We will be selling these beautiful Liberty fabrics at Dickensian night in Lostwithiel this Thursday 8th December. We have fat quarters available at £4.50 each, and some 1.5m pieces too – a real bargain when you read more about this wonderful product. It will also be our inaugural pop-up for our new venture Homefront on the Road. Please do come and see us at the Vintage Fair in the Church Rooms 5-9pm. If you can’t make Thursday, check out our shop to buy online. We think this is a perfect stocking filler for you, or the crafter or quilter in your family.
So what exactly is Liberty Tana Lawn fabric? Throughout the twentieth century, this popular fabric was a mainstay of Liberty’s textile business. It is still their best selling range with 120 new designs being released every year and over 43,000 prints in existence – what a choice!
The name Tana refers to Lake Tana in Ethiopia. It is the country’s largest lake and source of the Blue Nile. The fine cotton yarn used to produce the fabric originally came from this area. Liberty’s Tana Lawn was first introduced nearly a century ago in the 1930’s when the Liberty buyer of the time, William Haynes Dorell, decided to sell a lightweight but high quality cotton fabric made with Egyptian cotton. The cotton has very long staples (fibres) and so is often the cotton of choice for all luxury goods.
Tana Lawn cotton is unique as it is made from this specially selected ultra-fine long staple cotton and finished without the use of chemicals. The resulting fabric is fine, cool, comfortable and durable, with brilliant reproduction of colours and prints and a fantastic silky, smooth feel.
The term Lawn is used to refer to a plain weave textile, originally of linen but now chiefly cotton. The term is actually derived from Laon, a city in France which produced large quantities of linen lawn. The fine, high count yarns used to make lawn contribute to its smooth, silky feel. Due to this, the term is also sometimes used in the textile industry to refer to a type of crisp starched finish given to a cloth product.
Tana Lawn has a wonderful pedigree with the original Liberty shop on Regents Street opening in 1875 and importing fabrics from Japan, China and India. A dyer and printer in Staffordshire was employed to choose colour ranges and celebrated designers such as William Morris, were commissioned to design prints. Lancashire mills were used in the production of the fabrics with the cotton coming from East Africa.
As for working with the fabric, it is a dream. Tana Lawn is extremely durable and handles beautifully. Don’t expect it to drape though, it holds its shape well, is crisp and yet hardly creases when made into a garment. A perfect fabric to make a cool summer dress that can be rolled up in your suitcase and will still look, and feel, amazing when dining out on holiday. Yes, I know we’re talking about summer and it’s not yet Christmas, but then us makers like to plan ahead sometimes!
A Liberty print fabric with colours to ‘dye’ for and those wonderful designs will ensure you’re not just wearing a dress, but a piece of art. How many vintage Liberty fabrics or makes have you spied?