Most of cotton fabrics from Liberty of London are made with plain weave (batist, basket, …), indeed the most basic one (criss-cross pattern).
The difference with something more common is the level of fineness reached by the weave. Because all in all, what enables Liberty fabrics to have this silky texture is: ultra fine yarn + ultra tight weave.
When today, most of cotton fabrics are made of short and thick staples, those from Liberty of London have thin and long staples. Meaning, concretely, that it is a bit closer to silk, which is much thiner and longer (indeed, silk is a filament).
What does mean long? The staples of an average cotton are cc. 2.5 cm / 1″ long, even less. For the extra-long, it can be 3.5 cm / 1.5″ or more.
The long staples enable to make thiner and more solid yarns. And since the threads are thiner, the fabric is softer, and more tight, though thin. Tight here means weaved with a higher thread count (number of thread per square cm or inch). Basically, it’s the same when comparing 2 sweaters made of coarse sheep wool vs Cashmere goat down.
The other great advantage of tight weave is that the yarns are no tied altogether that the fabric becomes less easy to crease or wrinkle. While remaining soft (since thin and in cotton).
You will also often read “Tana Lawn” ; this refers to Lake Tana (Ethiopia), where a buyer from Liberty discovered those high quality cottons. Now, they are coming from Egypt.
The Liberty cotton is also mercerized. This is about applying an alcaline treatment (soda, ammonia, …) on the cotton, what will increase its solidity, its luster and its dye uptake. And then, to get an even more silky fabric, with more vivid and homogeneous colors.
And the prints? Like in Hermès, they are made by genuine artists. Certain are dating from the 17th century. They say to have cc 40,000.
This explains why the cotton fabrics from Liberty of London are thin, silky, solid, robust, durable, and even wrinkle / crease less.
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