Yay! Welcome to our very first Maker Monday profile, where we will be showcasing some of our favourite inspiring people who are using Liberty Fabric to make wonderful products, quilts, clothing and so much more! We are so excited to get the ball rolling this week with one of our favourite designers: Amanda Richmond, the visionary creator and owner behind Pollen Clothing! 


 

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Pollen Clothing
Click to Shop: Webstore / Etsy 
Click to Follow: Instagram / Facebook / Pinterest

Hi Amanda! Please describe your Pollen Clothing products for us –
Pollen Clothing specialises in bespoke, handmade girls and boys clothing and accessories as well as women’s garments and homeware. Most of my designs pair Liberty with other natural, high quality fabric!

Why do you use Liberty Tana Lawn?
I LOVE LIBERTY! Liberty Tana Lawn is a dream to create with – nostalgic, whimsical floral designs, rich depth of colour and steeped in history. These elements combined with the fine quality of tana lawn cotton allow for Pollen Clothing garments to be of exceptional quality. Producing garments and accessories is incredibly time consuming – therefore it requires, I believe, only the best haberdashery to be used. 
Pollen.Peterpan
Our pick: This peter-pan collar made using mustard Capel lawn is irristable – can we have one in adult size please?!
 
What makes your product unique?
Quality pieces with beautiful finished – Pollen Clothing garments can be made across any of the available Liberty fabrics in stock and I am always going out of my way to bring to life what my customers love to dress their children or themselves in. As well as my existing range, bespoke one off garments are always welcome! If you have an idea, I am open to hearing it.
 
Which Liberty design is your favourite?
Oh, now this is a hard question! Hands down Emilia’s Flowers and Katie & Millie are always on top of the list. 
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Betsy in ANY colour-way is the perfect fabric for a little girls smock! Different designs available on the Pollen Clothing website.
Pollen.Bonnet
We love the vintage feel that comes from the combination of Amanda’s distinctive sewing patterns and her choice of Classic Liberty designs. This bonnet made with Michelle fabric is a perfect example!
What is the best advice you have received in regards to your business and creating?
Don’t ever stop being uniquely me. 
 
Where do you find your inspiration?
Inspiration comes from flowers, design, art and the creative process. The person who inspires me most is my mother -she is my greatest fan and encourages me to remain honest to my making.
 Pollen.Pillows
As well as clothing, Amanda creates homewares – like these beautiful soft Liberty pillow slips.
 
Are you offering a special discount for The Strawberry Thief blog readers? Yes! Please use the code STRAWBERRYTHIEF20 in the Pollen Clothing online store to receive 20% off your order, offer valid until the end of May!
 

All images copyright Pollen Clothing

EDIT: The Competition is now closed. Thank you to every body who participated! Please feel free to continue to contribute your own tips and tricks to this article 🙂

 

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We are calling it – Liberty Tana Lawn is THE BEST fabric with which to create your beautiful quilts!

Over the years, quilters have turned to Liberty Tana Lawn not only for the diverse range of beautiful classic and seasonal Liberty prints, but also for the delicate softness and beautiful feel that the fabric lends to quilts in particular. It is lightweight and silken to touch – with beautiful hang and drape- and it is obedient, holding it’s shape well.

Liberty may be a little pricier than regular quilting cotton, but it is oh so worth it. Tana Lawn feels SO beautiful and delicate. And the Liberty prints simply shine on the fabric – almost as though the highly saturated colour shimmers on the surface. ANY thing that you create with such beautiful fabric is of course going to be stunning. Liberty is an investment – it’s important that we do our best to treat it with care and respect, to get the most out of our fabric and ensure the longevity of resulting quilt.

Often people ask me how to work with Liberty, or how I care for my Liberty quilts. I decided to put together a one stop post full of tips and tricks to make sure you get the best result possible when using your Liberty Tana Lawn…

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Selecting which fabrics you are going to use is the funnest part, especially when working with Liberty!

Do I need to prewash Tana Lawn?
Nope! Tana lawn is pre-washed, so you do not need to worry about washing it before you work with it. It is also much easier to work with before it is washed again, which is an added bonus. Bearing this in mind, it is always a good idea to wash any linens or other fabrics that you are pairing with it before you start. All you really need to do with Liberty before you get stuck in is give it a good iron to ensure it is flat and wrinkle free!

Cutting
Please do not be afraid to cut in to your Liberty stash! I understand, but if you are feeling a little trepidatious, perhaps choose a quilt design that calls for small amounts of different prints so that you can slowly get in to the process with smaller pieces- this way, in the unlikely event that you mess up, it isn’t so traumatic. But trust me, once you start working with it you will fall even more in LOVE – soon you will be making absolutely everything out of Liberty!!!

I am often taking my fabric straight from the bolt so I will generally tear my fabric to ensure I get a straight line. It then settles and falls in to shape. Otherwise, for smaller pieces, I use a rotary cutter and a large rectangle ruler for absolute perfection. If I need to fold a pattern to cut it, I always check that the fold is following the direction of the pattern.

When I am making a hexi quilt using directional fabrics I try to cut them all on a tilt. Having each fabric on a different angle means that it isn’t noticeable if they aren’t lining up perfectly – it takes a bit of pressure off and also brings a lot of movement to the quilt, which I love.

Don’t forget, if you need to save time or you can’t stand cutting out shapes, like hexagons or charm squares, you can pick up a whole lot of precuts and papers in The Strawberry Thief store.

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Sewing with Tana Lawn
Tana Lawn has a very tight weave with fine threads, so whether you are using a machine or stitching by hand, it is always best to use a small needle so that you don’t damage the threads or leave any holes. When I am sewing on a machine I use a size 70 all purpose needle and for hand stitching I like to use a very small needle, around a size 10.  In order to avoid puckering, you should also make sure you are using a good quality, light weight cotton thread – Aurifil or DMC cotton threads are great.

I do know that some people like to spray Liberty with a starch to make it easier to cut and sew with – personally I don’t, and I have never had a problem using it.


Quilting
I have had great success with machine quilting and also hand quilting my Liberty. Personally I like to use a thick DMC cotton when hand quilting – this is mostly for the aesthetic because I think that it ties everything together nicely. If I send my quilt to be machine quilted on a long arm machine I always ask them to enlarge the pattern so that there is around a 2″ space between each line of quilting – I prefer this to a small and tight pattern of stitching which I find can make quilts quite stiff. The bigger pattern allows the quilt to remain quite soft and floppy which I think enhances the delicate and soft nature of Liberty Tana Lawn.

My favourite batting to use is Quilt Lite Batting. Of course, you need to take in to consideration the climate you live in and your own preference, but even in colder places I think I would still use quilt lite – I would prefer to layer lots of soft floppy quilts than use one thick, heavy one… It might be personal preference, but I love being surrounded by and using my quilts, so I can’t think of anything better than having a few on my bed at once!

Something else to consider when quilting with Liberty is that due to the delicate, almost sheer nature of tana lawn, putting a certain colour of batting behind the fabric can completely change the feel of the quilt. For instance, if you use a cream or a natural batting behind Liberty, like Quilt Lite, it will give it a vintage hue that softens the colours and ties all of the different prints together. On the other hand, if you use a really bright, bleached white batting it really lifts and brightens the colours by shining through the print. Quilt lite doesn’t come in a bright white, so if I am looking for that colour pop that comes from the the whiter batting I just make sure to select another brand that is 100% cotton.

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See the difference between the white batting underneath this quilt on the left hand side, and the cream batting on the right hand side? Normally I prefer the soft, vintage appearance that quilt lite gives to my quilts, particularly my hexi quilts, but in my Love Liberty quilt, picking a bright white batting lifted the colours and strengthened the overall appearance of the quilt. 

Using and Maintaining your Liberty Quilt
I am of the opinion that quilts should be used and enjoyed, not tucked away in a cupboard for years and forgotten about. I have piles of quilts around my home that are easy to access and use at any point by all members of my family and guests. I don’t treat them any differently to my other blankets – they go in the wash with my clothes and come out perfectly clean and ready to go again.

My best advice for ensuring the longevity of a quilt is to make sure that you don’t keep it in direct sunlight – for instance, if it’s on your bed and you get strong morning sun you will probably want to close your curtains in the morning. Prolonged exposure to the sun will definitely bleach it.

Happy Sewing!

The Strawberry Thief Not-so-Tricky Liberty Giveaway

What is your number one Liberty tip or trick? Do you have any advice that you think will come in handy for your fellow stichers? We would love to hear it in the comments below! Our favourite comment will receive a lovely little Liberty Inspiration Bundle – 10 x super sweet Liberty fat 1/16s and 2 x 3m Bias Binding packs – valued at $64.00!

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This Giveaway is open until Monday 20th March 2017… Don’t forget to include your name and current email address with your comment so that we can contact you♥  Good Luck! Invite your friends to participate too – we really want to get a conversation going with all of our fellow Liberty Lovers!

EDIT: The Competition is now closed. Thank you to every body who participated! Please feel free to continue to contribute your own tips and tricks to this article 🙂

Sign up to our Newsletter on our homepage to stay informed about future Giveaways and events! Don’t forget, you can find The Strawberry Thief on Instagram (@the_strawberry_thief) and Facebook as well!

xx
♥  Robyn