Simplicity 4945 in Liberty Tana Lawn

I’ve been doing quite a bit of sewing lately, and have a new project to show off.   Back in the early spring when Waechter’s Fine Fabrics announced they were closing, I scurried over to take advantage of their sale and to stock up on some fine fabrics.  Among my purchases was this Tana lawn novelty print of London and the surrounding countryside.  I’d been looking at it lovingly ever since it arrived at the shop, and I knew this was my chance to buy it, and at 25% off.

My plan was to make a skirt, and I already had the pattern pieces out when it occurred to me that what I really needed was a light, cool, cotton blouse.  I went through my collection of patterns and came up with Simplicity 4954 which is from the early 1960s.  I’d made the top before out of seersucker, and it is a favorite – easy to wear, cool and comfortable.

The colors are much truer in this photo, as the top one was taken in low light with my cell phone camera.  The colors are nice and clear, with shades of blue on a white background.

Although the pattern calls for a button at the neckline, I haven’t used one.  It just seems less fussy without it.

I really love designs where the sleeve is cut with the bodice or, as in this case, with the yoke.  It’s a design element seen often in the early to mid 1960s.

From the time I decided to make this top to the minute I finished the hem was about three hours.  That is a very fast project for me, especially since I used French seams (and faux French seams) throughout.  I did save a lot of time by doing all the finishing on the machine.  And because I’d made the pattern before I did not need to do a muslin trial.

And here is the finished project, in a too dark photo.

This is my third garment that I’ve made using Liberty’s Tana lawn, and it is simply a dream to sew.  It’s tightly woven so even though I used French seams, this fabric also does well when simply finishing using pinking shears.

I’ve been trying to add a few prints into my wardrobe of solid blue, black, white and red.  My idea of a print is a nice mariner’s stripe, or for winter, a wool plaid.  Even though I love vintage novelty prints and actually collect them, I only have one example in my own closet.   Maybe it’s time to change that.

I wore it for the first time this weekend, and it performed beautifully.  It stayed crisp and cool and was perfect for a hot summer day.  My silly self-portrait makes me look as if I have a halo, but my friends and family can assure you that is a bit misleading!

Edited to show a better photo of me and the blouse.


Filed under Novelty Prints, Sewing

32 responses to “Simplicity 4945 in Liberty Tana Lawn

  1. What a lovely make, Lizzie. With one of my favourite recent Liberty fabrics, what’s more (it has blimps in the sky!!!). I have it in 3 colourways but this one is perhaps my favourite, reminding me of Van Gogh (who lived in South London for a while, not far from where this scene is set, so maybe it is intentional).


  2. I love the print, it looks great on you! The blue and gray are nice and subtle, so it will match a lot of things. More prints for your wardrobe ;).


    • Considering that all my skirts, pants and shorts are either blue, white or black, it should pretty much pair up nicely with any of them! I’m working on the prints. I actually bought a print top a few months ago, something I’d not done in years.


  3. Looks great, and I love that vintage-style fabric.


  4. Three hours start to finish? And it looks wonderful, too! What a fun print and perfect in that vintage style. Halo or not, you deserve kudos!


  5. Lizzie…the pattern is great and turned out wonderful….You wear the HALO well, also. Cute picture.


  6. I like that shirt pattern. It looks comfortable. And I love that print. Nice! I like your halo too! 🙂


  7. It’s gorgeous and I so admire that you make your own clothing!


  8. Love it! You picked such a pretty novelty print for a nice comfortable shirt! I totally agree that you should add some more prints to your everyday wardrobe because you have such a good eye for them. Beautiful job!


  9. So lovely! Tana Lawn is just the last word in luxury. Your blouse is a wonderful combination of fabric, print and pattern.


  10. Great project with amazing fabric! If I won the lottery (which I don’t play), I would get enough Liberty fabric to sew an entire wardrobe.


  11. Such an attractive blouse! And I’m sure the Halo is well deserved. We sure appreciate all you do for us with your research and sharing!


  12. Only 3 hours with that perfect pattern matching! You did such a great job that I had to look hard to find the yoke! And I love the phone booth conveniently placed right next to the garden allotment. The gardener seems to be wearing trousers, too.


    • I got lucky with the pattern matching. Early on in the process I realized that I could not match the pattern perfectly across the front, so I just decided to just line up the ground and the sky parts. It worked!



    I really like it as a blouse. The perfect print! Not an easy task I imagine because of the pattern !


  14. Richard Reynolds

    Lovely to discover this. What a beautiful blouse you’ve made. The fabric is a special one to me and my wife Lyla as it is actually about us, it’s a portrayal of guerrilla gardening in London with us both in it from Liberty’s spring summer 2013 collection. Liberty even called the fabric Richard and Lyla and We’ve made a few things from it, but Lyla struggles to get the tension right with French seams when using tana lawn fabric as it is so fine, do you have any tips for achieving great results with a machine?


    • Richard, it was delightful hearing from you and learning the story behind this fabric. I’m afraid I’m not much of a sewing expert, so can’t help with the sewing problem, except to say that I’ve not encountered it. Thanks so much for posting!


  15. Pingback: Updates – The Rest of the Story | The Vintage Traveler

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