woolverton, the screenplay writer for the film, added several nonsense words of her own for the film!

Alice in Wonderland dress

New Look 6205 Alice in Wonderland dress

Anyway, back to sewing!  You won’t be surprised to hear I used New Look 6205 for this dress.  I’ve made six variations of the dress now, so I know how to construct it exactly how I like.  I fully lined the dress, and, as is customary for me whenever I line pleated skirts, I sewed the pleats of the lining and the main fabric together, but sewed the side seams separately and hemmed each skirt separately.  It’s a bit of a faff doing it that way, but it makes the pleats look great, so I think it’s worth it.

I chose to do a lapped zip this time, and it’s the first one I’ve done in AGES, and I’m really pleased with it.  I might start doing lapped zips more often again now.  I also blind-hemmed the dress by machine – which is my new favourite technique.

Lapped Zip

Lapped Zip

I love the finished dress, and so does my daughter.  She wore it to a wedding: a traditional hand-fasting ceremony in a beautiful garden which was very magical – it was the perfect dress for the surroundings!

At the wedding - worn with cardigan and leggings

At the wedding – worn with cardigan and leggings

I’ve still got a small bit of this fabric leftover… I will definitely be hoarding it until I find the perfect use for it!  But until then I can admire it on my daughter.


And if you’re wondering if I’m now going to join the masses who sing the praises of Liberty fabric…well, no.  Yes, it is nice, and yes, it is good quality, but as usual I am primarily led by prints rather than fabric itself.  I only bought this fabric because of the print.  In fact, the high thread count of the Tana Lawn meant that even with a brand new sewing machine needle, the fabric was so finely woven that at times it was hard to penetrate!  Still, it produced a lovely dress and after I washed it, it didn’t need ironing at all.  Which is good, because I don’t do ironing, even if something is really creased!

  1. August 2, 2015 8:24 am

    Perfect fabric for the occasion, and I can see why you fell for the Liberty on this occasion. You daughter looks super cute in it! I’ve only only regents as bias trim and have one piece I HAD to buy but not sure what I’ll make with it! I bought it 1/2 price direct from Liberty which softened the blow on the purse strings!
    PS thanks for the history part, that was interesting. I’ve played golf Hessle, it’s not too far from me (Nr Leeds). You should come on our next spoolettes meet up!

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      August 3, 2015 7:22 am

      I would love to come, let me know when! 🙂

  2. August 2, 2015 9:47 am

    What a lovely dress and the perfect choice of pattern for your fabric. You’re right, the pleats look great – I’ll have to try that technique some time! And I agree with Thimberlina – the history lesson was very interesting!

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      August 3, 2015 7:23 am

      Thanks Janet. I’m glad you found it interesting!

  3. anne carter permalink
    August 2, 2015 10:31 am

    What a great job! The dress looks fabulous, as does your daughter. Years ago we used Liberty Tana Lawn in quilts (I still have lots of remnants in my stash) and apparently it’s only good for wear for about 25 years!

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      August 3, 2015 7:25 am

      Oh right, I wonder why?! Oh well – this will only last a year at most anyway. But I’ll be sure not to hang on to the remnant too long! 🙂

  4. August 2, 2015 11:40 pm

    This is so beautiful! I’ve made my daughter a dress using NL6205 but my pleats were no way as good as yours!!! I’ll definitely try your tip with sewing the lining. I really love this Alice fabric and agree that your daughter looks so cute! A great dress! Well done!

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      August 3, 2015 7:28 am

      OMG, I just checked out your dress and it’s gorgeous!!!! My daughter would kill for that fabric!!! Perfect.

  5. August 3, 2015 4:31 am

    The dress is lovely, as is the model. 🙂 I kind of want a grown up version for myself–those pleats are so pretty! I’m so glad I’m not the only one who hasn’t loved any of the Liberty prints. So many are too….”old lady” or something for my taste.

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      August 3, 2015 7:32 am

      Yeah. There’s only one Liberty print I really like enough to buy (other than this one) – but there are so many other fabrics I like that I’m not in any hurry to hunt it down!

  6. August 3, 2015 10:12 am

    I can’t get over how gorgeous your daughter looks. What a perfect little dress. I think it’s about time I bought this pattern! I have never bought any Liberty fabric either – for the same reasons as you! I’m pleased that I’m not missing out too much in your opinion! 🙂

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      August 3, 2015 9:16 pm

      Thank you. The pattern is brilliant. I would definitely recommend it. You can have it with cute little short sleeves as well.

  7. August 3, 2015 12:21 pm

    Absolutely stunning dress!! What a great print. Your daughter looks adorable.
    Alice In Wonderland was my favourite movie as a child and teen…my best friend and I used to recite the entire movie from memory.

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      August 3, 2015 9:18 pm

      It is a great print. They do it in a pale blue as well and quite a bright yellow.

  8. August 3, 2015 12:55 pm

    Oh gosh, this is so perfect! I literally love everything about this make – print, dress, modelling and your daughter’s hair included!

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      August 3, 2015 9:24 pm

      Aaaw thanks Louise!! 🙂

  9. Gill Park permalink
    August 15, 2015 10:01 am

    This is gorgeous, I would never pay that for fabric either unless I absolutely fell in love with it. I have a pattern very similar to this with a gathered skirt but now Georgia is 6 think it is looking a bit babyish, now I’ve seen yours I am tempted to try pleats looks a bit more grown up. Did you make the cardigan, I have been looking for a pattern similar to this, I did try to make one up myself using a tutorial but it ended up tiny. I’m not confident enough to make up patterns they never work, prefer bought ones.

    • tabathatweedie permalink*
      August 15, 2015 10:08 am

      Hello! No the cardigan is from Asda! ☺


  1. A perfect little girl’s dress! New Look 6205 – Sew Sarah Smith

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