Liberty woes

I’m currently working on McCall’s 6750.

I’m making the sleeveless version, omitting the armhole facings.  I’m using Liberty Tana Lawn for the first time, as I got a single yard as a gift.

This colorway is Pepper E.

Anyway, I’m really starting to wonder if I’ve been misled, as this fabric is kind of terrible to work with.  Even using a walking foot, the layers shift and my stitches are uneven.  I tried rethreading the machine, cleaning out the machine, a new, smaller needle, different thread, changing the tension – the works, basically!  I really think it’s just that the fabric is so lightweight that it’s hard to control.  Is this just me?  Does my machine need to be punished with a visit to the shop?  I don’t have this issue with any other fabric, so my assumption is that I’m missing some vital bit of Liberty sewing info.  If I am, let me know, if not… well, I suppose I will continue, since I already sewed all 9 darts, and it won’t take long to finish.   I’m not looking forward to buttonholes!

19 thoughts on “Liberty woes

  1. Oh, I’m so sorry to hear of your woes. I recently made two dresses from Liberty fabric and I didn’t have any issue with them. The only thing I can think to suggest is to use a finer thread and reduce your stitch size. Pretty sure my stitch length was under 2. Maybe you can adjust the pressure on your foot? Maybe they lots of pins too. Hope this helps!

    1. Laura – thank you! i don’t know why I didn’t think of stitch length. It’s much better at 2 instead of 2.4. Unfortunately, I think I will have to hand baste, but that’s ok!

      On Tue, Jun 3, 2014 at 5:55 PM, Green apples wrote:


  2. Too bad that such a lovely fabric is so hard to work. I only had that kind of trouble with some very lightweight knit. The solution was to use a special paper (don’t know the actual name) between the fabric and the machine. I sew with the paper, then take the paper away (pretty easy with straight stitch, but very boring with some kind of serger stitch). And now, no more problem with lightweight fabrics !

  3. Use the tear away stabiliser for the buttonholes, especially (do a sample first!). It’s called Stitch and Tear. Wonderful stuff.

  4. You could try a wash-away stabilizer for the buttonholes – that way there is no chance that you will see any left-over stabilizer when its finished.

  5. Such a shame you are having trouble sewing with Liberty. I use it a lot and adore working with it and wearing it. My only guess is that your tension could be messing with the feed or perhaps your machine needs a service. I’ve never found Liberty to be too shifty under foot. Good luck.

    1. thanks – your blog was one of the reasons I wanted to try Liberty! I think my issue was the stitch length. Thanks for your help!

      On Wed, Jun 4, 2014 at 3:36 AM, Green apples wrote:


  6. I’ve used Liberty lawn in the past with no issues. Such a shame yours is proving a struggle as it washes and wears really well. As you’ve already cleaned and re-threaded, I’d suggest looking at your presser foot, the tension, also the needle size you’ve got in there. Sometimes my machine acts funny, and all it needs is a good refresh with a new needle, rethread, clean etc. If you’ve got any scraps leftover or any similar weight fabric, test a few things out.

  7. My advice would also be to use (strips of) soluble stabilizer under, works great for seams as well. If it still slides, you can use it on the top of the project as well as underneath. Since the fabric seems to be pretty fragile, I think I’d prefer it over the the tear away stuff (which also works great by the way, I always use it under appliques).
    I hope the garment will turn out fine, then the struggle might have been worth it and the woes will be forgotten 😉

  8. Liberty has some sort of a “finish” on it when it’s sold. It makes it quite slippery. Wash it first, iron it, and then it’s an absolute dream to sew! I love sewing with it. A fine machine needle and thin thread work well, and I agree with the advice to use a stabilizer of some sort when you make the buttonholes, even tissue paper between the liberty and the machine helps. Good luck! Jeannie in Seattle

  9. i’ve never used liberty but my machine advises lowering the foot pressure by about half (from 7 to 4 on my machine) when working with voile or lawn. perhaps that would help?

  10. If you are still having some trouble, you might try some spray starch or spray sizing. It *really* helps with lightweight and/or slippery fabrics!

  11. love the fabric [& the pattern].. (I once made a dress for my sister’s wedding, out of a Liberty print, of grey and pink tones. Yours reminds mr of it.) I was thinking of paper, too. I see you’ve gathered lots of comments. Good luck. I’m sure it will be very cute when completed.

  12. You could try using spray on stabliser on the whole piece of fabric you are using once you have washed it. This works well for all very light weight fabrics but I would recommend spraying on s scrap of material first just to be safe. FYI there are also homemade recipe for stabliser on the net and I beleive that Collette provdied a link to a recipe last year.

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