Book Review and Excerpt: The Liberty Book of Home Sewing

Workshop Yarncraft
Book Review and Excerpt: The Liberty Book of Home Sewing

The Liberty Book of Home Sewing
By Liberty; Lucinda Ganderton
Chronicle Books

When the Liberty of London collection debuted at Target two years ago, I was one of the many Liberty fans running from store to store picking up whatever I could. The bright colors, bold designs, and love of floral looks are all right up my alley. So when The Liberty Book of Home Sewing hit shelves at the end of last year, I couldn’t wait to see what kind of projects there were for me to fall in love with. Just take a look at their approach to pillows.

Pillows don’t have to be complicated. Traditional covers made from furnishing fabrics are trimmed with piping, braid, or fringes and fastened with concealed zippers. None of these is really essential, particularly when you are using fine cotton like these Liberty Tana Lawns. This assorted batch acts as a great showcase for a mixture of plains and prints, and shows just how well a selection of prints that spans three centuries can work together, from William Morris’s “Lodden,” designed in 1884, through “Lord Paisley” from the 1950s, to “Vonetta” launched in 2011.

There are 25 projects in the book ranging from simple pillow covers to more complex home upholstery. Quick projects, such as a fabric rose corsage, are sprinkled across the pages to offer something for every level of sewer.
The instructions are paired with illustrations for some of the steps, which for me as a visual learner is always appreciated. Each project has a “Taking it Further” sidebar which offers a suggestion for enhancing the original instruction.
The projects in the book are, of course, made with Liberty Art Fabrics. These beautiful fabrics are pricey – here in Michigan, Haberman Fabrics has a nice offering of Liberty Art Fabrics. But at $45 per yard, making some of the bigger projects entirely out of Liberty offerings can get VERY expensive VERY quickly. Something to keep in mind when thinking about fabric choices for your project.
I bought a half yard to experiment with for the slip-on pillow cover. The cover came together very quickly and made me think of different ways to approach this simple sewing project. I changed mine a bit by playing around with the solid color border and the amount of closures originally suggested by adding three ribbon closures. You can try making it yourself thanks to this excerpt from the book offering up all three pillow projects.
If you’re a Liberty fan, this book is a must. If you admire Liberty, this book is a fun read. If you’re looking for some new sewing projects to update your home’s look, The Liberty of London Book of Home Sewing will definitely give you some food for thought.

Slip-on Pillow Cover

By Lucinda Ganderton
This open-ended cover goes over a plain basic pillow: mix contrasting plains and florals or darks and lights.


Liberty Tana Lawn in a print (or prints), a lightweight cotton fabric, in required amount
Solid colored lightweight cotton fabrics, in required amount
Matching sewing thread
Square pillow form of preferred size


Step 1: Cut out fabric
From print (pictured is Tana Lawn in “Lodden”): Cut 1 main cover piece twice the depth of pillow form and five-sixths of the width.
From solid color: Cut 1 border strip twice the depth of pillow form and one-third of the width, plus 3/4″/2 cm for the wraparound cushion cover.
Step 2: Add the border
Press the border strip in half lengthwise and then press under a 3/ 8″/1 cm turning along one long edge. With right sides together and raw edges aligned, pin the edge of the border without the turned-under seam allowance to the main cover piece. Machine stitch with a 3/ 8-in/1-cm seam, and press the seam allowance toward the border.
Step 3: Stitch the front and back together
Unfold the creases and fold the cover in half widthwise with right sides together. Matching the crease and seam lines, pin the side and bottom edges together. Machine stitch 5/ 8″/1.5 cm from the edge. Trim the corners and turn right-side out. Ease out the corners and press lightly.
Step 4: Finishing the pillow
Refold the border onto the wrong side of the cover so it conceals the seam allowance. Pin the folded edge to the pillow and slipstitch to the cover. Insert the plain basic pillow. You can leave the opening as it is, or join the two edges with ties or a button.

Taking it farther

If you want to be able to remove your pillow form from a basic pillow without having to unstitch a seam — but don’t want to have to insert a zipper — make an envelope back with two overlapping panels. First decide on the width of the overlap — about one third of the width of the pillow is usually about right. Then cut two panel pieces for the back, each half the width of the front cover piece, plus one half the width of the overlap, plus 3/4″/2 cm along the long center edge for a hem. Machine stitch a 3/ 8″/1 cm double hem along one long edge of each back panel. Place the completed front panel face upward and place one back panel along each side edge, with the right sides together and the raw edges aligned. Pin together and machine stitch all around the outside, leaving a 3/ 8″/1 cm seam. Clip the corners, turn right side out, and press.
Insert the pillow form through the back opening.

2 thoughts on “Book Review and Excerpt: The Liberty Book of Home Sewing

  1. Abby Glassenberg says:

    It is important to realize before you buy this book that the pattern templates are TINY and you are asked to enlarge them on a grid like a 1970s craft book.

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