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Sunday, April 24, 2016

Tips for Working With Liberty Lawn

Ahhh..., this is my favorite time of year for quilt photos.   Everything is starting to become green again, and my roses are in full bloom.  I enjoy the occasional breeze that gives a little bit of movement to my photos, though that was not happening today.  I finished up my Liberty quilt last week, and as much as I love this quilt, I definitely have some thoughts on working with it.

   

Let me just say that this, without a doubt, is the softest cotton I have ever felt.  It is woven with very fine threads, and feels very sheer and delicate.  The drape is just lovely.  This was my first experience with Liberty lawn fabric, and though I was definitely more careful with cutting to be sure that none was wasted, I didn't really do anything else differently than usual.  This fabric is pricey though, and there are some things I learned along the way about working with this kind of cotton.  I decided to compile a list of tips, in case you're thinking of buying some for yourself (and you totally should!).

1.  Press with a dry iron.  I usually press everything with starch, because I like my fabric nice and crisp, but I found that the Liberty was more easily distorted out of shape than regular quilting cotton with the added moisture.  Once I switched to dry ironing, that was minimized.

2.  Choose your other fabrics carefully.  The Kaufman Interweave in my quilt is a really awesome fabric, but it is quite a bit thicker than the Liberty.  It took a little extra care to keep my pieces properly aligned when I was piecing the blocks together.  The Liberty is a little slippery, and wanted to "walk" while I sewed (I don't use pins).

3.  Avoid pins...or at least avoid thick pins.  As I mentioned, I never pin while piecing, but I always baste using large, quilting safety pins.  I did baste this one with safety pins, but I only pinned on the chambray.  The Liberty lawn is so fine, I think thicker pins would leave holes that were noticeable.  I'm sure they would probably wash out just fine, but I would avoid it just to be sure.

4.  Spray AND pin baste.  Basting is the devil, and I think spray basting is the WORST.  I know that some disagree with me, but for me spray basting is messy, and my machine doesn't like it.  The few times I have spray basted, I ended up with terrible puckers on the back of my quilt because the fabric shifted, so I am not a fan.  I just stick with my good ole safety pins.  That being said, ordinarily, when you baste your quilt, the top sticks to the batting, and you can smooth it all out.  Not so much with Liberty.   Since the Liberty fabric is more slippery than regular quilting cotton, it doesn't stick as well to the batting, which can result in the top looking puffy in spots because of shifting during quilting, instead of nice and tight.  Next time, I will suck it up and spray baste first to stick that Liberty to the batting, then secure with safety pins to keep the back from puckering. 

5.  Wear grippy quilting gloves!  I always wear grippy gloves (like Machingers) when I do free-motion quilting, but if they aren't your usual thing, they are absolutely essential when quilting Liberty cotton.  Liberty lawn is so slick, I think they would even be helpful if you're doing straight line quilting.  They aren't expensive, and one pair lasts a long time.  Trust me on this.

Even though Liberty lawn is delicate, and takes a little extra care, it really is worth it.  I love the way my Liberty quilt turned out!  I decided to really show off these pretty prints with my Chapel Glass quilt pattern, and I used Kaufman Interweave Chambray in Black for the background.  I wanted to create the look of light coming through stained glass.  The chambray fabric is a black and white shot cotton, and although it is hard to capture in a photograph, it gives such great dimension to the quilt. 


Because I didn't want to take away from the stained glass effect, I chose to bind the quilt in the chambray as well.  I didn't want to frame the quilt at all, and instead, wanted to draw the eye straight to the Liberty.


Liberty fabrics are just so pricey, so on the back, I used a print from Kaufman's London Calling collection, paired with Kona Ice Frappe.  The colors of this print blend really well with the Liberty bundle, and although it isn't quite as soft and delicate as Liberty, it really is a gorgeous fabric in its own right.  It feels very similar to an Art Gallery fabric to me.


This quilt measures 57" square, and I'm calling it English Manor.  By the way, if you happen to have any additional tips for quilting with Liberty lawn cotton, feel free to leave them in the comments!






16 comments:

  1. It's so pretty Kelly! Thanks for the tips. Funny how we are all so different. I love spray basting only. It's what works best for me lol.

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  2. Such a pretty quilt, and great pictures. You're lucky, here the winter has returned.

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  3. I've been hearing about Liberty fabrics. I don't know if any of the local stores carry them. Your quilt is beautiful! But the roses are WOW! I'm thrilled to just have green grass. Have a great day. Blessings, gretchen

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  4. Thank you for this well-written and informative post! I'm a "steamer" when it comes to pressing so that's especially helpful!

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  5. Beautiful fabric and a great quilt to showcase them.

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  6. So helpful, as I have been tempted by those Liberty prints many times. The quilt turned out great, too.

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  7. Kelly, you amaze me. I don't know how you make so many gorgeous quilts and I haven't seen a single one I don't like!

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  8. Beautiful quilt! Thanks for the sewing tips.

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  9. What a beautiful quilt. You are an excellent quilter :)

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  10. Your quilt is wonderful! I can't think of anything you have made that I didn't like. I have been wondering about the basting question! Very curious as to what the percentage of pinners versus sprayers is. Kelly, I haven't properly introduced myself but you are one of the reasons I got back into quilting and actually started a blog of my own. Your work is amazing and inspiring. Thank you!

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  11. OH....my...goodness. I must say that I am not typically a fan of tiny florals, reminds me of grandmother's sheets or something, but this....this is astounding!

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  12. Beautifully done! Those fabrics are gorgeous! Congrats on a lovely finish.

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  13. So pretty as usual! I'm going to have to try that pattern out.

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  14. It's so beautiful! Thanks for sharing the tips, that's very good to know.

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  15. Quicker quilting projects like this one can be really satisfying, especially when they highlight beautiful fabrics like the ones you choose. Very pretty.

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