Monday, August 20, 2012

Liberty or Death

Don't get those petticoats in a twist, I'm not making a political statement - just a declaration of fabric adoration.


The liberty I'm talking about here is the gorgeous fabric of Liberty of London. If you've spent any time looking around the craft blogosphere, you'll know that some ladies would indeed die (and maybe kill?) for it.

The Organic Stitch Co. is holding a Liberty Scrap Challenge - I received some Liberty charm squares and was challenged to come up with a project tutorial.

You can find the master list of all the tutorials over at Nova's A Cuppa and a Catchup, and the flickr group for the Challenge is here. There are some truly gorgeous creations on both sites.

If you'd like to let the world know how much you love your Liberty, read on to find out how to make this project yourself.

I started with:
  • a Liberty charm square sized scrap (with a small scale pattern)
  • coordinating embroidery thread (perle cotton)
  • linen
  • double sided adhesive sheet (bondaweb, etc)
  • 7 inch diameter hoop
First of all I traced the hoop onto some plain paper which I then cut out and folded into quarters. The folds help immensely in centring your design (especially if you have a lined cutting/craft board).


For my lettering I tossed up using various pretty scripts but in the end I went for the font used on the Liberty logo. (You watch me get a cease and desist letter over this.)


I used my fold lines to help centre the two sections of the phrase:


Obviously the word 'Liberty' doesn't contain all the letters we need - I just ad-libbed and used the B to craft the D, the E to make an O, the R to make the A and pulled an H out of my proverbial.

Once I was happy with the placement I went over my pencil with Sharpie and then taped it up on a window.

Even window dust deserves liberty

Using the window as a kind of lightbox, I could trace the design onto my linen with a water soluble pen.


Then I googled 'George Washington silhouette', 'Thomas Jefferson silhouette' and browsed until I found one I liked. I printed it out, tested it for size, adjusted the percentage and then printed again.



I put my double sided adhesive sheet on top of the silhouette and traced it on the paper backing. Note: if you don't care which way your George faces, just trace away. But if you want him to face the same way as your picture, you will need to reverse your picture first.


My silhouette was fairly detailed - I smoothed over it a bit to make it easier to cut out and embroider. You can thank me later for the chin lift, G Dub.

Put the non-papered side of your adhesive sheet against the back of your Liberty charm and iron it on, according to your product's instructions.


Let it cool completely, then cut it out along your tracing marks.

At this stage I embroidered my lettering before ironing the silhouette down as I didn't want the handling of the work to stress my George. I used stem stitch for my letters - see a great video tutorial on that here.

Once the lettering is complete, wash away your water soluble pen and then re-iron your linen (face down, on top of a towel so you don't flatten all your lovely stitches).


Right: lettering complete. Now remove the paper backing from your silhouette, centred it and iron in place.


I used a very small blanket stitch to detail my edges - the short stitches let you get around those curves. You could also use floss if you find perle cotton too thick.


Once you've finished your silhouette, give it a quick iron and you can pop it in your frame straightaway, no problems. If you would like to add a small finishing touch, you can wrap your frame with some Liberty too. I found a tutorial for this here at little lovelies, via sewingseed.

I cut some fabric into half inch strips and fired up the 'ole glue gun. Starting at one end of the outer hoop I glued the fabric on the inside of the hoop and wrapped it around and around covering the wood.


If your fabric strip runs out, glue it down on the inside of the hoop (cut off any excess) and then start a fresh strip. Continue until the end.


There are many ways to finish off the back of your work, I like to finish mine off like this.


I use double sided tape to stick the edges of the linen down.


Then I create a padded, fabric covered back board from cardboard:


It usually stays in place on it's own (it's kind of spring loaded in there), but today I undercut my cardboard. A few strategic dabs of hot glue helped (not too much and only on your doubled over fabric so it doesn't soak through to the front of your work.) Voilà:


And there you have it, a subversive message within a subversive message. Just the way I like it.


For bags of lovely Liberty scraps, don't forget to check out Jo's shop at the Organic Stitch Co!


  1. Le homme pony-tail....C'est magnifique!

  2. Kirsty, your directions are detailed and full of humor, perhaps some satirical commentary to boot! You are talented and creative and I marvel at your ability to take photos while your hands are busy. You only have two, right?

    Love this post.


  3. He kind of reminds me of Mel in "Braveheart"...they may take our lives, but they will never take our FREEDOM (Liberty!) Great idea beautifully 'executed'!!!!

  4. I loved this, thanks for the great tutorial :)

  5. So creative and cute. Next up: Cake or Death

    1. YES, Ali! I might have to steal that idea...

  6. Hee hee, love it! Especially those grey flowers...

  7. Oh my gosh, so hilarious! You're incredibly clever and I love your sense of humour Kirsty. Thanks for the fantastic tutorial. I think I need to make one of these hoops!!! And I'm with Ali, Cake or Death for sure, along with accompanying "do you know who I am?" or "this tray's wet". Our fav Eddie Izzard lines.

    1. Those are our favs as well, Krista! Every time we get into the cafeteria lineup on the ferries we quote Eddie.

  8. Ha! This is so you and I love how it turned out. I especially love the fabric covered hoop. Next time you make a fabric circle check out this AMH tutorial. It will change your life ;)

  9. This is so cute and such a great idea for the challenge

  10. A lovely outcome! This kind of project leaves me daunted, my skills do not lie in needlework, so I'm doubly impressed!

  11. you know I love it! thanks so much for playing along with the challenge! xxx

  12. What a clever and funny project! And it looks great to boot!

  13. I'm very impressed...I like the quotation (but think "Cake or Death" with a beautiful cupcake picture would be fun.) Your running commentary is also great.

    I really enjoy reading your blog. I hope you will pop over to see me at Fat Dormouse getting Thinner ( and join in my Giveaway.


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