Liberty of London… and a Quilt!

IMG_7250

,

Hello Friends!

Today I’m going to talk about something that I really don’t know that much about!  Well… that’s with all things I guess.  But this one I REALLY don’t know much.  But I’ve been asking questions and reading history and here it is.

How many of you know about the Liberty of London Fabrics?  They are the most gorgeous fabrics and the minute you see them – without ever looking at the price – you know it is quality and expensive.

.

liberty-fabrics-design-studio-plan-view

.

What I do know, and have learned more of, is that a man by the name of Arthur Liberty printed the very first Liberty fabric in 1875 in London.  By 1890 the Liberty fabrics were considered the very best for avant-garde textile design.  Today, every single Liberty fabric is a product of bespoke production, hand drawn by an in house design team and printed in Italy.

.

IMG_7276 3

.

Liberty is a Tana Lawn cotton.  It’s a very lightweight fabric that slides through your fingers like silk.  It is a very luxurious feel that is surprisingly very durable as well.  The Liberty website says that it is “made from specially selected ultra-fine long staple cotton, its bespoke process has been fine-tuned by Liberty Fabric experts over the last 100 years, advancing the product in pinpoint detail“.

For many years, and clear up to today, clothing and accessories made from Liberty fabric are worn by British Royalty as well as celebrities everywhere.  Once you “know” Liberty fabric, you can spot it immediately!

.

queen-elizabeth-with-her-daughters-princess-elizabeth-and-news-photo-1590005367

.

In my searching I came across a picture of the Queen Mother wearing a Liberty print dress in 1941! Such a fun picture and really shows the beauty of the fabric.

.

Liberty Fabric

.

There are many pictures of Princess Diana, The Duchess of Cambridge, and little Princess Charlotte wearing Liberty.  One of the most recent (and affordable to all of us) was a Liberty face mask that the Duchess wore consistently for the last two years.  I myself ordered Liberty fabric and made many face masks for myself and my daughter and grand-girls.  The luscious fabric was so comfortable on your face.

.

IMG_7251 2.

Teensy little Liberty scraps… pure gold!

So now… finally.  Here’s what I’ve got going on with my Liberty!  (It took me long enough to get here right?)

I follow a lot of sewists and quilters on Instagram that sew with Liberty, one of them is hosting a year long “sew along” for a Liberty nine patch quilt.   I saw it, and wanted so badly to participate.  Because WHO doesn’t want a luxurious quilt made from Liberty fabric?  But it’s expensive fabric, friends… like $40 a yard expensive.

But then, I realized that tiny little 2.5 inch squares of fabric scraps sewn together to form a nine-patch block is really something I could swing!  And little by little I could add to the collection.

.

IMG_7257

“Betsy” Liberty photo @duckadilly

Oh wait… there is one more thing I didn’t tell you about Liberty of London.  They have their “famous” prints that they have named such fun and unique names.  Through the years they add to that collection of prints by changing the colors, the hues, and even the design size.  This quilt is a “Betsy” quilt… made with as many Betsy Liberty prints as you can pull together.  It is probably my favorite print of all the Liberty.  Very sweet flowers and so many gorgeous color ways.  The photo above is just some of the them!  Betsy was first designed and printed in 1933.  It is still in print today and is one of Liberty of London’s classic collections.

.
IMG_7260

.

So… back to the quilt.  Since I have loved the Betsy print I actually had quite a few good size scraps (pictured above) and began doing some calculating and figuring on how much more I would need to buy.

.

IMG_7259

A beautiful bundle of Betsy Neon Liberty sent to me by my friend Faith.  

I have some amazing “quilty” friends on Instagram and we have a private chat board where we talk about all things fabric and sewing but always the Liberty discussion is going on.  I mentioned that I was going to see what I could pull together in Betsy to make the nine-patch.  AND… if you are part of any kind of a sewing or quilting group of friends you already know what happened next right?  I began getting little bits of Betsy in the mail sent to me by precious friends from their scraps and stash. Quilting friends are the most generous friends.  I value these friends so much…. and now their kindness and generosity will be in my quilt!

 

IMG_7271.

.

I splurged and ordered a few Betsy prints (above) to add to what I had.  The good thing is that most online stores that sell Liberty will sell it in very small size cuts so it doesn’t feel as expensive!  With what I purchased and what friends sent to me I ended up with about 60 different color ways and oh my word they are all so gorgeous!

.

IMG_7252 2

.

The counter point fabric to use as a contrast for the nine patch Betsy blocks created quite the debate for some of us.  Do we go with a brighter color or a low volume?  Do we look for a fabric that is lightweight to feel good next to the Liberty?  Do we want fabric that is a dot, a stripe, a print?  I had in my mind that I wanted to use a low volume Art Gallery fabric.  Art Gallery fabric is very lightweight cotton that is similar in weight to the Liberty and the print I loved was a low volume with very subtle text on it… which just happened to be poetry by Emily Dickinson.  That seemed fitting too!  I am going for a bit of an old fashioned look to my quilt and this fabric fit the bill.

.

IMG_7238 2

.

Cutting all the Liberty and the low volume fabrics into 2.5 inch squares has just been so much fun.  Honestly, there is no way to choose my favorite Betsy.  As soon as I think I’ve decided “this is my favorite” then I start on another one that is also my favorite!

 

IMG_7237 2

.

Nine-patch blocks are so quick and easy to make.  I have been working with six blocks at a time and chain piecing them.

..

IMG_7254

.

It seems like sewing in this way is so much faster than sewing one full block at a time.

.

IMG_7255 2

.

I set up a little ironing station next to my sewing machine and even do the ironing in sections!

.

IMG_7256

.

This sew-along was set up to sew four blocks a week, lasting an entire year.  I’ve never been good at things like that.  I’m always an over-achiever.  Ugh.  So I’ve been working on this a little at a time for less than two weeks and have 100 blocks made!!   I don’t think the teacher would be very happy with me! Ha Ha!

.

IMG_7234

.

However, I do plan for this to be a slow process to the final finish because I’m going to hand quilt it.  Which most of you that follow me here and on IG know that hand quilting is my favorite thing in the world.  I intend to quilt this in the old fashioned teeny tiny stitches that my mother taught me when I was a little girl (versus the big stitch quilting that I love because it goes so fast).  So that will take me many months of slow quilting to finish it!  (Don’t you love how beautiful the low volume text print is with the Betsy?)

..

IMG_7273

.

I laid out a few of my blocks and I think it will be a beautiful quilt with an old fashioned feeling once it is complete.  I rarely do something like this just for ME and I’m so excited about this long, slow project!

.

So here’s my question:  how many of you know about Liberty of London fabric?  Have you sewn with it?  Have you made a garment or a quilt?  Or just tiny little projects that can be made with scraps?  I’d love to hear your Liberty story!

.

Also… if you’re interested in the Liberty Betsy sew-along, you can view the details by clicking HERE.

.

Until our gravel roads cross again… so long.

Dori

 

Leave a comment 8 Comments

  1. Pamela says:

    I love these fabrics as well! Just FYI, you wrote the fabric is called Tana lawn. I believe the fabric is lawn and Tana is the name of a print pattern,0 just like your Betsy.

  2. Edee Zwiefelhofer says:

    I love liberty fabrics!!!!! I first saw it in London years ago. J Crew makes dresses out of it and I drool over them

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Hi Edee! Oh my word, I would LOVE to visit the Liberty store in London. And yes, I’ve seen some Liberty dresses in J Crew as well. You know what I think? That they would be timeless and last forever. So we need to buy one right? :-)

  3. Debbie Grable says:

    What a lovely project! The Liberty prints are scrumptious and your companion fabric perfect. I will love seeing your finished quilt.

  4. Donna Presley says:

    What beautiful fabrics! I’ve just started a Block of the Month with QuiltFolk magazine. One of the presenters, Jenni Smith, lives in northern England and was talking about Liberty Fabrics. I’ve made many quilts, but never used Liberty – it’s now on my quilting bucket list. Your nine patch is going to be a family heirloom!

  5. This is going to be so beautiful! Love the print you put with it, how perfect! I have been aware of LOL fabric, but honestly didn’t know the history behind I!

  6. Can’t begin to tell you how much I love Liberty, but you are right, it is very expensive. I make pillowcases from a yard and a quarter. Love sleeping on that silky fabric. And it is strong and, of course, washes beautifully. Your Betsy Quilt is adorable. I may try a similar one this summer when I am back in Minnesota. Because I make pillowcases for myself, my sister, and my granddaughters, I rarely have small pieces or scraps, but will see what I can do. Thanks for sharing such a fun project.

  7. Jan Wells says:

    My favorite store in the entire world is the Liberty of London store in London, England. Portions of a ship used to bring the cotton back to England was dismantled and form the inside of the store. I could have spent the entire day in the store, looking at the gorgeous inventory!

Comments are closed.