Laura has made this gorgeous Floral Eve
Liberty Dress. The floor is open Laura to rave about Floral Eve as much as you like!
“Over 2 years ago now, whilst working in Alice Caroline’s colourful studio I spotted we were running very low on the one and only Floral Eve D
. What if we couldn’t get any more?! What if I never saw its perfectly illustrated flowers again?! So, I did what any normal sewer would have done. I gasped in a panic, flailed my hands in a panic and quick as a flash bought the remaining 3m off of the roll (in a panic). I had no idea what I was going to make but it just had
to be mine. I’m sure we are all familiar with this intense, slightly crazy, pained-heart state brought on by the thought of missing out on amazing fabric. If you are reading this then I know that you know, for we are the same type of person. Rejoice for you are seen, validated and accepted wholeheartedly at Alice Caroline. So, there I was gratefully clutching the last bits of Floral Eve D, aka: Liberty Fabrics’ most wonderful and amazing print (in my humble opinion). It was mine. Panic over. Phew! (Turns out though, I needn’t have panicked at all as it was re-stockable but I wasn’t to know that at the time so you must forgive my ignorance)”
“Floral Eve is a re-coloured and re-scaled selection of elements from Rachel Pedder-Smith’s amazing watercolour work, ‘Herbarium Specimen Painting’. As part of her doctoral project at the Royal Collage of Art in London, Pedder-Smith spent an average 7 hours a day for 766 days painting 703 specimens from Kew Garden’s herbarium. The original illustration was on display in a gallery at Kew Gardens about 5 years ago and while I don’t know if it is still on display, I highly recommend seeing it if you ever have the chance – the details in the painting are breathtaking. All her days painting and studying certainly paid off! The specimens are to scale, arranged in evolutionary order, and the painting itself measures an impressive 5.48m (18 feet for imperial readers) long! Floral Eve had long been my favourite Liberty Fabric even before seeing the original painting but wow, I loved it even more once I had! Some years after painting it and having made a name for herself as a skilled illustrator, Liberty approached Pedder-Smith to design a print for them but unfortunately she was unavailable to do so at that time. Instead, she offered them paintings from her back catalogue and voila – the perfect, can-do-no-wrong child Floral Eve was born. It debuted as part of Liberty Fabrics’ Spring Summer 2013 ‘Flower Show’ collection in four colour ways: A – which was cream and blue, B – which was very peachy-pink, C – which was turquoise and sepia, and of course, the multi-coloured D. For the D colour way, the specimens were brightened and made more colourful than in the original illustration (simply as the dried, pressed botanical specimens Pedder-Smith was working with had inevitably lost some of their colour over the years). You can also see Pedder-Smith’s illustrations in Liberty prints Hannah’s Poppy from the same collection and Truly Scrumptious from Autumn/Winter 2013.
So, in summary: Floral Eve is the absolute best. AND we can confirm that Pedder-Smith is a truly lovely person, so there really isn’t anything to dislike! I hope you all love Floral Eve as much as I do now, thank you for coming to my TED talk.”
“Anyway, back to the make. I hoarded those precious 3m for more than 2 long years, constantly hoping to find the perfect project, one that would be worthy of mighty Floral Eve D but alas, nothing was ever good enough. Until! Lovely Louise from the production room passed out invitations to her late August wedding and I suddenly had inspiration – hurrah! The pattern is a modified Sew Over It Betty dress bodice with gathers instead of darts and raised up to be a higher waist in prep for stuffing my face silly at the wedding with amazing food. The skirt is a full circle skirt from the same Betty dress, this time with an extra section of gathers falling from about knee to hem. I have always liked when gathers have that extra frilly bit sticking out at their tops, but had never attempted it myself. To make it, I ‘hemmed’ one side of the super long tube piece I intended to gather and then sewed the line of long gathering stitches on the base of the ‘hem’. I pulled the stitches to gather the fabric to the size of the full circle skirts hem and sewed them together, right side to wrong side, stitching directly over the gathering stitches. I’m sure I didn’t construct it in the usual, potentially easier way (probably should have just Googled how to do it, oops) but it worked anyway so no matter! The sleeves were the only thing I struggled with, I had all parts of the dress made for about a week before deciding on the sleeve design, drawing inspiration from a 70s peasant dress spotted on Instagram. The sleeve has a short length of elastic sewn in to make the gathers on the sides. Initially I used gathering stitches, however these quickly snapped whilst I was test running the dresses dance durability in the living room to 90s house music, so for practicality and the sake of dance, this was changed. It also has a pocket!”
“This was my first attempt at inserting the invisible zip on the side seam and I’m pleased to report it was super simple – I don’t know why I’ve not tried it before. I just had to allow a bit more room at the top for the sleeve to fit in. Similarly, this was the first time I’ve used an invisible zip foot and it has definitely changed my life. Why haven’t I bought one before?! It is madness! If you have not already, do yourself a favour and buy one, your sewing zip-inserting happiness may depend on it!”
“It was so much fun twirling on the dance floor at Louise’s wedding wearing wonderful Floral Eve. A few of us had Liberty dresses so it was easy to spot how we knew the bride! I’ll need another occasion to wear it asap though as there aren’t many chances to go full-on full circle skirt in daily life. I may resort to hanging it outside the wardrobe and caressing it daily to get by. Anyone else up for afternoon tea at a fancy hotel?”