Monday, 27 August 2012

Jolly Dolly needle cases

Three weeks ago I showed you pieces of my Liberty Tana Lawn and said I hoped to put some of it to good use. After an enforced break due to the cold that laid me low for a while, I can at last show you what I've been making.

With so many pretty florals it was difficult to make definite choices but eventually I decided to do some little patchwork needle cases. I needed some smiling dollies to give me inspiration so started by creating three tiny 'jolly dollies' using machine embroidery. Of course each one wears her own Liberty Lawn dress.

As always, mixing and matching pretty fabrics is great fun but can be time consuming. Each little needle case required eighteen 5cm (2ins) patches so the selection and cutting process took quite a while as I wanted to use as many different patterns as possible. Finally I stitched the squares together making sure each 'jolly dolly' sat centre stage. 
I cut a larger piece of Liberty Lawn for the inside and stitched it to the patchwork cover (not forgetting to include some interfacing for added bulk, softness and stability). Finally I added four leaves of cotton flannelette to hold the needles and trimmed each needle case with a tiny bow. 

The famous Liberty shop opened in London in 1875. A large Mock Tudor extension was added in the 1920s and at the same time Liberty Tana Lawn was introduced. The tiny floral prints became an instant success and several of the original designs are still in production today.

I discovered that the word 'Tana' in the name owes it's origin to the soft raw cotton that was found growing beside Lake Tana in Ethiopia, Africa. . . . . I love those sorts of facts don't you!