We caught up with Alice Caroline, the talented author of exciting new sewing book, Little Lady Liberty (the US edition is called Sew Pretty for Little Girls). We talk fabric, sewing and what makes Liberty fabrics so special…
SSC: What sparked your interest in fabric and sewing?
AC: I did a bit of sewing as a child, making sleeping bags for teddies and that kind of thing, but really started when I wanted dresses that were beyond my budget as a student, so I began making them. I have always loved quilts but hadn’t made any until my sister-in-law’s wedding, and now I make them for friends who have had kids, so I guess I like sewing for a ‘reason’.
AC: My mum. I think I started with tapestry and simple cross stich, then she taught me patchwork projects. I think I remember a bunny appliqué cushion that I was particularly pleased with!
SCC: What designers/makers inspire you in your work?
AC: Petit Pan Paris, I love the riot of colour in their Chinese inspired prints.
Nathalie Lété: I admire her bold use of colour.
Japanese Zakka designs, Japanese sewing magazines like Cotton Time and quite a few other Japanese sewing books but I don’t know what they are called as I don’t read Japanese! Vintage American quilt books.
SCC: When did your love of Liberty fabrics begin?
AC: When I was a child we used to visit my Grandmother who had a stash of fabrics she kept for quilts and we would always be excited if we found even a snippet of Liberty fabric, it was highly treasured! My love grew when I first visited the iconic London store as a teenager………
SCC: Why are they so special?
AC: They are such high quality, fine prints on a fine fabric, the designs are unlike anything else and yet classic and enduring.It’s amazing how the designs for the seasonal collections can be so varied, and yet instantly recognisable as Liberty (but perhaps I’m a bit of Liberty geek?!)
SCC: What do you think makes Little Lady Liberty so special?
AC: Each project is named after girls I know, my daughter’s friends and cousins and I chose projects I thought they would each most like. For example Lilly loves ponies, so I named the duvet set after her. I drew all of the illustrations by hand, before adding the Liberty prints and tried to include enough diagrams to make the process really clear, so that you hardly need the words! Before I was asked to write the book, I had been searching for a book which brought together lots of Liberty fabrics. So the book is brimming with examples of Liberty prints – down the edges of each page. I really wanted to showcase how Liberty fabrics look when combined in different ways and how they come to life when made up into garments and accessories. Liberty fabrics really are so versatile!
SCC: What kind of person is the book for?
AC: Anyone who is looking for colour inspiration and is interested in mixing prints and patterns. It’s for anyone who has a little girl in their life that they’d like to make things for, although many of the items are for grown-ups too! It’s for beginners but there are also some more challenging projects for more experienced sewers.